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Meet Ana Gutierrez Padilla of Unforgedible Art in Riverside

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ana Gutierrez Padilla.

Ana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Never let your circumstances intimidate your dream! I am where I am today because I decided to follow my heart and passion. Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be an artist. I loved to paint and draw everything I saw. It felt like Christmas every time I got a new set of colored pencils or art pad. Art was something I was passionate about and it was every part of me. But growing up I never thought I could use my “talent” to paint myself a future.

I came to the U.S. when I was five. I was born in Mexico and many of my experiences as an immigrant weren’t easy. I struggled the first year of school. I kicked the school bus. I cried. I wanted to go back home. I didn’t have any friends and I didn’t know the language. I was too shy and it took years until I began to “fit in.”

I turned to art to find my place, my comfort. I took painting classes in middle school and high school multiple times. It wasn’t until I joined the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) Program my junior year that I really started to think about my future. I reached a 4.5 GPA within my first semester. I gained confidence in myself to set and achieve goals. Still my passion for art wasn’t the main focus. The lack of not having an art portfolio (I gifted every piece of art I ever created) stopped me from applying for art schools. The thought of having an interview terrified me. I applied to local universities and got accepted. I earned enough scholarships to cover my entire college tuition and living expenses. I am grateful for the AVID program, the amazing tutors I met, and my AVID teacher. It was their support, commitment, and encouragement from my family that pushed me to discover what I was capable of at the time.

I went on to study at Cal State San Marcos and within four years I graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration, emphasis in High Technology Management and Ethnic Studies minor. I was first in my family to graduate and with high honors.

Fourteen years later, I am happily married with a beautiful daughter. I am the artist and owner of Unforgedible Art, a home-based bakery specializing in artistic custom sweets. Everyday I live my childhood dream to express myself artistically through sugar.

After graduating college I had the opportunity to work for great companies but soon after I felt I needed a greater purpose. My daughter was born and I had the opportunity to stay home. Still I had the urge to create. She inspired me to start baking. I created my first cake to celebrate her half birthday and everything took off from there. She introduced me into a new world of edible art. I met people in the baking community that inspired me to compete in cake shows and push my boundaries. I have placed in every competition I’ve competed in and have taken the Best in Show Award.

Creating my own small business has given me the opportunity to grow as an artist, which is something I always dreamed of. I am thankful that I can invest in my passion with unconditional support from my husband. It took me a while to get where I am, but I feel like I’m finally where I’m meant to be. I’m discovering myself and investing in my passion everyday.

Has it been a smooth road?
Starting your own baking business under California Cottage Food Law sounds easy but there’s so much involved in running your actual business. I think the biggest struggle is discipline. You have to have the discipline to really treat it and act as a business if you want to be successful. Road blocks include pricing (how much is your product really worth and how much are you getting for your time), marketing (understanding your niche or target market), and setting policies and procedures (specific guidelines for you and your customer to follow). At the end of the day it’s not just about creating but making sure that if you are investing in it as a business you are getting a return in your investment as well.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Unforgedible Art is a licensed home-based bakery specializing in custom sweets (cupcakes, decorated sugar cookies, cakes and cake pops). I use my artistic background to create unique pieces of edible art. I’m proud to know that I put my heart and passion into everything I create and I believe it’s something that you can easily see in each one of my pieces.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Absolutely! I think LA is very diverse and rich in culture. Art has so many interpretations and I can see how it would be welcomed and easily adapt to the city. I think the demand for edible art in LA is greater than other areas and more established therefore I would definitely recommend someone to start here.

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