We had the good fortune of connecting with Yanilu Rondon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yanilu, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Yanilu Rondon Cake Design started spontaneously and without any planning. In 1999 I emigrated from Venezuela to Atlanta, Georgia and in 2013 I decided to permanently move to Katy, Texas, motivated by the need to be present in my niece’s life. When she was 3 years old she asked me to make her a princess cake for her birthday and I could not refuse. Without any knowledge of the techniques for working with fondant, I decided to get down to business and, after some tutorials and many hours without sleep, I made my first fondant-covered cake. It was a success among family and friends, not only because of the work done in the decoration, but also because of what it represented to have those traditional flavors of our cakes that we miss so much when we emigrate. Almost immediately friends, and friends of friends started asking me if I could make their themed cakes and that’s how it all started. I have to admit that I love sweet, and it runs in the family. For generations we have treasured recipes for different desserts and cookies made by my great-grandmother, grandmother, her sisters and my aunts, which has allowed me to maintain those characteristic flavors of our cuisine. What started by chance today is already 7 years thanks to my wonderful clients who have constantly accompanied and challenged me during this time. More than a business, I still consider it a hobby and enjoy it as such. At the same time, I maintain my professional career full time and, although it is sometimes very exhausting, I have not been able to stop baking completely, I owe it to my clients, who have become friends.
Tell us more about your art. What sets you apart from others?
It is not easy for me to talk about my own work because I am very self-critical. I admire many great people in this industry and I am in constant search for improvement. There are a lot of talented people who do great things and that is challenging. What sets me apart from others? I think paying attention to details, I do things as if they were for me, to exceed my own expectations, that is important to me and I think it is reflected in my work. What are you most proud of or excited about? I am proud to have the preference of my clients knowing that they trust my work to carry out what they imagine and wish to have on their special occasions. Was it easy? No, it has never been easy, my learning has been empirical, but I think that when we do what we like it is less complex. I overcome challenges by researching, reading articles, watching videos of other people on different platforms designed to support and teach. What are the lessons you have learned along the way? You have to be humble, no matter how much you think you know. You must support, advise and encourage other people who want to do the same as you. This helps you improve and pose new challenges. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and history? That you can be an entrepreneur at any age, in any country as long as you do things with dedication and respect.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Eating at: Peli Peli south African Restaurant La Centerra, katy Fushion Grill, katy Araguaney Venezuelan Cuisine Katy Gelato & Co. La Centerra, Katy Drinking and gathering at: No Label Brewing Katy Best place to visit: Houston’s Museum District Nasa Space Center Hermann park Houston Zoo Galveston Island Kemah Boardwalk Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (Sugar land)
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?
To my niece Victoria for kindly forcing me into the world of sugar paste, to my little niece Sofía, who will probably follow in my footsteps, and to my husband for the support and collaboration in those special projects. Yolanda Gampp, an excellent artist and one of my first inspections.
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