LJ Moreno: Her Lollicake Success
Much has been said about the power of social media not only to connect people but also to spur them into action. This has definitely been a blessing to aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to test their product ideas in the social media marketplace. This is exactly what TV host and actress LJ Moreno-Alapag did for The Lollicake Factory. While planning for her wedding to basketball star Jimmy Alapag, they'd often meet their wedding planner at a cake shop in Long Beach, California. The moment she took a bite of out of the shop's cake pop, LJ was hooked. Not only did she appreciate the cake pop's delicious taste, she also loved its perfect roundness.
She recalls, “After our wedding, we were back in Manila and I was craving for it. I searched pastry shops online locally where I could buy but I couldn't find anyone selling it. I decided to research how to make it. Once I got the recipe down and made adjustments, I gave it away to family and friends. They liked it and asked if they could order.”
The feedback surprised her. Pretty soon, she was thinking of turning it into a business as it would make her the first entrepreneur to offer cake pops in the country.
“That's when I decided to post on Twitter to see if it could be a possible business,” LJ says.
“To my surprise, within an hour, I was able to get several orders. After a couple of months, we joined our first weekend Market Mercato Centrale and the business took off from there.”
LJ started with cake pops, which are rich, moist, bite-sized cakes covered with chocolate served on a stick. Today, The Lollicake Factory makes fondant cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and customized pastries as well.
Here, some of The Lollicake Factory's offerings:
When she was first starting out, LJ did everything, from receiving orders, baking them, and delivering them, too, sometimes. Having no formal background or training in baking, she studied with Pastry Chef Heny Sison. If she wanted the business to work, LJ knew that she had to learn more about it.
Being the pioneer certainly helped her capture the market. When The Lollicake Factory started offering other pastry products, it was warmly received. Customers already knew them for their quality goodies, so it wasn't difficult for them to try their new offerings.
When LJ became a mom – she has two kids, Ian Maximus and Keona Skye – she simply moved back her commissary in the basement of their house. In this way, she could manage her business while taking care of her kids. She adds, “They also come with me when we have expos and my eldest, Ian, loves helping when I bake as well.”
LJ likes being a mompreneur because she's able to spend time with her children while making extra income besides. But there are moments when she feels overwhelmed. She says, “You feel like you aren't able to get everything done on time.”
Which is why it's important for aspiring mompreneurs to give careful thought on the kind of business that they'd eventually put up. She says, “Make sure you choose a business that you love and are passionate about.” Choose a business which brings you joy, she adds.
Cake pops have definitely brought joy to LJ a hundred times over, and she is even more grateful that it has brought joy to thousands of others. She hopes to introduce more joyously delicious baked goodies in the future.
Photographs from The Lollicake Factory Facebook Page