Alien's Day Out

One step forward~

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A few posts ago I hinted that I had an update to share~ Well I think I’ve made you guys wait long enough, so here goes~

As you guys probably already know, for the past 2 years or so, I’ve been selling baked goods online. It all started out with me selling vegan thin mint cookies through this blog, and then in the fall of 2011, I set up a separate website and got a business license etc, and it became legit! Since then, a lot has happened and I’ve had the pleasure of sharing vegan baked goodies with so many wonderful people~ I’m so grateful for all my business partnerships, and also for all my individual customers who have supported and allowed me to follow this baking passion that I never really knew I had.

So with the bake shop slowly but steadily growing, I’ve been feeling that it’s time to move forward and take the next step. I have a friend, Yona, who is also an independent baker (not vegan) and cook, and I’ve mentioned her a few times on this blog. We are both currently working out of our home kitchens, and while this is convenient, it also has many downsides, one of which is not having any separation between work and personal time/space. I never thought I’d say this but I actually miss having a set schedule where I get out of my house and commute to a work location or office, and I also miss having coworkers! There are a ton of other reasons which I won’t bore you with, but anyway, after a lot of talking, Yona and I decided to create a baking studio together!

Starting at the very beginning of this year, we began actively searching for studio space. We checked several locations all over Seoul. Back in February, we actually came super close to contract-signing on one location near Hongdae, only to have it completely fall through. That was a bit of a shock and set back for us, but we picked ourselves back up and continued looking.

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Meetings, conversation, planning~

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And now I have some big news!!! After months of searching and feeling frustration on numerous occasions, we finally found a great little spot in one of the back alleys of Itaewon, and we signed the contract. The space is great for what we want to do, and in a good location. And now construction and renovations will be starting any day now!!!! What?! Yes, I’m totally overwhelmed and quite the ball of stress these days, but I’m super excited too! I wanted to share the news as soon as we found the place, but I was nervous and decided to wait until things were more finalized first.

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Here is the front of our future baking studio– we’ll be on the first floor! :)

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Looks a little dumpy right now, but I promise we’ll do our best to make it as purty and inviting as our limited budget will allow.

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The previous tenants used the space for a tattoo parlour. haha. From tattoos to baked goods, yeah.

So this is really happening. I know some of you thought I was opening a storefront~ Although I would love to do that, we will be focusing on setting up the workspace first. Yona and I have both been dreaming about having a proper commercial kitchen to bake, work on a bunch of recipe-testing, do some food photography, meet customers, and just work together in a bright, creative, professional environment. So that will be our focus for now, and depending on how things go with the studio, perhaps we will set up a small storefront in the future. One thing at a time? :) While this news may not be as huge as you were expecting, even moving into a baking studio will be a huge step forward, and I hope I can manage everything responsibly.

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Phew~! This whole thing is quite overwhelming, especially for someone like me who has limited Korean fluency and business experience. I definitely struggle with fear too, but I’m gradually learning to overcome that. This whole bake shop project has been a total learn-as-you-go experience for me. Still is. Many times I feel out of my depth, but when I get positive feedback from a customer or I see Koreans’ growing interest in vegan baking, that is so gratifying and it makes me want to do even better, work even harder. Just as it is with this blog, the online bakeshop has been a labor of love, and with the support of my readers and customers, it has been able to grow from nothing. *tear* So thank you everyone! :’)

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Imagine all the baking experiments that will take place…!

Anyway, in closing, I’m expecting the next month to be a crazy nail-biter, but it’s also very exciting~ I’ll try to keep everyone posted on the progress, and once the studio space is fully set up and the dust has settled, we’ll invite y’all over. Maybe we can have a veggie event there or something. :) So much room for activities!

So what to you think? Click here to leave a comment and let me know~~ :)

67 Comments

  1. Congratulations! This is wonderful news and there will only be bigger and better things for you to come. :D

  2. congrats mipster/ sounds super exciting/ best wishes from my end :)

  3. What excellent news! CONGRATULATIONS! I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds. If you get overwhelmed, just think of how happy you’ll be when everything is set up and all the prep is done!

  4. Such exciting and great news! :) You have the support of vegans everywhere on your baking journey

  5. SO happy for you! May even more of your dreams come true in this space.

  6. So exciting!!!! Its great that you’ve taken such a big step! I totally get what you mean about the separation of work and home, and having a daily commute/scheduled. It kinda just feels organised and right?
    What kind of design will the studio be like?

    Also don’t feel out of depth or worried! Obviously from you success, you’re loyal customer base and you’re many blog readers, you’re doing very well!!!!!!!

    • Thank you CLON!! :) Yea, my life has been sorely lacking structure for the past two years… been dreaming about this for so long. :) THanks for your support. really. As for the interior design, it will be suuuuper simple and bare-bones because we can’t afford any hip deco. haha But we’ll do our best.

  7. Sounds great! I’m super excited for you!!! Can’t wait til it opens. Good Luck!!!

  8. Woohooo! Congrats Mipa!

    Sounds fabulous! I’m sure all the hard, nail-biting work to come will be totally worth it… and that you’ll get a store front one day too!

  9. Congrats Mipa! Can’t wait to see what comes out of the studio! ^^

  10. BIG CONGRATULATIONS! Great news! Sounds like so much fun as well and I really think you did the right decision to first create your baking space ^^. More vegan wonders will be made :D. Good Luck to both of you on your adventure~

  11. Congratulation Mipa-nim and Yona-nim! One complete package in one place!Must be super duper busy to prepare everything, Keep Fighting for both of you! Seems I have to add one destination to visit when i go to Korea. Have a great weekend!

  12. That’s fantastic news! I love stories of people chasing their dreams and making things happen! Power to you!

  13. Congratulations! I bet you’ll have loads of fun getting set up!

  14. Absolutely amazing! Making huge choices about your futures is always overwhelming and scary but it will be so worth. I’m sad I won’t be in Korea to help support your venture. Congratulations!

  15. Woohoo!!! Congratulations!!! That’s a huge accomplishment!!! I’m so excited for you and Yona! I hope to one day visit your bake shop in Seoul. :)

  16. Sounds like a great foundation for whatever you go on to do. A baking studio sounds AWESOME actually. Cooler than a tattoo studio. ;)

  17. Congrats!! Can’t wait!!!!! I had your desserts at botton market and it was AMAZING!! (cakes, muffins, and of course cupcakes!!) I became your big FAN!! (you know, it is not easy to find vegan desserts in seoul) and I’m working at Itaewon! so I’m soo excited about your baking studio XD! I hope everything will go lucky and hope to see your shop SOON!! I think I have to keep watching your updates so that I can visit your shop haha. anyway, have a good night and again, good luck :)

  18. This is really awesome, congratulations! I’m eager to see the place when it’s all renovated! :D

  19. Congratulations!!!! I truly wish you best of luck and I promise I’ll let all my friends & relatives know about it so they can visit!!! I also want to thank you for spreading the compassion in Korea <3

  20. I’m a long-time lurker, but I just gotta say…. CONGRATULATIONS! One step closer to your dreams. I’m so glad you’re able to do this and just sharing the experience with the rest of us. =]

    Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to visit!

  21. That is awesome, you should def. make it a store front and maybe host the vegan potluck there one month :)

  22. Remember that Kdrama scenario for you that I had set up (you’d hire a young, earnest accountant/fellow baker who wants to expand his vegan skills, and then you guys would gave some qt tymes in the kitchen with flour fights and maybe a flour kiss, only to find out he is actually a chaebol who rebelled from his dad and now his dad wants to buy your business and add it to his conglomerate non-vegan company Pain de Lyon and then you feel betrayed but then you work it out and blah blah happy ending, etc)? Now it’s happening! Now you just need the secret Chaebol vegan baker hehehehe.

  23. wow-wow-wow! This is terrific news. I LOVE that the news is not that you’re opening a storefront (not that it’s a bad idea–not at all!) but that you’re professionalizing what you already do. There are so many people *just* selling things, and it seems limited. Opening a “baking studio” and catering to niches in the baking market (e.g., having a space to meet with clients) is genius and a great foundation if you want to do other things in the future. I see this as building flexibility for the future right now. Congratulations!

    • Hi Lu! Yes, that’s exaaaactly it. Professionalizing what I already do. :) I think opening a bakery right away would be far too much to handle and this gives me more flexibility and room for creativity. I’m excited!

  24. P.S. Classes! ;-) I have a friend in France who has a craft studio–her business is teaching people to do the stuff she specializes in (mosaics) and sell them the supplies for it. Oh! And what about re-selling stuff from the specialty baking market? (I can’t remember where in Seoul it is.) I’ve heard the market is hard for people to find, so maybe you could get in a few things, like molds, cookie cutters, and packaging to sell to people. Sorry, don’t mean to stress you out with more to think about. I’m excited for you, though. :)

  25. I only just recently discovered your blog but wanted to comment and congratulate you! I started my own baking business here in Tennessee, and – wow! It’s hard work! Smart idea to focus on the studio + customer space and then maybe consider the storefront. Wishing you lots of luck for the future and am looking forward to continuing to follow along on your journey!

  26. So cool! Your food always looks amazing when you post pictures! I’ll be visiting Korea in the Fall and I hope to buy some baked goods from you :D Good luck with the store!

  27. Congratulations! waiting for your new store opening!

  28. Congratulations! I can’t wait to see the transformation of your little baking studio. I wish you all the great success you deserve!

  29. Yay! Congrats Mipa :) You worked so hard to deserve this and I am sure everything will go well for you!
    I hope I can possibly stop by to say hello if everything is more progressed in August! (When I arrive in Seoul finally!!)

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  31. Keep fighting! And please do not forget the write in the blog for your foreign friends! :)

  32. Longtime reader – love your blog – just wanted to say Congrats!

  33. Congrats! I’m a mostly silent but now loyal reader who is very excited for you =)
    I’m dreaming about a trip to Asia, including Korea … maybe one day I’ll make it and get to come visit! Until then, good luck with it all, I’m sure you’ll keep doing great! x

  34. congratulations!!! what an exciting news!! i cant wait to visit your studio. will it be opened by November ? i will be in Seoul this autumn for 2 weeks. buzz me if you need some to do the dirty dishes =)

  35. Hey Mipa!
    Congratulations!
    I’m so inspired by this blog post. I wish all the best for you both and look forward to hearing continuing good news! ^^

  36. Congratulations girl! Love your blog. Best wishes to you!

  37. This is great news!! Congratulations!!! It’s so heartwarming and inspiring to see someone working hard to make their dream become reality!

  38. Congratulations! Will you be selling out of your studio as well or will it soley by used as a commercial kitchen?

  39. congratulationsssssss :D

  40. I can’t believe that I haven’t ran in to your blog before. Love this !

    I was really happy to find out about you being a vegan *proud*. I’m only semi vegetarian (eat occasionally hunted animals and chicken on my own limits) and I’ve huge respect for everyone that actually goes to the extremity of being fully vegetarian or as in your case – vegan. I visited Korea a few months ago and actually had quite hard time finding food without any meat in it. Don’t know if it was just me not knowing where to look, but it seems like Korean people eat A LOT of meat, which made me truthfully feel quite uncomfortable because of the huge population and all.

    Here in Finland, where I live, people are starting to pay attention to these things too. Organic meat producing and such is getting more and more popular and farmers are paying a lot more attention to their animals living conditions. It’s so great to see how everything is starting to slowly make progress towards the better. I’m happy to hear that more and more people are getting interested in vegan food in Korea too and are changing their attitude towards nature and it’s animals. Great great great !

    I’ll be following your blog closely in the future ~

    Good luck with everything !

  41. Hi! I’ve been following your blog for over a year now. I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan but all the food you post looks amazing and delicious! I’m going to be moving to Korea in a few months, and I can’t wait to try some of your baked goodies! Best of luck with your studio!! I’m excited for you!! (:

    (p.s. do you have an instagram?)

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