Today we’d like to introduce you to Michelle Sohan.
It’s an honor to speak with you today. Why don’t you give us some details about you and your story. How did you get to where you are today?
My name is Michelle Sohan, I started my own business, a bakery Bakery Treatz,19 years ago. I recently moved to Montego Bay,Jamaica, And opened another, Treatz Bakehouse. I am a self taught cake designer, I actually hated the kitchen growing up, and my two sisters were the cooks and bakers, I made up beds and vacuumed! I was doing my masters in food science at our local university, and working part time to pay fir my studies, and I had an accident at the factory, I had to stop work for a while, as I damaged my neck and my hand. We had a bake sale at university and my little sister made the cakes, everyone came back asking if I took orders, and I said yes, and that’s how it all started! At the time, there was no such thing as YouTube and much google, in fact, internet was new to the island, and I just got dial up! I used to go to the bookstore, there were only about 3 cake books with pictures, and I would copy the recipes and look at the pictures to recreate them, then hide the books on the shelves until I eventually had the money to buy them. After about a year, my big sister encouraged me to open a bakery in our neighborhood as there was a need. My dad mortgaged the house without my mom knowing, and Bakery Treatz was born!
I’m sure your success has not come easily. What challenges have you had to overcome along the way?
I was not taken seriously as a female in the bakery industry as it was make oriented, in fact, and I literally had people tell me little girl, you’ll fail. I even caught one bakery owner paying my baker to spoil the breads, as he thought I would steal his market! But I’ve used all the negative energies to work harder, grow my skills, and as soon as I started making enough money to travel, I started going to cane shows in the US. In 2007, we got Cake Boss on cablevtv, and everyone was coming in to ask if I could do cakes falling down, moving, with lights etc, and of course I said yes! I started networking at the shows I attended, and doing classes, and soon my work was recognized by Satin Ice, the number 1 fondant producer in America. They invited me to a meeting, and offered me to be one of their Artists of Excellence, this is a groups comprising cake artists from around the works they consider to be the best, and I was the first and still, the only person in the Caribbean to be included! I did my first competition in Virginia at the National Capital Cake Show in 2014,won, then other competitions until I competed in the largest, Cake Designers World Championships in Milan Italy in 2017! Again, I was the first Caribbean to compete, I won Best Tasting Cake in the World amongst the 19 competitors from 5 continents. ????????
Let’s talk about the work you do. What do you specialize in and why should someone work with you over the competition?
I use my artistic talents to create very unique and beautiful cakes, I’m especially known for my wedding cakes, I’ve done hundreds over the years, from very small to huge 7feet high masterpieces! I’ve actually travelled with cakes to several islands and south Florida. I’m known for creating magical pieces, so many of my clients would leave it up to me to design and surprise them after our consults. I live and breathe cakes, everything inspires me, I just love being in my space, music on, and connecting with my higher guides to inspire me. I’ve never settled for just what a customer pays for. I always go the extra mile to create what I envision, and it’s never about the profit, yes, it’s important to run a successful business, but my first priority is to create a wow cake! In 2018, I was nominated and won Caribbean Cake and Pastry Artist of the Caribbean at the Caribbean Awards in Montego Bay, and from there, I decided to pursue moving to Jamaica, as they had the largest destination wedding market, so I spent 2019 researching, and finally got a space in February 2020. I have seen people comein the industry over the years, because they think it’s easy money,when they realize how much sacrifice you have to make, they short change clients or quit! There’s no holidays or weekends with friends abd family, that’s when your clients need you to make their cakes, desserts! It’s a lot of personal sacrifice
What’s your best piece of advice for readers who desire to find success in their life?
It’s not going to be overnight, and if you want to be the best in your field, spend the time to perfect your skills and not get distracted by what others are doing, we are all unique, and should always strive to raise our own bar and just never give up on your dreams. When I found the space in montego bay that I envisioned to be ideal for the new bakery in February 2020, I excitedly went back to trinidad to organize, but Covid was happening, and by the next month, airports were shut down. After a few months, we decided this was going to be for a long time, and hired a project manager in the island to build out as we already had the drawings. He expected to complete buildout in September and I wound apply for exemption to travel then. But the universe had another plan, as I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August, and had to apply for exemption to go to Tampa to have surgery and treatment fir the next few months! It was a shock as neither side of my parents families ever had cancer! When I returned to trinidad the following January, 2021, I had to under therapy as I had a frozen right shoulder from the surgery, I started getting movement back in March. At the end of April, I was hit by a car tgat list control, and my left collar bone was broken.
Speaking of success, what does the word mean to you?
Success means seeing the smile on my clients faces when they pick up their cakes or the messages after the event of how much everyone enjoyed what I made
What’s next for you?
I would love to share my story to I source others, as people just think of the end result, not the journey, and give up too easily. Life’s journey is not smooth, in fact, that’ll be pretty boring if it was! So in everything that we encounter, we must look for the positive, and come out a better person! I’ve had so many reasons to give up, but that was never an option. We grew up poor, and my mom promised she would do her best to get us our education, which she did, as my dad was manic depressive. So I think that fueled me and my sisters to becoming successful
In our own fields.
I am hoping to build my brand to be recognized worldwide, starting here now in Jamaica, to be the number one cake artist recommended by the event planners who want the very best for their clients,and to have a perfect execution of their events. Not just recommending family and friends because they get a cut. I just want to do what I love, and in the process create lasting memories for so many, as I’ve done in the last 19 years!
Finally, how can people connect with you if they want to learn more?
I’m on Instagram @weddingsbytreatz (main focus) and also @treatzjamaica, @bakerytreatz
My what’s app is 868-684-6182
My phone contact is 876-404-8016
My reviews can be seen under search Bakery Treatz in weddingwire.com and the knot.com