We had the good fortune of connecting with Celinda Damiana Cruz-Arce and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Celinda Damiana, how do you think about risk?
I have to say that life is all about taking risks especially when you start a business. Growing up, I was always a risk taker. Never afraid of peoples opinions or afraid to try new things out of my comfort zone. For some weird reason when I was planning to start my business, I was so afraid and just worried about failing. I was worried that I would regret starting my business because I wouldn’t get any clients. I remember when my university got shut down, I didn’t have a choice but to start my business. The second week I got out of school it was time to execute my business and start taking pre-orders for Valentine’s Day before it was too late. I didn’t have a business page at the time nor did I want to make one because I wasn’t even sure if this is what I really wanted to do. I started taking pre-orders through my personal social media accounts, my moms Facebook and my sisters social media accounts. I wasn’t really keeping track of the amount of orders I was getting because I didn’t think it would be that many until a week before I counted out 150 pre-orders. I was completely shocked and didn’t believe it because I was afraid that nobody would order. This didn’t stop me from making sure I got all the supplies for all the orders and staying in contact with all my clients. I do have to say that running a business is all about taking risks. Taking risks has played a big role in my business because there has been times where I don’t know how to do a certain dessert or arrangement that a client asks me and I teach myself until it’s perfect just to make sure the clients is satisfied with their order. I can either fail until I get it right or lose a client. I remember when I posted my first birthday cake back in 2021 everyone started to message me how much I charge for birthday cakes and the different flavors I offer. I did my first birthday cake for my cousins 7th birthday. Little did I know I would be adding cakes to my menu and now be doing baby shower cakes, wedding cakes and quince cakes. Take those risks or you’ll lose the chance to be great.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What sets me apart from others is that I love to see everybody win and at the top. I love being able to motivate others and help others grow their business. I love experimenting different desserts/foods and adding new things to menu for everybody to try. I started with chocolate dipped strawberries, bouquets and custom candy boxes. My second year I taught myself how to make 2-tier cakes, bread and churro cheesecake. I slowly added custom birthday cakes, weddings cakes and gourmet dessert tables to my menu. I recently taught myself how to make cookies/sugar cookies so, I am currently adding sugar cookies and sugar cookie kits to my menu for the holidays. What I am most proud of and excited about is that my business continues to grow every single day. I just landed my biggest collab with pink and boujee LA. This Latina owned business will start to sell my sugar cookies in her restaurant. Baby me would be so happy. I have waited for this moment my whole life and it Is finally here. I was so afraid to start and look where I am now. I get to work with different chefs/influencers around the world, I get to collab with other businesses but most importantly I am the face behind my business. I love to use my voice to advocate for my community and to help other businesses be successful. 2 months ago I was able to speak on a business panel with U.S Congress and share my business story with them. I was able to share how I use my different social media platforms for my business and how it is important to use your digital tools to help your business grow. Getting to where I’m at today was definitely not easy for me. It has took a lot of sleepless nights, baking classes, anxiety, stress, joy, tears, smiles, chaos in my kitchen and work studio but most importantly it has taken a lot of patience. I have always been a patient person so it comes easy. You need to learn to have patience before anything. When I first started my business I invested a lot of money into my materials and a lot of my time. I was working a full-time job, I was a full-time student at CSUN and I was doing my business part-time on the side. I was not afraid to invest in my business because I knew that it would benefit me later. I started my business from the bottom and look at where we are now. I had no clients, no baking experience, no materials but I knew I couldn’t let myself down. Overcoming these challenges was not easy but I always remember I’m not alone. I have an amazing family, clients and boyfriend who continue to motivate me and support me everyday. What I’ve learned along the way is that the only person who can give themselves everything is yourself and scared money doesn’t make you any money. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself and in your business. Make sure you are happy and love what you do because at the end of the day you are the one putting in the work. If you do not know how to do something, do not have a fixed mindset. Always be a learner and teach yourself the things you do not know. Do not be afraid to ask other business owners questions on how they started their business if you don’t have an idea on what you want to do. Remember there is always room for improvement. What I want the world to know about me is that I started this successful baking business with $20. I’m nowhere near where I want to be. I make mistakes, I’m not perfect but I am a good person with a big heart. I will help out anybody any chance that I get. I love my business and I treat it like my baby. I started this business to not only help my family but to show others that there’s a way out. You can be your own boss one day. Growing up my family experienced a lot of loss and I have to say it really humbled me at a young age. My father moved from Mexico City to the states when he was only 12 years old. He wanted a better life for himself and decided to move here for work. He had to teach himself everything alone until he met my mother at the age of 15. I have to say that my family history and traveling to Mexico at the age of 10 really shaped me as a person growing up. My grandmother, my aunt and cousins have been running their own businesses selling different merchandise. I was 10 years old helping them set up their tables to sell candies, clothes, sandals, backpacks, balloons, food and etc. Being able to experience my cultural background at a young age motivated me to want to start my own business out here in Los Angeles one day. I knew that it would not be easy but it’s possible. My grandmother and aunt just recently came to visit after years of not being here and it was amazing. I was able to show them how I run my business out of my home and got to hire my aunt for some big events. I want everyone to know that Si Se Puede (You Can Do It). If you ever wanted to start a business, start that business. You don’t want 5 years to pass by and you’re still thinking about the name for your business.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The good thing about living and growing up in Los Angeles is that you have everything around you. My idea of the perfect week would be a different date everyday. Be prepared to hear half of the things we will get done. Monday we are going to start with a hike at the Hollywood observatory. Once we are done there we will head over to Ivanhoe and have lunch. They have amazing fish tacos, steak and bottomless mimosas. After that we are going to Huntington Beach to get on a boat which we will be riding for 4 hours. We can bring our own snacks, drinks and it can hold up to 10 people. If we get hungry we will head to las palapas which is in Orange County. They have amazing sushi and micheladas. If you guys love the California sushi roll and shrimp tempura roll you have to check this place out. Tuesday we are going to have breakfast at Lecoco restaurant which is in Downey. They have amazing chilaquiles. After we are done with our brunch we are going to head over to Six Flags and enjoy the rest of the day riding roller coasters. We cannot leave six flags and end the night without having their famous strawberry funnel cake. Wednesday it’s going to be a chill day so, we are going to have brunch at this Mexican place called El Paisa. They have amazing Mexican food and molcajetes. If you have not tried these, you are definitely missing out. Once we are done with our food we will be going to this spa called spa palace. I love to relax and just enjoy the chill vibes. They have a variety of sauna rooms at spa palace. They all have a different vibe so, you can choose what vibe you want to enjoy. For example, they have a mud ball sauna where you can rub your whole body/feet in mud balls. It is super relaxing and soothing. This should take about 4-5 hours with everything that we are going to do there. Once we are done with the spa we will head to La Chancla. This is a night market where there are a bunch of businesses that sell different foods such as Birria tacos, chicken kabob, ice creams, mini pancakes, sushi, donuts, caramel apples and many more things. This place is super fun and you will be supporting other businesses. Thursday I will have a picnic at the park planned for us with a variety of finger foods, desserts and drinks. This will be the perfect chance to have a photo shoot and enjoy some quality time. Once we are all done with our picnic we will go bowling at Xlanes and play some pool. Bowling is so much fun especially when you’re with the right group of friends. Once we are done with bowling they have pool tables that you can also play on the side. We can end the night with some drinks at La Chuperia or get some delicious donuts at California Donuts. Friday we will start the day with some Pink and Boujee breakfast. She has some delicious pancakes and boujee tacos on her menu. My virgo twin Siena runs a taqueria in the heart of DTLA where she sells boujee tacos with a twist. Her tortilla’s are pink, her pancakes are pink and she has amazing aguas frescas. You guys have to check this place out if you haven’t. Once we are done eating we will head to universal studios and be there until 9pm. They are always remodeling something there so, it should be more exciting. Once we leave universal we will go home to get ready for the club. They have this amazing club in Hollywood called poppy or le jardin. Saturday morning we will be going to tacoslosdesvelados. They have the best Mexican food and mixed drinks. After we are done with our food we will head over to dodger stadium and watch the game. You have to get the dodger nachos and the dodger dog when you go. We will finally end the night with a game night at my house. Sunday morning we will head over to smorgasburgla. My uncle has his restaurant here where he sells delicious carnitas. We can also walk around and support the other businesses selling their items. There are businesses that sell aguas frescas, seafood, pizza, mixed drinks, boba, clothes and many more items. Once we are done we will head to the bar arcade in DTLA. Since Sunday is my friends last day, we will be dedicating the last day to her.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate my shoutout to my family, my boyfriend and all my supporters who have been there since I started my business. I will always give the credit and recognition when it’s due. My family has always supported my crazy ideas, they constantly motivate me, they always make sure I’m alright but most importantly they have never been afraid to follow me on my business journey these past 2 years. My parents have been my biggest helpers and biggest support system since the day I was born. I currently use my parents home as my office space and run my business out of their kitchen. When I first started my business back in 2020, my dad, my mom, my sisters and my boyfriend were there to help with the 150 Valentine’s Day pre-orders I had. I knew that I would not be able to do it alone so, I automatically spoke to them and told them they were hired for the weekend. My dad and my boyfriend were helping me cut the roses for all the bouquets, my mom was helping me set up all the heart boxes and filling them with their foam, my sisters were getting ready to turn in the orders for me once the customer arrived and I was the one dipping and making everything. We did not sleep for days trying to make sure everything came out perfect the day of. My family and boyfriend have always been there when I have big projects and when I want to learn new things. They are always there watching over my shoulder trying to learn as well. I remember back in 2020 my sisters didn’t really have an idea of what I was doing because they were smaller but now that they are getting older they are making and selling their own desserts now. One of them is currently an 8th grader at AACS and the other one is a sophomore at ALH high school. I have slowly been teaching my family everything there is to know about my business so, they can be motivated to start their own. I want them to know what it’s like to make their own money and be their own boss one day. My boyfriend deserves a big shoutout because he always pushes me to be a better version of myself. If I’m ever doubting or questioning my work he always reminds me that it’s great and it always speaks for itself. Whenever I want to buy new inventory or check out different spots for my ingredients he always tags along. I remember when I first started my business, I would doubt myself and he would be there promoting my business and telling all his friends/co-workers about what I do. He was there to help me with my first dessert table and it turned out amazing. I have officially added dessert table set ups to my menu. Last but not least my supporters and my clients have definitely made this possible and continue to make this possible for me everyday. It’s amazing how many strangers and people you meet on the internet support you more than people you have known your whole life. Start a business and you will see who your true friends and family really are. I say this all the time and I will never get tired of saying it, thank you guys from the bottom of my heart and just know you guys are all very special to me. Family is forever.

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