Jandri van Zyl, owner and founder of The Velvet Cake Co, tells us that she gets a lot of inspiration from her clients, whom she considers her ‘true creative team’
I ensure that The Velvet Cake Co provides smooth and efficient service and meets the expectations and needs of customers. This includes creating, planning and innovating as well as motivating the team.
Please run me through the process of creating one of your masterpiece cakes.
I love to get inspiration from a lot of different sources.
This includes international trends as well as our clients – they are my true creative team.
My creative process starts with an upcoming event, season or celebration. The most important thing for The Velvet Cake Co is the freshness and quality of each cake we make – I actually design around these factors.
The bakery runs around the clock, ensuring pure freshness. We need a minimum of 24 hours’ notice for a cake order.
How did you end up doing the work you do?
I always knew that I wanted to maintain my own creative business, so I first tried photography and then I was interested in fashion. However, it was baking that always came naturally to me.
What is your all-time favourite cake?
The lemon meringue … especially my granny’s recipe. I also love the all-American red velvet cake with traditional cream cheese frosting.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?
You don’t have to do it all – invest your time and energy in an awesome team. Also, I wish I had known that it’s OK to ask for help.
What big work mistake led to an important lesson?
Some of my biggest mistakes involved thinking I had to grab each and every opportunity that came my way, believing it would not come again.
The lesson I have learnt is to stop, pause for a moment and see if the opportunity is a good fit for the brand.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
For some very strange reason, I wanted to be a teacher.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
Having the ability to innovate and create.
I love to create something from nothing and see the look of happiness and excitement on a customer’s face.
What part of your job would you prefer not to do?
I would prefer to not do the admin as I find it way too boring.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Don’t think too much – just do it! An inspirational quote from my mom.
What would people find most surprising about the work you do?
That my favourite place in the whole world is the bakery and head office for The Velvet Cake Co in Stikland, Bellville.