We had the good fortune of connecting with Hana Ahmed and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hana, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Ever since I was young, I loved cooking and baking. I would buy new cookbooks from book sales held by my school or the Sunday market and try out new and exciting recipes. I even used to try out some of my Nani’s (grandmother) recipes, one of my favorites was her marble cake recipe. As I got older, my love for baking increased especially as I learned to decorate cakes and other desserts; decoration is half the fun of baking! I am a self-taught baker and gained more practice as I started baking my sisters and my own birthday cakes. Eventually I got my first order from a friend and realized I could sell my treats and creations. It started off with just a few of my sisters’ friends ordering for their small parties and events. Since then, my friends and family told me I should think about opening up a business and do what I love, so I decided to start an Instagram page, over a year ago, to showcase my work and sell my baked goods. Once I started an Instagram page the orders came from people, I didn’t even know, nor had I met before which was so exciting! Coming up with a name for my business took some thought. When I would eat or make desserts or any yummy foods, I would always snap it to my friends and family with the caption “#HappyHana”. So, when it came down to thinking of a name for my business, I decided baking and decorating cakes makes me happy so why not call my business Happy Hana Cakes! I started off with just selling cake products including cakes, cupcakes and cake pops. This year Happy Hana Cakes rebranded to include other bakes and treats, and we launched our already famous and popular cookies, chocolate covered mini heart cakes and chocolate covered Nutella hearts, yes you read that right, chocolate covered NUTELLA! That is how I started Happy Hana Cakes and I am so grateful for all those that have and continue to support me through this journey, and I love that I am able to do what I love and grow!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Apart from being a baker and the girl behind Happy Hana Cakes, I have been a student of the University of Houston’s business school, C.T. Bauer College of Business. I have earned both my undergrad and master’s in Accountancy and will be pursuing a full-time career at a Public Accounting Firm. I enjoyed my studies and becoming an accountant and am currently studying for the CPA Exam. Studying full time for the CPA and baking part time for Happy Hana Cakes is challenging; however, with dedication, lots of planning and organization I am able to both further my future and career as an accountant but also do what I love and destress by baking and decorating yummy treats. I have found the best way to prioritize both my studying and baking is by allocating enough time during the day to learn the material I need to for this exam, and at night when the house is quiet and the kitchen it empty I bake for both customer orders and for new and exciting treats and designs. If you know me, you know I am a bit of a Nerd and I have always loved education and genuinely wanted to major in Accounting, but you would also know how much I love to bake and decorate desserts! I am so blessed and lucky to be able to do both the things I love, and Happy Hana Cakes has allowed me to do this; who says you can’t have it all? If you try, and work hard for the things you want, you can definitely do anything and achieve any goals you set! So, what do I want the world to know about me? I am an accountant by day and baker by night!
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?
A lot of people believe there isn’t much to do in Houston; however, if you look hard enough you will see there is a lot to see in Houston and definitely a lot to eat! Anytime we have friends or family in town one of our favorite places to take them is the museum district. Some museums to definitely check out while in Houston would be the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Menil Collection and the Houston Museum of Natural Science. For lunch I would recommend a Philly Cheesesteak from Stacattos, a local mom and pop shop, and then a nice dinner at North Italia. My favorite appetizer at North Italia would be their truffle garlic bread and as an entree I would recommend their Strozzapreti pasta. Another fun day would include biking around Buffalo Bayou and lunch at Star Pizza. Then in the evening, a picnic dinner watching the sun set with the view of the Houston skyline at Eleanor Tinsely Park or watching a movie at the Miller Outdoor Theatre would be the perfect way to end the night. As for the picnic dinner I would recommend one of my favorite burger spots in Houston, Stanton’s City Bites. Their “Holy Cow” burger is amazing for all my cheese lovers out there, with five kinds of melted cheeses, but they also have other yummy burgers for those who aren’t as cheesy as me!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Happy Hana Cakes would not have been possible without my sister Sunny! She has been my #1 fan and cheerleader from the start. Without her encouraging me, supporting me and pushing me to be my best I would not be where I am today nor would Happy Hana Cakes be the small business it is. She has not only helped me with words of encouragement and picking me up when I feel I am not doing my best in terms of baking, but she is also the brains behind my marketing/social media strategy and helped me re-brand and design the perfect logo for Happy Hana Cakes! She deserves the biggest shout out and recognition for making Happy Hana Cakes possible and for continuing to support me, promote me and help me in any way she can. Thank you Sunny, for all that you do for me and for helping me be successful and thank you for taking and editing all of Happy Hana Cakes’ pictures, I love you!
Facebook: Happy Hana Cakes
Sania Ahmed @sunnysaud