“Sweettalking” — from Los Angeles to Mumbai

Rakhi Advani-Kamble Cake Artist / Pastry Chef

As a child, Rakhi would look at the gorgeous desserts displayed in the shelves of luxury hotels and knew that someday her cakes will be a part of someone’s most precious moments. Today, Rakhi Advani-Kamble is living her dreams through Sweettalk. Rakhi is a Cake Artist / Pastry Chef by profession and graduated from the prestigious Institute of Hotel Management, Mumbai, India. She always had a passion for baking and confectionery. Her first attempt at learning was a 1 year Bakery 101 class in the 11th grade. But once she started learning, there was no looking back and that’s when Rakhi decided to apply at IHM Mumbai. She spent 3 wonderful years learning all she could about hotels, all to realize that her first love will always be cakes and desserts. Rakhi got trained at Oberoi hotels for 6 months and post her graduation, she started her professional career at Hotel Holiday Inn. Fast forward a few years and she found  with her, very supportive, chef-husband in Los Angeles, USA. After her daughter Mirra was born, Rakhi realized that there was no way she could leave home and go to work. And Sweettalk was born….Baby steps lead to strides and in a few years Sweettalk was making beautiful wedding cakes for some really lovely brides. After 20 years of – creating beautiful artistic cakes and desserts in Los Angeles, Rakhi is now in Mumbai and loving every minute of it.

High point in career

“On that one, I will definitely go with “Making Wedding cakes”. Having lived in Los Angeles for so long, most cakes we made at Sweettalk were wedding cakes. Gorgeous, multi-tiered wedding cakes that were just the epitome of beauty. There is something about the energy and the positivity of a bride. It just rubs off on you. They are so excited about starting this new chapter in their life with the one they love. The wedding becomes symbolic of the excitement, the anticipation. And the cake personifies it all. The fact that they trust you with the most important centerpiece of the most important day of their life gives you a whole other kind of high.”

Most challenging assignment so far

“That would have to be a 5 Tiered Jeweled wedding cake. Back in 2013, I think it was around March or April when we were still in LA. I still remember the couple, Vivian and Michael placed an order for a 5 Tier Jeweled wedding cake with 2 dummy tiers in the middle. So it ended up being a 7 Tier cake. It was gorgeous. Sparkling all over. Truly a  visual delight!!! Each Tier had a different shape, different design and add to that all the jewels. The cake ended up weighing about 15 lbs (approx 30 kgs). It was huge. We had to transport it from WestLA to Hotel Hilton in Universal City. It seemed impossible. Finally we decided to take each tier separately and assemble it on location. Took us about an hour to reach and another hour to set up the cake at the venue. I still remember, we had to use a step ladder to finish the top 2 Tiers of the cake. Really nerve wracking but absolutely worth it!!!. The bride was in awe. She came up to us personally and thanked us for “this beauty, its prettier than I could have ever imagined” (her words exactly).”

Greatest inspiration

“I know its cliché but honestly ….both my Moms. My mother and my mother-in-law are the 2 women that have truly and greatly inspired me. Both these women are stronger than anyone I’ve ever known. My mom has taught me how to stand up tall in adversity and believe. My dad passed away when we were little. Suddenly she was left with 4 daughters. She had no clue what she was going to do next. Here she was, a young housewife whose life revolved around her home, her children and her husband. And all of a sudden she was left alone to take care of 4 little girls, and no support system. She somehow got herself together, and put us through school, college, got us married. It’s amazing, how resilient she is! I can only imagine how much conviction and persistence that takes.

My mother-in-law is another superwoman I know. Initially when I got married and moved in with my in laws, she used to leave for work at 7 am and come back home at around 10pm. She’s a teacher. Later on I was made aware about the situation. Circumstances were such that my dad in law couldn’t work. He hadn’t for a long time. And with 2 kids and a family to support, she would go to school at 7 am, and after the school ended, she would take tuitions for students, one after another and finally finish around 10 pm. And she did this each day every day for many years till she put both her kids through college. And add to that, the unending responsibilities of a homemaker, a wife, a mother. I have immense respect for the wonderful lady that she is.

I can only hope to be as strong and as tenacious as these 2 women through the ups and downs in life.”

Most important milestone in life

“Being a Mom….It completes me. I’ve always been a very restless ambitious person. Luckily, I found a career that I am very passionate about. I can work on my cakes for hours on end, working every design, perfecting every detail. I get so involved in my work that I tend to forget everything around me. But my daughter, Mirra, keeps me grounded. Just being around her, playing with her, being silly with her is priceless.”

Women are the better halves. What does it mean?

“I’d say, we are close. Compared to the men in our previous generations, most husbands these days are more compassionate, understanding and supportive of their wives. Apart from being the primary bread earner, they play a more positive role in a marriage as opposed to being demanding like the earlier generation. Having said that, I think that Women, inherently are very nurturing, forgiving and tolerant by nature which is crucial to the survival of a marriage. And yet when we step out in the Dog Eat Dog world, we are willing to fight tooth and nail to achieve our goals. Which brings women closer to being the complete package than men. So I seriously doubt, we women stand the risk of losing the “Better Half” title any time soon. And my husband happens to agree with me.”

Experiences on being a woman entrepreneur

“I could write volumes on this one. I am not sure when I turned into an entrepreneur, from someone who loves to bake, but I have to say, it’s been quite the ride so far. The most important revelation, I’ve had is that a women entrepreneur is never alone. Women by nature are very social species – we make friends, form bonds, relationships wherever we go. So subconsciously, we are always networking. So we have a complete network / support system ready to go when we need it. That’s how Sweettalk began. A friend decided to buy a cake from me for her office party and that’s it. From one friend to another, it took on a life of its own. Its amazing how many referrals come pouring in from this invisible support system that we have. Women are very loyal that way. I have always maintained that on some level women have been entrepreneurs for the longest time. Its just recently that women have pushed the boundaries and have become fearless enough to claim their share of credit for being a crucial pillar of the economic growth model.”

How do you believe in making dreams come true?

“This one might sound a bit old school….But, to sum it up in one word, FAITH.

Faith is God, Faith in self and Faith in the people around me. I’m a huge believer in God, and rightly so. I’ve always felt that someone is watching over me. No matter how bad , the situation, it always ends on a positive note. Another thing I truly believe in, is dedication, hard work, the willingness to go the extra mile just when you are about to give up. When you put all your energies in what you love, the universe responds in positive ways.

And last but not the least, faith in my loved ones. I’ve been extremely lucky on this front. I have a family that is always there for me. Encouraging me, guiding me, pushing me along, watching my back and never letting me give up. I can come up with so many stories about when my sisters, my family, my friends have come to my rescue. My dreams can and will come true because I have them in my life. Like I said earlier, there’s someone watching over me, and if I give it my all, the sky is the limit.”

Challenges faced

“The biggest challenge a lady encounters as an entrepreneur is not being taken seriously. Negotiating with business owners, corporate HR heads, Event coordinators becomes quiet a challenge when you have to spend the first 10 mins trying to make it very clear that you are a no nonsense person and the next 10 mins trying to convince them that you are the business owner / authority figure on the top of the approval chain. That there is going to be no man walking in and taking over the meeting. Sometimes the reactions are hilarious. Having said that, we have developed some great relations over the years with them and its business as usual!!!”

Setbacks and Lessons learnt

 “Yes, I have had my fair share of setbacks. When I first started Sweettalk, I had a few cake disasters of my own. A few years back, I was in the ICU for about 10 -12 days, with orders pending, brides expecting their cakes. It did a number on my family, my business. But hey, stuff happens. But one thing that teaches you is to roll with the punches. What seems like an uphill battle one day, is gone and forgotten in a week or two. I truly believe it builds character. It teaches you to not take things too seriously. Its all in the mind. The problems are only as serious as you think they are. And one thing is for sure. Man proposes, God disposes. So I’ve grown to the point where I just enjoy my work, my life and leave the rest to destiny.”