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Meet Wahida Liapis of CRAVE ’ems in Temecula

Today we’d like to introduce you to Wahida Liapis.

Wahida, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My name is Wahida Liapis, baker and owner of CRAVE ‘ems. My background is in business, culinary arts, nutrition and restaurant management. As a kid growing up, we had a family-owned business. I learned a lot from these experiences and I’ve loved the idea of starting my own baking company since my youth.

As a young adult, I worked for a major, high-end cookie company in a mall up in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Even though it was a low-paying job, I loved the company and the products we served. Most of all, I enjoyed being around all of the people associated with the business. It felt like a community, like extended family, our “home away from home.” With CRAVE ‘ems, I want people to feel like they’re “coming home” when they walk through our doors.

While CRAVE ‘ems was born in 2012 as a simple hobby in my kitchen, I’ve always known it could grow into a business. I’ve spent several years experimenting, developing my recipes and honing my skills. I started with banana bread because my daughter loved it. I soon started sharing my creations with friends and neighbors and it kept growing from there.

A few years ago, I took my daughter to see the animated movie, Leap!, a wonderful story about a young girl from an orphanage who overcomes obstacles and chases her dreams of becoming a ballerina. My daughter and I were both so inspired by this story that it helped me decide to turn CRAVE ‘ems from a hobby into an official business. My family was so proud of me, and I’m proud of myself, for making that decision. Today, with the encouragement of family, friends and loyal customers, CRAVE ‘ems is now in its 3rd year as a licensed business with several offerings for the public to enjoy.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Growing CRAVE ‘ems and discovering my potential as a businesswoman while raising a family comes with many unique challenges and opportunities. I’m a stay-at-home wife and mother of two, precious cupcakes. With the new reality brought about by COVID-19, I’m now much more involved with my daughter’s daily schoolwork online while also keeping my little guy occupied. Cake orders have been down significantly these last several weeks, so I’m trying to view this pandemic downtime as an opportunity to advance other areas of the business. I just built and launched my own website, Craveems.com, and I’m working hard to increase my knowledge of social media to enhance my virtual presence and gain more exposure.

Getting enough rest has often been a struggle. In balancing my business endeavors with the needs of my family, I can often be found baking and decorating cakes well into the night after everyone else is asleep. Though I started my business a little later in life, I want my family to know that I’m still young at heart and passionate about pursuing my goals with the same energy and enthusiasm. I love a good challenge, so I’m motivated by the challenge of starting a business and seeing it through to becoming successful.

As CRAVE ‘ems is still relatively new in our communities, we are often competing against more well-known, established businesses. Finding our niche and the “sweet spot” in this competitive industry continues to be an interesting journey. I want to offer our amazing products at great prices without compromising quality.

Tell us more about the business.
Cooking has long been one of my passions. I’ve always shown my love and appreciation for people through food. When others enjoy my creations, I get a sense of genuine happiness and fulfillment. I bring that same passion to my baking business and the customers I serve. CRAVE ‘ems is a licensed, home-based business, specializing in celebration cakes, cupcakes, specialty loaves and other baked treats for any occasion. All products are baked fresh-to-order, using only the best ingredients with our well-crafted, home-made recipes, and tailored to our customers’ unique specifications. Our website has details with many of the flavors, fillings and specialty items we offer.

I know my name and good reputation rests on providing great service and quality products, so I take pride in my work and on providing the best customer service – every time. We want to help our customers be successful with their event and we always go the extra mile to bring big smiles to family, friends and loved ones. We never sacrifice quality or flavor. As a home-based business, we can offer more variety with better taste at more affordable prices.

I’m honored to donate my time and various baked goods to charities, nonprofits and public service organizations. I appreciate the dedication and hard work of our community members and public servants. I also believe it sends a positive message to my children. Here are a few of the organizations I support:
– Icing Smiles.
– Pancreatic Cancer – Purple Stride Walk-a-thon
– Girl and Boy Scouts
– Local hospitals, fire departments and schools

I’ve been blessed by the continued support of customers who’ve become part of my extended family. I’m honored to be a part of their celebrations and special occasions. Customers often recommend CRAVE ‘ems and tag us through social media because they believe in our product. They know we always try to be available and will often take last-minute orders to make someone’s celebration extra special. It warms my heart when I hear, “Your cake made it all come together!” Even though it’s just cake, it makes me feel good to bring people joy in this simple way.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
On a personal level, I’m lucky to have had parents who gave me the opportunity in my youth to work in our family business. I learned valuable lessons and gained valuable skills during those years that have played out in both my life and business. I developed a strong work ethic and a belief in myself to achieve success through perseverance and dedication. Even though I may not have always enjoyed it at the time, I look back at those days with appreciation and a deeper sense of gratitude because I learned the value of a dollar and how to treat my customers like family. With a broader perspective, I’m lucky to have the opportunities we have here in Southern California and simply by living in a first world country, where we have access to some of the simplest luxuries like electricity, running water, transportation and the internet. It’s important to be humble and appreciative of these things, CRAVE ’ems would not exist without many of the simplest resources we often take for granted.

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