Hi guys, to round out the sweet month of May we’ve got a premium interview to surprise you loyal readers! Thanks to Chefs and Bakers for making this interview a reality! (Some pictures were taken from Flibby’s portfolio of orders)
BFH: Hello to all our readers! We’re here with Abby Guillergan of Flibby’s. Abby is the best cake decorator and gum paste sculptor in Bacolod. Abby could you introduce yourself please?
Abby: Hi! My name is Abby! My sister Izza and I run Flibby’s cupcakes. We both do everything here from the baking to the decorating.
BFH: How young are you?
Abby: I’m 26.
BFH: How did you get into making cakes and cupcakes?
Abby: I was an advertising executive in Manila. I resigned and when I came back to Bacolod nagutom lang ko. I wanted to eat some cakes and cupcakes. I had the recipes from my mom but we didn’t have any equipment just a small cupcake tin and a very small toaster oven. So I baked some cupcakes and it just popped into my head why don’t we start a cupcake business here in Bacolod.
BFH: Does your mother bake a lot, is that why you got into baking?
Abby: Yes she would make me help with the baking. She would make the same butter cake over and over, some pies. Very basic and she taught me the basic stuff. I really loved my mom’s baking and my lola’s too. They’ve been great influences on us.
BFH: How did you start out?
Abby: Actually we started sa Facebook lang man. We baked at home and simply made deliveries because at that time we didn’t have a store.
BFH: This was in the early 200’s?
Abby: 2009-2010. Nagkalat among our friends and our family, then we couldn’t keep up with the orders so we decided to open a small store, that was our Lopue’s east branch. We still kept baking at home but now we had a place to show our cupcakes and cakes so everyone who wanted to order could pick it up there and other people could see what our cupcakes looked like.
We were so successful and our orders increased even more and we needed a space where we could bake or create everything in one area so we opened a space in Lacson and that’s our current store.
BFH: So how many orders of cupcakes do you get in a day?
Abby: Around 200 cupcakes. But that’s just for the basic cupcakes. If they want to order the decorated ones I really have to clear out my schedule to really make those. If the design is really intricate it would take me an hour and a half to make one cupcake. If the customer orders 50 cupcakes, Well it would take me about 3-4 days.
BFH: I’m going to ask you a question that’s on everyone’s mind and I also asked this of Lorraine Yusay: Did you play with a lot of modeling clay as a child?
Abby: I’m not sure actually. I liked clay but I really didn’t use clay as a medium for sculpting. I’m not very artistic! I can’t even draw! Simple sketches lang. I just really like working with my hands. One thing I did when I was in manila I used to do a lot of paper craft You print out the design and then you make the model. I really liked it. But when it came to modeling and sculpting in gum paste well I just started when we put up the shop. I’m basically self taught, I watch a lot of online tutorials.
BFH: How does your designing process start?
Abby: Definitely you need to have a good reference first. I get a lot of my inspiration from other cake decorators and other designers online. Sometimes I also use toys or stuffed toys as references and I try to make my own interpretation of it.
BFH: So it it popular now in Bacolod, custom cakes and designs?
Abby: Custom cakes not so much. I think Bacolod people are more intimidated by it.
BFH: But Bacolenos want custom designs on their cakes right?
Abby: Yeah they Do want designs! But the frustrating thing about customers here in Bacolod is that they want the intricate stuff for cheap.
BFH: They want intricate designs but expect to get it cheaply?
Abby: Yes It’s very difficult to adjust to that. The other cake decorators here in Bacolod are really really good but they’re used to low prices that I can’t even imagine that these decorators would practically give away their works which are very very good at that particular low price. How do they ever manage to make ends meet?
BFH: I hear you have cupcake decorating lessons at chefs and bakers.
Abby: I like giving out classes and educating other people. I also need educating. It’s a continuous learning process. I learn a lot from other decorators as well. I like giving out classes to teach people, for example they see a little teddy bear and say: Oh it’s so simple! I can do it in three seconds! They take the class then find out it’s actually difficult to make such a simple looking thing! They learn that they really have to put effort into what they’re making.
BFH: So what’s the most challenging design that you’ve made ?
Abby: That was a long time ago. It was a personal project: A zombie head. A realistic looking one. That was very difficult for me because that was the first time I tried making a realistic looking one and not a cartoony one.
BFH: How did it turn out?
Abby: It turned out well actually! It took me a week!
BFH: I saw from your work that you receive a lot of TV series and Anime themed requests?
Abby: I like Pokemon and I’m a big fan of Hayao Miyazaki’s work! It’s sad that a lot of people don’t know these kinds of characters.
BFH: I saw that you made a One piece themed cupcake set.
Abby: That was actually a challenge. I had seen some episodes before but I had to do a lot of research because it helps me relate to what I’m doing. I make sure that I learn various design details and that helps me make the work as realistic as possible.
BFH: Any tips for those first starting out in the cake decorating business?
Abby: Just be resourceful. The one main thing to remember if you’re first starting out you need to research a lot, make sure you have good references and just practice everyday. That’s how you improve and get better. If you really love it you’ll have fun. For me every time I go here (Flibby’s) It’s like I’m just playing around with food! It doesn’t feel like work to me. That’s important when you’re first starting. Don’t be discouraged by the lack of tools, be creative, just use anything you can find around the house!
We asked Abby to show us how to make a figurine out of gum paste. She happily obliged!
The finished product beside another project that Abby was making at the time:
Thank you very much for reading this article. I hope you guys enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed making it! Please do drop by Flibby’s and check out their cupcakes. For inquiries and orders you can email, message us or call them at Phone/Landline – (034) 703-1055: Sun – 09228608617
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