Something a little different today. I’m interviewing Margaret Faasen, the amazing pastry chef and owner of Nectar & Spice.
If you don’t know, Nectar & Spice is an artisanal sweet boutique specialising in baked pastries, cakes and decorated sugar cookies. She’s created cookies for me for Harper’s first birthday, Christmas cookies, teacher gifts, and my cousin’s baby shower cookies. Not only are they little works of art, they taste amazing as well. Read more to learn about Margaret and Nectar & Spice.
Tell us more about yourself and what you do?
I like to think of myself as a creative problem solver. I love having to analyse a problem from different angles and figuring out the best solution. I also love working with colours, textures and patterns and creating something that is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. These elements all come into play with running a business like Nectar & Spice.
Nectar & Spice is a boutique bakery specialising in decorated sugar cookies but we also do cakes, tarts, cupcakes, brownies and many other treats and soon also events. We get to create, decorate, bake and design all while still being focused on exceptional service and amazing flavours – practical and beautiful!
Why did you start “Nectar & Spice”?
I’ve always known that I would like to be a business owner and that whatever type of business it will be it would have to challenge me both creatively and analytically as I fear stagnation.
On the other hand, I’ve been baking with my mom and gran since an early age and really enjoyed the process of creating something out of simple ingredients and seeing the enjoyment others get from eating these creations.
Nectar & Spice combined these two interests of mine.
What did you study – was it in the baking field or was it something completely different?
I have a Bachelor degree from Tuks in Consumer Science with specialization in Interior Merchandise Retail Management (interior designing being my other passion) and a Diploma in Pastry.
What was your first job and how did you progress to this?
My first job was working as an Au Pair. I just finished my degree but realised that I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. I worked for a family for a couple of years while deciding what it was that I really would like to do with my life. I did my Diploma in Pastry and got the opportunity to move to Cape Town with my husband. Here I got a job as Head Chef at a small restaurant in Stellenbosch which I really enjoyed, but I felt undervalued and underappreciated. I decided to re-direct my dedication towards building my own business and Nectar & Spice was born.
What have been the highlights of starting your own business?
The constant, unfaltering support from my husband telling me each day how proud he is of me.
The amazing, positive feedback and encouragement I get from my family and complete strangers wanting to support me and what I do.
Seeing my business grow and being able to employ others.
What’s the best part of your job?
Getting to try new and interesting ideas.
Seeing a client’s face when they receive their cookies/cake
What is the most challenging part?
Knowing when to push and when to hold back.
Not having any guarantees.
What is your dream for Nectar & Spice?
To grow to be a household name in the Western Cape and known for exceptional service.
To create a space where people can celebrate the special moments in life.
Any tips for people wanting to take the leap and start their own business?
Be prepared to work long and hard with the pay-off often in the distant future. But be sure, if you keep at it and deliver consistent good service, it will pay off.
Please show me how the hell you make your cookies so incredibly perfect? Do you give lessons?
I do give lessons! The first class will be in our new venue for Easter. This class is already fully booked but I will be hosting one for Mother’s Day too.
Ultimately the trick is practice, practice, practice…
If you’d like to order anything from Margaret, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. She can make almost anything in the shape of a cookie.
Margaret has kindly agreed to do a giveaway of one of her Easter hamper boxes. Winning is easy, just follow these steps.
- Follow Nectar & Spice on Instagram here
- Follow me on Instagram here
- Comment below and tell me which of Nectar & Spice’s cookies you like the most.
- For an extra entry, tag a friend on the Instagram post who’d love to win this Easter hamper (one tag + one entry)
- Giveaway closes on 16 April. The winner will be randomly selected and announced after 7pm that day.
- You’ll get an extra entry for sharing to your Insta-stories and tagging me.
IMPORTANT NOTE – only open to Cape Town peeps and the winner must be able to collect their prize at Nectar & Spice’s store in Bellville on 18 April before 5pm.
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