For a little more than three years now, Shantal Derboghosian has led a double life. By day, she is an accomplished chemist who holds a master’s degree in environmental engineering from UCLA. But by night, she is the maven behind some of most exquisite designer cakes and cookies on the West Coast.
“I call it an accidental love affair,” Shantal confesses, having spent ample time searching for her true passion while laboring in school and in her day job.
Incredibly, through her hobby of designing cakes for friend’s birthdays, the brilliant young scientist soon began splitting her time between the laboratory and the kitchen. Finally, on December 15, 2009, Shantal decided to go one step further and open Shakar Bakery. (“Shakar” means sugar or candy in Armenian.)
“It took a lot on my part to really get my name out there,” she remembers of her early days as a small business owner. “Everyone knew me as a scientist… The first year, I was pretty much giving away everything for free just to get my name out there. Time went by and I got more and more orders from word of mouth. Then my skills started getting sharp. And I decided that I really love my business a lot. So I really want to throw it forward this coming year.”
Hoping to bake up her biggest year yet in 2013, Shantal recently submitted a wish to Intuit’s Small Business Big Wishes campaign.
“For $4,000,” she wrote in her wish entry, “I can purchase a commercial refrigerator that’s Star certified and large enough to hold multiple large cakes and desserts at once. This will allow my business to accept more orders on the same weekends and not be limited by my current refrigerator space. This is one of the biggest investments needed for my business right now, and I would love all the help I can get!”
Fortunately for Shantal, this wish is a piece of cake for Intuit. And so this week, the ambitious baker from Van Nuys was told to make room for her new refrigerator.
“This is fantastic,” Shantal exclaimed upon learning the good news. “I’m putting a lot of energy into two full time jobs,” she adds, noting that the time to pick between the two is rapidly nearing.
So are Shantal’s days of leading a “double life” finally over?
“It’s my cake business that makes me really happy,” she admits, making it known which career she’s going to pursue with her full attention. It really makes me feel accomplished… I love engineering. I’m a science nerd. I just love having something that’s mine and something that I can grow into something wonderful.
Do You Have a Small Business Wish?
Have a wish? It just may come true! During the month of December, Intuit will grant one wish a day for 15 days to deserving small businesses. Submit your wish online for a chance to win. Winners will be selected based on the number of votes each wish receives, the wish’s feasibility, and the transformational impact it would have on the business. To learn more, click here.