“I never had plans for my love for baking to grow beyond my home kitchen, but my business had a life of its own,” says Tessa Dasopatis of Tessa’s Bakery, located in Milnerton, Cape Town. “I just became so busy that it was either scaling down or taking the next step and we chose to throw caution to the wind and open our first store in 2013.” Since then they’ve grown from supplying coffee shops to launching their very own online store, which supplies customers across the Western Cape with delicious cakes, cupcakes and quiches.
It was 25 years ago that Tessa’s cakes – made with butter, cream, sugar and good old-fashioned ingredients – began to be the talk of the town, and starting off with just three employees, the team now consists of 20. To this day, Tessa’s remains a family business, which is for her a key highlight. “Our family is together and we get to spend time together as a family every day, even my granddaughter is with us almost daily and brings life to everyone’s day,” she says. Of course, mixing business and family is not without its challenges, but Tessa says that listening to each other’s opinions with an open mind and heart, and being prepared to compromise has helped them to stay strong over the years.
“My biggest fear in growing the business was that the quality would drop; it remains our number one concern today. In the home kitchen I was always the one baking, but when we grew I had to learn to delegate and relinquish control and trust that the standards I instilled in my staff while training them together with daily guidance would be enough,” Tessa explains. “It was difficult for me at first to let go, but I do believe the quality is as good as it was back in my little home kitchen.”
In August Tessa’s Bakery moved into new premises, where they boast a trendy store front that showcases delectable drip cakes, decadent cupcakes and cake slices as well as authentic Greek delicacies. And for coffee lovers, they also have a barista who makes some pretty awesome Origin coffee.
If you’re in the area why not pop over for tea; and be transported back to your childhood with “real deal” chocolate caramel cake, red velvet cake, carrot cake, cheesecake and peppermint crisp tarts. It’s an opportunity to enjoy over-the-top treats, as well as to celebrate the sweet taste of small business success.