New Year…New Sweet Beginnings

At the start of new year we tend to have a renewed sense of hope…establish goals we want accomplish….set resolutions to help better our selves. We feel full of excitement and motivation to tackle on any challenges that may come our way…because we’re determined to make this year better than the last. This feeling of new beginnings reminds me of how in the start of 2010, we embarked on a new venture and how Sweet Silk was born.

I had come with the idea and concept of creating refined or elegant Indian sweets in 2009 after returning from working in Dubai. I was inspired by all the gorgeous European chocolate and confectionaries I visited while I lived there. I also rediscovered all the rich ingredients and spices that make Middle Eastern and Indian sweets so unique. So, as my first catering “job”, I decided to create my version of indian sweets “dressed up” like petite fours for my best friend’s wedding. I created my fist two sweet flavors based on the flavors my friend and her husband loved; coconut with cardamom and dark chocolate ganache and Mejdool dates with hint of rose and studded with pistachios. I decorated each sweet with fondant flowers and bows and packaged the two sweets inside favor gift boxes my sister and I designed inspired by the blue and silver art deco dress of the bride. Each guest received a box that was inscribed with a message from the bride and groom.

V&S Sweet Favors 2

I never imagined it would take 4 continuous days for me to execute this plan, but once we saw the reaction on everyone’s face at the wedding and got positive feedback on taste, we knew it was worth every minute. That was when we knew we may be on the verge of something big!

So the start of 2010 my brother, my sister and I decided to pool together our talents, brainstorm and work together to make this vision come to life. All of January, we worked on a ideas, mission, company name and branding during the nights and I’d experiment with my mom and aunts during the day to develop my recipes and sweet flavors. In February, we conducted our first focus group where we had guests conduct a survey on everything from taste to aesthetics. Fueled with motivation and positive feedback, we kept moving full steam ahead in the coming months by obtaining our business license, making our sweets in a commercial kitchen, landing more catering jobs and continuing to collaborate to refine all of our ideas. Before we knew it summer flew by and in August we decided to take the leap and launch our first product line for sale with party in NYC. Shortly after we got our website up and running and began selling our Signature Collection online in time for Diwali. We even got an amazing feature in the New York Times before Christmas which helped spread the word about Sweet Silk throughout the country. We even got an order from someone in Japan who read about our story!

As fun and exhilarating as that first year was for all of us, it wasn’t short of its unforeseen challenges, hard work and many sleepless nights. Aside from obvious struggles of starting a new business, I faced some personal struggles with a complete change in my career and lifestyle. I wasn’t prepared for constantly having to prove myself or my vision to those who I thought would be supportive and understanding. At moments I found myself even struggling with self doubt.  ”What was I thinking to do this in my 30′s!!”  However, through it all I had to keep reminding myself why I started Sweet Silk. I knew I didn’t want keep working in “jobs” or have a career took over my life for sake of making hefty paycheck and……rather work for something I believe in and enjoy creating and sharing something I love.

I discovered along the way, that I wasn’t the only one facing these issues but many of my own peers and college friends who’ve made some life changing transitions have faced similar challenges. I was introduced to Vitra Singh by a good friend and found out that she had been going through similar struggles. She found herself inspired by many people she’s met and spoke to along way and was compelled to share these stories in a book to help others considering a life change and begin “Living Life For Yourself, Not Your Job”.

In this book, Vitra Singh shares the stories of 24 people who courageously reinvented their careers in a way that worked for them. Whether they turned a hobby into a full-time job, tried various avenues until they found a passion, or were forced to figure it out when life got in the way. Their journeys prove ordinary people like you and me can change the course of our careers if we want it badly enough. While it may be easy to stay in your current job, this book inspires you to start exploring a profession that will give you a sense of purpose and joy. This book shares the experiences of each of these individuals—their frustrations, fears, doubts, and strength as they boldly transformed the quality of their lives by refusing to settle for their 9 to 5 job.

I was honored to be included as one of those 24 people in this book where I was asked to answer some hard questions and reveal personal feelings and struggles. In some way having her ask me these questions and reading about the others who went through similar struggles helped me battle with own issues and made me stronger for it. I have to admit that through it all, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish or got this far without the help of my family, especially my sibling partners.

So for anyone else out there wanting to make some big changes or start a new path in 2013……read Vitra’s book or talk to others that may be able to help or provide source of inspiration…..and at the risk of sounding cliche….don’t hesitate and doubt yourself…JUST DO IT!

Fruit Truffles for Easter

Lately we’ve been featuring lots of truffles at the Sweet Silk Shop.  It all started back during the Christmas holiday sale to our aphrodisiac fruit truffles for Valentines Day and then just recently featured our latest Coconut Cashew Truffles in collaboration with Nuts+Nuts.  So for Easter, it was without a doubt that truffles were  going to be the feature again!

This time, inspired by spring, I wanted these truffles to be bright in flavor and color…so I decided to feature all fruit filled truffles for our limited edition Easter Gift Boxes.

I always get a little excited to see all the pretty pastel displays and decor as Easter approaches. I especially love the gorgeous bonnets that women wear to church with those huge bows! Its not just the fluffy, puffy and gooey (like those Cadbury eggs) during this time of year that always makes me feel happy and even a little giddy. It is also the evident blossoming  change of seasons and watching the earth spring to life.  So to pass on a little of my Easter happiness to you all, I rolled each truffle in delicate pastel sugars and encased all of them in an eco-friendly ballotin candy box and tied it with a big jute ribbon.  I also thought it would be great to offer sweets that were still vegan friendly &  gluten-free so that everyone can enjoy a yummy Easter treat!

I also think the unseasonable early warm weather got me a little extra happy, so everyone gets free shipping for all Fruit Truffle Gift Box orders to anywhere in Continental US! So visit our online shop to place your order soon as sale ends April 2nd!

 

A Vegan Start to the New Year

Happy New Year!

We started off the new year with a different kind of celebration! Our party was to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of the kitchen space, The Entrepreneur’s Space, officially becoming an incubator funded by the Queen’s Economic Development Corporation. Along with many of our fellow chefs, bakers, entrepreneurs, we had the chance to really showcase our delicious creations.  We were all on hand chatting with press, vendors and local foodies all whilst stuffing our face at the same time. Some of our sweet favorites were Lomaxine’s Orange Pistachio shortbread style cookies, Krumville’s gluten-free muffins!

Sweet Silk used this opportunity to introduce our latest collection, the Vegan Fruit Collection.  This collection is made using all natural ingredients that contain no dairy products, no eggs, no preservatives or additives, no sugar and they are all gluten-free like all of our sweets.  We’ve taken luscious organic dried fruits, such as dates, apricots and figs, and simply enhanced its own natural sweetness with hints of spices, vanilla, rose oil or touch of honey and added a bit of crunch with tiny pieces of pistachios, cashews or pine nuts. These dried fruits have been a staple in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diets for centuries.  It is no wonder why, as they retain all the beneficial nutrients of the fruit and are great source of magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, fiber and vitamin A & K.

Whether you are a vegan, watching your sugar intake or just looking for a low fat way to crave that sweet tooth…go ahead and indulge…these sweets are guilt free and good for you!