Raveena Oberoi is the owner of Just Cakes, a bespoke custom cake company in Metro Vancouver. She definitely has a sweet tooth along for all things creative and crafty. It’s this love for creativity that got Raveena into baking cakes at the age of sixteen. What started off as a hobby, soon became a full-fledged business over the last seven years. Opening up her own business was both challenging and rewarding but definitely worth the plunge. She juggles being a cake maker and a behaviour interventionist working with children… and yes it can be done.
As a South Asian Woman that has grown up around certain ideals and notions of what exactly a South Asian woman should be, should do, should strive for, venturing out of that bubble to open up my own business wasn’t easy. I was sixteen when I knew I wanted to start making and selling cakes. At first, it was definitely more of a hobby – I still felt that I must adhere to a traditional, linear pattern of life. Go to school, get a degree, get a stable job, get married, have kids, juggle work and being a housewife. That’s what I constantly saw within the community, so I thought that too would become my outcome. My parents, however didn’t emphasize such a lifestyle. Instead, dreams dominate in our household. The constant support from my parents is the number one reason I stuck with my dream.
When I was seventeen, I moved out of my parents’ home to Vancouver to attend school at the University of British Columbia, pursuing a degree in psychology – my other passion. During this time, my business grew slowly as I took on a few orders each week to help pay for school, groceries and everything else in between. My business grew by word-of-mouth, and still, I didn’t see this as becoming my full-time gig.
When I graduated from UBC, my business grew dramatically. I had to decline orders and shifted from doing 12 weddings in one year, to over 100 the next. It was a conversation around being open to opportunity with a Career Counsellor that shifted my mind-set. We don’t know what the future holds, and that uncertainty is frightening sometimes. As long as we are open to that opportunity, I believe we can’t go wrong. This newfound mindset, led me to Paris, France where I completed a 3-month pastry program at the renowned Ecole Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil.
My biggest advice to other South Asian women would be: Be bold, don’t be afraid to go against the status quo, and most importantly, be assertive for your happiness and positivity. Your support system is important, but you have to be able to support yourself, be your own cheerleader when things get a bit rough. Once you start thinking positively, your universe will change. Stop saying you can or you will, and start saying you are.
How important is it to you to make South Asian women feel empowered? What do you to to help South Asian women feel empowered?
It is very important to me to make South Asian women feel empowered. The amount of talent, the amount of depth that I see in the community is outstanding. But our voices are often suppressed by the overlying notion that we are the weaker sex. That we are a minority. That essentially, we are not good enough to rise above. Once you shift your mindset, you shift your universe. At every event that I do, I start off with a speech about the power of positivity, especially about the way we talk about ourselves. I make people compliment themselves on their abilities, on their goals and ambitions, because we don’t hear it enough. Because we should hear it more.
Be positively uncertain, and the universe will reward you.
Helping others, psycho-analyzing, dancing, family, writing, going to Home Sense, pinterest DIYs, anything crafty really.
I do have another job, but it’s kind of my escape; I am a behaviour interventionist working with children with autism. It is my passion away from my passion. Other than that, you can likely find me baking on days off (for personal gluttony, of course), watching Hindi movies, or hanging with my family.
This is something I’m really struggling with right now. It’s difficult to say the least, but I’m managing by setting one day out of the week to do what I want to do. I am also trying to work very early in the morning, and then spend time with my family in the evenings. It’s a struggle, but I think I’m making progress.