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Customer joy makes the long hours worth it

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Zubair Arshed, owner, 3Forty-Seven Cakes

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

I’m 30 years old. I was born and raised in Belfast. I am the owner/baker of 3Forty-Seven Cakes.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE?

My workday starts at 8:30am. I begin by checking my emails, messages and social media messages along with the order form. Answer queries, provide quotes and organise my delivery and collections for the day. I start baking at 10:30am and onwards is all cake decorating, final touches and packaging all the day’s orders. Customers start collecting orders from 12 until 3pm then it’s onto deliveries which takes me up to 6:30pm. I take a break to recharge and reply to my messages, do some social media postings from the day and plan what needs to be baked for the next day. I generally finish baking at 1:30/2am and clean up takes up to 2:30am/3am. So, my days are jam-packed and constantly on the go.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

I think the highlight of my career so far is the amount of recognition my bakes get. It is overwhelming that my customers support me and compare my bakes to the same level of patisserie they’ve had in London and Paris. Even some chefs have praised my work, which is something I never expected. For someone like me who is completely self-taught, it is a little surreal.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?

The excitement my products bring to customers. It is true excitement. I like to talk to all my customers and when they tell me they haven’t had an eclair or tart in 10 years and how happy they are to have found me is something that brings me joy and makes the long hours worth it. It’s giving people options for something they haven’t had in a long time.

WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK?

I am not the biggest fan of maths, so my most difficult task is generally costing, finance or tax related. I often call my brothers or dad to help out with all this. Maths and I don’t get along.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?

I’ve always been told to be true to who I am and never try and be like someone else. I didn’t fully understand this when I was younger, but I see now that we’re all born with different talents and it’s important to recognise yours.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE?

Again it’s always maths related. I’m more of a fictional book or make-believe person.

WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE?

I’ve always wanted to be able to play piano like Beethoven.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/AMBITIONS?

My future plans and ambitions are to take my business to the next step, perhaps to open a flagship store showcasing patisserie in Belfast but in my own unique way.

WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE?

I’ve always admired my grandparents and parents for their resilience.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE?

It will have to be Brick Lane market in London on a midsummers’ day. The music, food and atmosphere are like nowhere else.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT?

At the moment I’m really liking Hummus by Hani, the chipotle one is my current favourites.

HOW DO YOU RELAX?

I relax with DIY, music, painting, a good book or developing new recipes. I like being creative and take every opportunity I can get to explore my creativity further.


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