Sweet treat: young Halifax mother turns COVID challenges into custom cake business
HALIFAX -- New mom Hanlyn Barlomento-Fuentes has turned her pandemic pastime into a busy cake-making business.
“It’s for a graduation party, and we’re putting white and gold designs all over it. And we’re going to be adding a grad hat after everything is done,” explains Barlomento-Fuentes as she designs an intricate graduation cake shaped like the letter ‘R’.
Originally from the Philippines, Barlomento-Fuentes immigrated to Canada in 2008. But she says she never expected to be baking cakes for a living.
“I graduated as a cardiology technologist, but because of COVID, I decided to just stay home and look after our little one,” says Barlomento-Fuentes.
It’s been a stressful year for the 26-year-old, who has been raising her infant daughter in Halifax while waiting for her husband to immigrate to Canada.
“My family is one of the badly affected by the immigration backlog. I sponsored my husband in 2019 and still haven’t heard from immigration, so that’s why I just decided to be home and be with my daughter for now, since my husband is not here,” said Barlomento-Fuentes.
But as the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make cake!
Rather than feel sorry for herself, Barlomento-Fuentes has found new ways to keep busy.
“It was because of my postpartum depression that I started looking for ways to ease my mind. One day, about six or seven months ago I decided to make cakesicles for my little one - pretty much cake pops but just a different, bigger style,” recalls Barlomento-Fuentes.
What started off as a delicious dessert for her daughter quickly turned into a blossoming business.
“I posted them online and they grabbed a lot of people’s attention, so after that I just started selling them. After two months I started adding cakes; first letter cakes, then cupcakes and also custom dipped strawberries,” explains Barlomento-Fuentes.
Her custom cake business ‘Memiswirls’ continues to grow with popularity, and Hanlyn says the experience has inspired personal growth as well.
“This is a very big thing for me, because I’m a very shy person, but doing this business helped me open up to new opportunities, even getting interviewed,” she says. “Customers keep coming back and that boosted up on my confidence.”
Delicious desserts that have helped make a tough year a bit sweeter for a young business owner, and her customers.