Meet our guest of the month, Begum Jariyawiriya from The Lollipop Studio.
- Tell us a little about yourself. After getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Culinary Arts in Istanbul, I continued my career in America, and got my second bachelor’s degree from Johnson and Wales University. Shortly after I focused on my professional training in prestigious restaurants and 5-star hotels from Miami to Istanbul and specialized in Japanese cuisine. In 2013 I took a leap into the academic field as a chef instructor. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Communications, and happily married to my better half and raising a miracle with him while making lollipops 🙂
- When did you have the ‘aha’ moment that lollipops were going to be your thing? As I was waiting for my green card to arrive, I was at home all day everyday. First couple of months it was so much fun but then it started to get really boring, because right before we moved back to Miami I was working 7 days, 5 days at the college and on the weekends I had my own cooking show on the Food Network/Turkey. So I started to look for opportunities that I can work from home and I discovered Etsy. At first I was making cute meringues and macaroons. But they were to delicate to ship. I was working hours upon hours just for one batch and then clients were sending me the crushed images 😦 A this point, I started to look for new ideas and I came up with the lollipops. It was so much fun to make and they were durable 🥳🥳 Luckily, there weren’t many people on Etsy that concentrate on my style of lollipops and it caught people’s attention right away.
- What has been your biggest hurdle thus far? My biggest hurdle was to learn to work from home with a toddler. Before I pour the sugar into the molds until it reaches 175F. One tiny mistake, may leave a life time of regrets. But luckily I worked long enough in kitchens and one of the biggest experience that I gained was multitasking. I set up that system in our kitchen, it’s only been a year now since we established the lollipop studio and we are producing approximately 1,000 lollipops in a week from our kitchen and for that reason I call our home as the sweetest home in Miami!
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Through Etsy our lollipops almost reached each and every state in America. Now my dream is to do the same thing with the lollipop stores. We are planning to open the first one in Miami this holiday season and hopefully in 5 years we will be franchising our brand.
- What has been your proudest achievement with your business? Besides the cute lollipops we also work with companies and taking bulk orders for their custom-made logo lollipops. Working with really big companies and seeing my lollipops on their websites for their campaigns just makes my heart beat faster and makes me feel closer to my dreams.
- What excites you? Seeing the people’s reaction when they first look at the lollipops. One of the most frequent thing that I hear is “they are too cute to eat” and “are they edible?” 🙂 These two comments still makes me so excited.
- What do you do in your down time? As a toddler mom, of course I don’t have much spare time. But when I do I read! Nothing related to cooking or baking or candies; mostly books about consciousness and well being. It really helps me to get rid of the stress and concentrate on my family and work at the same time. And for the past couple of years I have been enjoying the virtual meetings with my close friends back home in Istanbul.
- Where do you find your inspiration for your lollipops? I think the biggest inspiration are the cartoons that my son watches. I can closely observe all the characters. I also have to admit that just for the work sometimes I might force him to watch girly cartoons, lol, like the little mermaid. Then I make a collage from the elements that I like the most.
- Which is your favorite design? See the link of my favorite lollipop. But then last year, after loosing my brother to cancer, the most special lollipop became the Disney’s Coco inspired lollipops.