I met Rita many years ago when we were both attending António Arroio art school. Whoever is from Lisbon or Portugal and is reading this post will probably know what it means to have attended this very special high school. She was one of my besties at school at the time and we had great fun together. However, once we left high school to attend uni we saw each other less and less, as life sometimes gets in the way of friendships, but thanks to Facebook we managed to get back in touch again! I noticed posts about very sweet looking (and tasting) things she was making herself and it all made sense when I received an invite to “like” her page Dotes&Pops
I am currently very interested in finding out more about people who start their own small businesses and how an idea, a passion or a hobby can evolve into a business and I thought Rita was a good example of it. So, I thought that I should not only show you all the sweet things she has been making (I am sharing a few personal favourites) but also share her story with everyone as it is inspiring. So, here is Rita, in her own words.
I started in 2010, after Clara’s birthday (Rita’s daughter). I wanted to do everything at home for her birthday,
cake and animal-shaped biscuits (without decoration) as party favours for playmates. Clara got involved in the production and she was super proud of our work.
Shortly after, a friend showed me another decorated biscuit her friend had made … I was so delighted, I placed an order. Soon I realized that I’d like to try and do it myself- it would be a fun activity to do with Clara.
The decoration technique I learned on the Internet.During these studies I found the pop-cakes and thought the concept was delicious. I learned the technique on youtube and tried to do it too. These are a delight to any sweet tooth, but it is still little known to many people.
|(I’m not going to be 5 but this could be my next birthday cake – it even has my name on it!)
I started making them to give away as presents, without any business prospect, because a lot of people already do it commercially. Since I had to use up all my production, often I sent cookies and pop-cakes to Clara’s school, which filled her with pride.
Since I was publishing what I was doing in my personal Facebook page, my friends began to encourage me until a friend placed an order of strawberry shaped biscuits to give away as wedding favours. I accepted and started Dotes & Pops.
From there I started receiving orders: pop-themed cakes, cookies with messages, festive cookies but my most popular products are crackers for children’s parties – my happiest customers!
I tested the recipe many times until I got it right – I did not care to just make cool stuff, it had to be really tasty! So sometimes I’m a little disappointed when I hear “it was so beautiful that I felt bad to eat it.” Whoever tries them approves of the taste!
For now, I do not dream about of a shop nor of expanding the business, for lack of time. Working full time and with a 3 year old daughter, I can only make the orders after I put her to bed. But “who runs for fun never gets tired”.
Prospects for the future? I wanted to start organizing workshops for children. I haven’t started yet, because I haven’t got a space. For now, I’m playing with the idea of ??doing these workshops at home in children’s parties. I already have a name for it: “Let’s cookie.”
If you live in Portugal you can have any of these and some more, just contact Rita on the details below. If you don’t but would still like to be updated on the sweet things she will be making, just click on “like” here.
If you have a passion or a business you would like to see showcased here just drop me a line on the comment box and we will talk! xx