Welcome to another edition of “What’s Neue from 9 to 5”. In this segment, 9 questions would be about people’s opinion on general and everyday things, while the last 5 questions would be fairly chill and more tongue in cheek.
When asked if she had any life quotes that she lives by, the happily married cat mom said: “Stars cannot shine without darkness.”
This was when she revealed to Neue that she was diagnosed with depression some 8 years ago.
According to her, baking literally SAVED her life.
She now works from home, creating not just “a cake” but custom cakes for those special moments. (Check out her Instagram post below!)
Hafi Kay Midnight Baker wants to break the stereotype that home bakers are just “bored” housewives or jobless people who do not strive to go out there to get a “real” 9 to 5 job.
According to her, most people would not consider home baking as a sustainable profession in the long run.
“Entrepreneurs whose businesses require a high level of creativity and skill are the ones who have to work harder,” she said. “Countless hours, energy and money are put in to see through it that the business would be a success.”
At the end of the day, entrepreneurs should be “more visible” in society. “We need to be better represented and not looked down upon,” she added.
Without further ado, let’s see how she responds to this week’s 9 to 5 questions.
The Tough 9’ers:
1.“Hafi Kay Midnight Baker”. How did you come up this name? What was your inspiration?
I was once a college student with a monthly allowance of $45. The allowance that I received was sufficient for weekly fuel to get me from my home in Jerudong to the Airport Mall, where my college was located.
However, as my parents did not provide me with any pocket money, I had to think of other ways to make some side money.
This was when I began to bake cupcakes for my close friends and relatives.
Back then, my daily routine would be as follows:
– Classes from morning till 4.30pm
– Arrive home around 5.30pm (shower, nap, dinner)
– By the time I had completed my assignments and research, it would almost always be midnight already!
– Then I’ll start baking until 2 to 3 in the morning.
– Sleep for a short while.
– Wake up at 4.30am.
– Customers will then collect their orders at my college (either before or after my classes)
As you can see, the only time I had to bake was midnight … hence, the name ‘midnight baker’.
To my surprise, the wonky swirls on my cupcakes were not as off-putting as I thought they would be. I guess you could say that taste of the cupcakes really stood out, as orders kept coming in!
2. Who inspires you the most?
Growing up, I had always admired Nigella Lawson (pictured above) and Anna Olson (pictured below). They always looked so comfortable when they were in their kitchens.
Nigella never fears eating those few slices of cake when she’s done baking. She still looks oh-so gorgeous after all these years (… and after all those cakes she’s consumed!)
I find it so therapeutic when Anna begins to sift all the measured ingredients. She really bakes in a professional manner!
Generally speaking, I would like to be more confident in what I do and to one day, set an example for other beginner bakers. I would like to encourage them to trust their abilities and to be less critical of themselves.
3. What are you most grateful for in life?
My husband. Without his unconditional love and emotional support, I would have never been brave enough to step into the waters and start doing what I love for a living.
During my “bad” days, my husband may not always know how to handle my “emotional mess” but he makes an effort to bring me flowers. He will also try his best to come home from work early just to be with me. He cooks dinner and washes the “mountain pile” of dishes.
This might not mean much to anyone else, but to me, these are genuine qualities in a man that I had wished for all my life. He’s so thoughtful. It warms my heart that he will always support me no matter how tired I may look at the end of a 12-hour cake-making marathon.
4. What are the most important things to you in life?
My marriage and my family. My marriage validates that even the most miserable and messed up person can eventually find true love. My family, although we were not a perfect bunch (we fight, we have strong individual personalities and want to sometimes smack each other with a large fish) … but I do love my family and will do anything to protect them.
5. What are the biggest things you’ve learnt in life to date?
Trusting my own creativity. I’ve spent the last 3 years creating custom cakes. I have come to realise that I am able to create better designed cakes when are no restrictions to creativity.
My loyal customers know how I work and they trust me.
They would usually just tell me what theme and colour scheme they have in mind. And the rest is up to me. (This is always great news to my ears!)
My heart races too when I get clients who say “there’s no max budget” 🙂
I’ve also learnt the importance of opening up. In the past, all the thoughts in my head (both good and bad) I would often keep them to myself. (Sometimes it felt as if I was drowning in them when people were not watching.)
But over time, I have learnt to show others that I’m not an insensitive and cold as some people may perceive me to be. I admit I have flaws just like you and everybody else.
I’ve also come to realise that it’s alright to put your heart on your sleeve and to trust the good nature of people around you.
6. What advice would you give to yourself 3 years ago?
– Do not depend on JobCentre.
– Do not undercharge for your skills and time spent.
– Do not blindly help people.
7. If you are to do something for free for the rest of your life, what would you want to do?
Help cuddle scared cats and dogs at the animal shelter until they find a loving forever home.
8. What do you want to achieve 1 year from now?
To create even more opulent and detailed cakes. So good, in fact, that my customers would be a little heartbroken if they cut the cakes 🙂
I would like my brand name to be more prominent too in the Brunei cake-making scene. Maybe I’ll even start teaching classes.
9. What if these goals are doubled? Tripled? Magnified by 10? How would you feel?
This question is so deep! I can’t even begin to express how grateful and blessed I would feel.
The Easy 5’ers:
1. How useful would you be in a zombie apocalypse? What skills do you have that would help you and others survive?
I’d like to think that I would be very useful!
I may not be much of a fighter, but I can help nourish everybody else.
After all, I love to cook and even when you think there is nothing to cook in the pantry, I will always find ways to make something out of the bare minimum.
With me around, I’ll ensure that nobody is ever allowed to go hungry. Don’t believe me? Go ask anyone who knows me 🙂
2. Who would you most like to sit next to on a 24-hour flight?
Nobody thanks! I would sleep for the whole 24 hours. If sleep was a sport I would win for sure! I think I lack so much sleep that sleep is now the only thing that truly makes me happy these days!
3. What do you fear most in life?
Besides a toppled cake on its way to the venue? Probably my body parts suddenly failing on me due to stress and overworking.
4. One thing that you wished you had more in life?
The power to control time! I always feel like there isn’t enough hours in a day. Despite being a housewife and a home baker, there is just too much to do and so little time.
I wish I could spend more time planning and organising the week’s orders, replying all my messages and taking my time to squeeze out new cake design ideas. I also wouldn’t mind using the extra time to create even more intricate designs.
I must be honest … my husband is not impressed with me hopping in to bed by 3-4am. After all, the house ain’t gonna clean and maintain itself y’know!
If I can stop time as well … that would be wonderful. I would take a power nap for 5 hours instead of a measly 30 minutes.
5. What is one thing you’re going to do differently after answering all these questions?
I would NOT overthink things, especially when people ask me questions. I almost wrote a whole novel answering all these deep questions 🙂 Haha!
Bonus question: What would you like to say to all our Neue readers? Do you have any words or inspiration or a life story you’d like to share?
Thank you for all those who have supported me from my early days. I would also like to thank those who recently discovered me. It’s always an honour to be a part of their special events.
“Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else” – Les Brown
Be strong and keep moving forward!
See You In The Next #Neue9to5
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