We had the good fortune of connecting with Wahida Liapis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Wahida, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Tanzania (home of The Lion King!) along with my four sisters. My family moved to Canada while still in my youth and we grew up in Edmonton, Alberta (Go Oilers!). Like most people, the importance of family has had a significant impact on our lives. As a kid growing up, we lived modestly and had a family-owned business – a unique convenience store in the heart of the suburbs. My parents worked hard to give us a good life and we were taught to share our good fortunes with our community. I worked at our store after school and learned a great deal from these experiences. My parents taught me a lot about running a successful business and I’ve loved the idea of starting my own company ever since. Giving back to the community has always been important to our family and I appreciate the dedication of our public servants. As often as possible, I donate my time and various baked goods to charities, nonprofits, public service organizations and other special people doing good work in our communities. I also believe it sends a positive message to my children.
Professionally, my background and education is in business, culinary arts, nutrition and restaurant management. As a young adult, I worked for a major, high-end cookie company in a large shopping mall up in Edmonton. 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.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
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.
My favorite part of the artistic or creative process is the actual decorating of the cake once I’ve had the chance to learn about my client and the person(s) being celebrated. I want my customers to share their ideas and their vision for the cake they want so I can incorporate their uniqueness into my creation. I do research and try to learn as much as I can about them to capture their vision.
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.
Growing CRAVE ‘ems and discovering my potential as a businesswomen comes with many unique challenges and opportunities. I’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way. In balancing my business with the needs of my family, I can often be found baking and decorating cakes well into the night after everyone else is asleep. I want to offer amazing products at competitive prices. I’m working hard to increase my knowledge of social media, enhance my virtual presence and gain more exposure. My customers often recommend CRAVE ‘ems and tag me through social media because they believe in my product, know I always try to be as available as possible and will often take last-minute orders to make someone’s celebration extra special. I also take time and pride in my work because I know my name and reputation rests on providing good service and a quality product. I want to grow a brand that can be trusted and known for its commitment to quality and excellent customer service.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
CRAVE ’ems is based in Temecula, CA, well-known as wine country and home to some of Southern California’s premier vineyards. Temecula is also home to numerous ranches/horse properties, hot air balloons, and other family-friendly activities. I’d take my friend for lunch at some of our local wineries, like South Coast or Wilson Creek. We’d go horseback riding through the vinyards, and, if they’re “up” for it, I’d take them for a hot air balloon ride. For their kids, I’d take them to Pennypickle’s Workshop, a great, exploratory science tour designed to encourage kids’ interest in science, etc. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The first person that comes to mind is my husband, who’s been my right-hand-man since embarking on this journey together from our home kitchen several years ago. Where would I be without him washing my mixing bowls, folding my boxes, picking up my supplies and delivering my cakes? He’s my self-proclaimed “Official Taste-Tester” and the one I’m always asking, “Does this look good?” He’s the one I turn to when I need that last-minute basket of strawberries, more eggs, pink roses or another jug of cooking oil. He helps organize and rotate my products to keep them fresh. He helps me write stuff for my website and social media. He assembles my storage shelves and reorganizes the fridge to make more room for my newest creations. He mixes my frosting and paints my cupcake medallions. He’s the one who lugs most of my stuff from the car and up a flight of stairs. He pours through my receipts during tax season and takes the kids out to play when I need a few moments of peace! Perhaps most importantly, he believes in me. He’s always encouraging me to pursue my passions and to live out my dreams of owning a successful business. After our two amazing kiddos, CRAVE ‘ems is our “baby.”