Today we’d like to introduce you to Raquel Ratoviz.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Raquel. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born in Los Angeles, CA. I am going to take you back to 2011 when I just graduated high school. The last thing I wanted to do was go to a four-year university to study anything that had to do with more general education schooling. A few weeks later I saw a Le Cordon Bleu commercial on TV and I was immediately sold. I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu for the baking and patisserie program which was a 9-month program, 5 days a week, and a 3-month internship at a food business of any kind. For my internship experience, I happened to be assigned to a bakery that specialized in cakes. I was honestly looking into any area of baking that would take me so I could pass my class. I ended up getting hired at a bakery in Northridge, CA called “Delicious Bakery”. Jan, the owner, was very tough on me and made me work hard in order to pass my internship. I remember there was a time that I felt that I would never be able to do it! One day she pulled me aside and told me that if my work didn’t improve in the next few weeks, she wouldn’t have a choice but to fail me from the internship. In that moment I felt discouraged, started crying, and felt like giving up completely. I couldn’t even make a buttercream rose if my life depended on it. I practiced and practiced until I slowly started understanding the concept of the technique. I also remember Jan grabbing my hand and doing the motion to help me get it a little bit better. So, to say the least, it was NOT EASY. I stayed at Delicious Bakery for about a year after I happily passed my internship. I was ready for a next venture! I decided to start my own bakery business, ”Rockiie’s Creations”, in 2014. However, that didn’t last too long because I realized I still had so much to learn about cakes and specialty desserts. I went onto searching for bakeries where I could continue to practice and perfect what I already knew, as well as have the opportunity to learn new skills. I found this bakery in Woodland Hills, CA “Bella Donna Special Events and Bakery”. I actually found the listing on craigslist and they told me that they took the listing down a month before I applied so I knew right there it was fate. They ended up giving me an awesome opportunity to continue growing my business out of their bakery on the side while I was a cake decorator for them as well. So, on my off hours I would work on my business and during the day I would work for them. I started working such long hours from around 6am until 11pm at night for 5 days a week. I did this repetitively for about 2 years and at this point my business was getting more consistent orders and I also became head cake decorator at the bakery. I needed to make a change because it was so hard juggling both. I made the difficult decision to start my own business again from my small apartment in North Hollywood, CA. I was terrified because I knew I had put all of my eggs into one basket and that took away the safety net I once had. I was fully committed and legalized my bakery business to run full time from my apartment unit. I didn’t think that I was going to be able to make ends meet because everything seemed so difficult and scary. Soon after that I got a call from a friend that I used to work with years before inquiring about an amazing job opportunity with her current employer- Disney! Disney was inquiring about Marvel cookies for an event they were having. I was ecstatic to have such a wonderful opportunity and immediately took the order! Shortly after, I was receiving inquiries from celebrities and other amazing projects that I never even imagined to be possible. I suddenly outgrow my apartment and had to find a larger space to work out of as soon as possible. Thankfully I found a commercial kitchen space in Westlake Village, CA where I am continuing to grow my business with the space and appliances I need. My plans for the future are to have my own store front where I can display my custom cakes and sell other delicious pastries as well. What I have learned from this experience is that although things might feel difficult at the moment, greater things are always on the way. When things seemed difficult for me, I continued to push my limits, learn new skills and kept believing that I could do absolutely anything that I set my mind to! The most rewarding part of my work is when my clients tell me how excited they are with the desserts they’ve ordered from me. Seeing their face expressions and excitement when they receive their order fills me up to no end! I am beyond grateful for finding my niche and making the world a sweeter place one dessert at a time.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No it has not been a smooth road at all to say the least. I started my business in an upstairs apartment building where I had to carry cakes and heavy bags of ingredients every single day. I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into at the time but all I did know was that it was all worth it. One time my client asked me to put together a HUGE order for his employees at this large corporation and needed 800 cupcakes for the next day. I really wanted the opportunity but I didn’t have the bandwidth so he offered for me to come to his kitchen and use all of his equipment to make it possible. Without any help I went in after they were all finished around 8pm and worked through the night until 8am. Another challenge when I started my business from my current location, I would often get really tired and sleep in my car in the parking lot because I was too tired to drive home. I really had no idea what it would take to own a business but for me what I have learned is that sometimes opportunities happen for you and it depends how bad you want it and what you are willing to sacrifice to create the life of your dreams.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Rockiie’s Cakes – what should we know?
I specialize in custom desserts such as cakes, cookies, cake pops, cupcakes, doughnuts and open to creating different desserts as well. I am mostly known for my custom cakes and specialty cookies. Most of my clients trust me to create some incredible edible display for their friends, families, and businesses. What sets me apart from the others is my unique style of desserts and the heart and soul I put into every single project I work on. I really take such honor in creating for all of my clients mostly because I know that I am creating memories with them to remember for the rest of their lives. I really LOVE being able to see my clients faces when they receive the product from my team and I. I mostly focus in on what they are looking into ordering and making it my own and doing the best that I could to make their idea a reality.
Any shout outs? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
I would love to give credit to Le Cordon Bleu for creating such a program like the one I took to give me the knowledge to know what it is like to be in the industry. It helped guide me into the specific style of baking I do today. Some of my old employers I would love to give credit to would be Jan (the owner) and Brenda (my co-worker/mentor) from Delicious Bakery. Tom and Donna from Bella Donna Special Events. Melvin Berman gave me so many different incredible opportunities to work with his celebrity and personal connections while I was just starting out and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. Erica Casillas works with Disney as a digital marketing specialist, she reached out to me when I just started my business and gave me the chance to work on some treats when a few different Marvel movies came out and allowed my business to be known in the different studios within Los Angeles. Ann Lefler, she is a family friend that helped me start my business out of her home when I was just deciding to start my first side hustle at 18 years old “Rockiie’s Creations”. Melissa and Danny Salazar, they are family friends that have helped me throughout my whole beginning when I was just starting out and helping me find my way because I had absolutely no clue what I was doing! Last but not least my family, they have supported my decisions to become a business owner and helped me day and day out to get to where I am today.
- Address: 31324 Via Colinas STE 115 Westlake Village, CA 91362
- Website: rockiiescakes.com
- Phone: 8185101257
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org