Baking has always been a long-time passion for Arieni Ritzal. A family-oriented person, her love for the craft came naturally, starting off small by cooking for her loved ones before she decided to share her creations with other sweet tooths, beginning her entrepreneurial streak at just nineteen years old.
Now, she’s one of the most popular names in the local dessert community, made famous by her brands Gula Cakery and Gula Creamery.
Looking back on the early days of her career, Arieni’s business really kicked off when she opened an Instagram account with the aim to market her business to a wider audience.
This new venture, though exciting for the young entrepreneur, came with its own set of responsibilities that Arieni had to get used to, from being a source of livelihood for her employees to late nights in the café, watching over the bakes and ensuring that everything ran smoothly.
One of the hurdles Arieni had to overcome was managing people and maintaining the quality of her products, knowing that the business no longer involved her personally creating the bakes herself.
“I’m a very hands-on person and, being a boss to employees meant I had to be responsible for the staff who relied on me. When I first started, with no salary and having 200 people working under me, there were times where it could feel overwhelming balancing between the personal and professional aspect of my life.” shares Arieni.
Despite being in the industry for so long, Arieni admits that there are still times where her position can be quite overwhelming, dealing with the occasional ‘what if’s and ensuring the success of her outlets while juggling a family.
Though a conundrum at times, Arieni feels that her journey as an entrepreneur far outweighs the struggles she’s faced. The young business owner shares that the opportunity given to her has only fueled her already strong passion for baking. “I always speak through anything that I cook or bake and I’m fortunate to be in a position where I can have the time to invest in creating new recipes, so that makes the job a lot more fun.”
“I think what inspired me to move forward is rewarding the people who work with me for their hard work. This is what motivates me to grow and improve.”
When asked what kind of leader she hopes to be for her team, she answers with a fond smile, stating that it’s her hope that she can inspire them to be their own leaders one day. “When my team looks at me as their mentor, it makes them motivated as they want to have something that I have, and it makes me happy when they know I will be right there for their process.”
Nowadays, anyone who’s dedicated to starting something of their own can do so with social media as their marketplace. As a veteran Instagram business owner, Arieni says that much has changed over the last twelve years since she herself relied on social media to kick start her brand.
Since the launch of Gula Cakery, Arieni has expanded her repertoire of F&B brands beyond just sweet treats, including offering roti jala and diving into the Mexican culinary space with El Ocho, located in Eco Ardence, Setia Alam.
Besides being a baking queen, Arieni’s talents also stretch to savoury delights, a side she brough to the second season of Bernama’s Masak Apa Chef?, showing off her unique set of culinary skills, recreating her most popular dishes.
Moving forward, she hopes to inspire a new era of home bakers and female entrepreneurs to start their own endeavours with what they know best. “I always use this sentence ‘Dream without fail’. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to dream big and go for it.”
“Always circle yourself with the right people and soon you’ll be on a journey of a lifetime.”
Penny For Your Thoughts
If you could be anyone—fictional or non-fictional—, who would it be and why?
I think I would really love to be Gordon Ramsay because I think he is the coolest guy ever, we really love to go to LA and visit Hell’s Kitchen. He is a very loving dad and also a serious chef at work, and I think I see myself that way too.
Advice you would give your younger self.
My advice would be do not overthink things and always surround yourself with the right people. Always learn new things that will benefit you.