Saturday, December 14, 2013

Hobby with my hubby

“Hobby with my hubby”
Sun.Star Davao, Dec. 14, 2013

Back in the day when there were neither malls nor superstores in Cotabato City, Natalie Clarice Tan-Wee and her sisters would find different ways to spark their imagination and creativity from the littlest of things.

“In Grade 1, my mom would find all the pages of my notebooks filled with house layouts and full collections of fashion design sketches.  I remember making paper dolls and sets of dresses for my classmates, too”, shares the charming Natalie who is now based in Davao. Married to Engineer Mark Henry Wee, they have three adorable kids Ogin Margueritte, 5; Pepito Henry, 3; Qaleesi Noelle, 2 months.

“Since I was young, I would always watch my mom going about in the kitchen and would always volunteer to be her little helper. It would be such a wonderful treat as the experience would always be like being in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.  In 5th grade, my classmates and I would hang out in our house to bake during Saturdays”, recalls the busy housewife.

Natalie’s creative streak continued on to high school where she would design prom dresses for her pals. Most of her gifts to friends were also DIY crafts that she would wrap with magazine ads of high-end brands to make it more posh. When she reached 2nd year high school, she sold apple pies and Food for the Gods during Christmas and received repeat orders for the next two Christmases until she left for college at De La Salle University in Manila.

Even without an oven in her condominium unit during college, she enrolled in several short basic baking courses with premier pastry chef and cake designer Heny Sison.

It’s in the details

When Natalie became a mom, as expected, she was passionately hands-on in every detail of her children’s splendid themed birthday parties.

Not only that, whenever she got invited to baby showers or kiddie parties, she would make fanciful diaper cakes as gifts. She and hubby Mark would also give pretty table centerpieces and souvenirs to their godchildren’s special events.

Her tasteful and imaginative creations did not go unnoticed. Soon enough, friends began ordering from her.

"When I started to entertain orders from friends, I did not envision my hobby-business to become a full-time job nor do I wish it to be as such. It is an outlet where I can do my craft and still have time for my family. Working would always mean 'fun time' for me. It is also an opportunity for some learning moments for my inquisitive kids and gives me and my hubby a lot of “bonding/work” time together”, explains Natalie.

Hobby with my hubby

Natalie reveals that there are only four people behind Hobby with My Hubby (HWMH), namely: Natalie, Mark, Natalie’s mom Lily and a helper.

“My mom would assist me in baking during day time, then Mark and I do the “Photoshoping” and printables at night. I would make sketches of dessert stands and he materializes it. One helper assists in washing, paper cutting, and packaging. We do all aspects of each and every project personally, and it gives us an opportunity to hone our skills in the craft”, says Natalie.

Hobby with my Hubby’s bestsellers include their character cookies, cakepops and themed dessert buffet.

For their cookies, Natalie prefers piping with buttercream and melted chocolate because these make the pastries more delectable. On the other hand, when making their character cakepops, Natalie sees to it that she incorporates her artistic input in molding each figure and ensures that everything is edible.

“It takes three days from scratch to make an individually-packaged cookie. Since it is custom-designed, the cookie dough is personally hand-cut then baked. The cookies have two-three layers of icing for each design. It requires hours to harden each layer before you can put on another to complete the figure”, details Natalie.


Since all HWMH sweets are handcrafted with love and care, they are labeled as a 'confectionate’ (from the words confection and affectionate).

A box of 20 pieces of cookies with 4-5 designs is priced at only Php 800.

A simple candy buffet can be commissioned for as low as Php 3,000. On the other hand, the basic package of Php 5,000 includes cookies, choco-pop, pop mix, cupcake, and assorted candies, all in personalized packaging and décor.

“Usually clients already have a theme in mind. If not, we make one that best fits the occasion. The longest one I've made took about 3 weeks. We made the backdrop, a christening diaper cake, potted souvenirs for the godparents, and the edible treats. I painted the styrofoam backdrop myself. Sometimes, purchasing materials for a diaper cake requires me to visit all malls to find the perfect blanket to match a plush toy that's color-coordinated”, details Natalie.

Natalie advises other moms who are thinking of turning their hobbies into potential businesses to “know all aspects of the business and if needed, hire experts to do your accounting and marketing as your business expands so you can focus on your product”.

“Since it starts out as a hobby, you have to put a line between your personal use and business purchases.  Also take into account the overhead costs that are shared between home and business to make sure you're making real profit. Once this is established, all you have to do is love your hobby as it shows in your finished product!”, smiles the mompreneur.  

For more details, like Hobby with My Hubby on Facebook or contact them at cellphone number (0917)7187423.

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