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In Sunny’s kitchen, an old, beaten toaster oven sits on the floor. It’s the first oven she had with her in Hangzhou - only capable of baking 8 cupcakes at a time. 8 cupcakes were enough though, since she only baked to share with friends. Now, several months later, the Dutch native’s new business Sunny’s Homemade Cupcakes has sold over 5,000 cupcakes, has almost 150 regular customers, and has since upgraded to a 50-cupcake oven.

“That it would have had this effect, no one would have guessed,” Sunny said. “I mean, if you had told me a year ago that I would be selling cupcakes in Hangzhou, I would have said you were crazy. I baked for friends and family, one day decided to sell them...and here we are!”

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Sunny making her cupcakes at the Chili Fest

Sunny moved to Hangzhou to be with her husband, Emmauel, who she says is a big reason for her cupcake business’s success. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she worked as an au pair, a cheese shop employee, and an English teacher in large cities like Beijing, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

“I’m not a professional,” she said. “I didn’t go to school to learn how to bake. I just learned from my mother, my grandmother, her mother, and so on. I can’t even remember the first time I made a cupcake. Teeny tiny I must have been!”

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According to Sunny, Taobao has been a life-saver for bringing her family’s recipes to life. She spent three months experimenting with ingredients to find that taste of home.

“I baked every day in the beginning,” she said. “That’s just me. When I have an idea, I have to get it just right. I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t want to grow up having wished I tried something when I had the chance.”

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Because seeing happy faces like this is totally worth it

Sunny is looking to hold master classes and kid’s cupcake classes, making for a very full schedule. But none of this bothers Sunny.

“Going full in with cupcakes -- it’s scary! And I sometimes have an 18 hour work day, running around with deliveries and cooking and all that,” Sunny said. “But, I don’t have a problem with that. This is my passion. I think turning your hobby into your job is the most fascinating thing there is, and how much that can do to your personality and your private life, it’s extraordinary.”

And why cupcakes, you might ask?

“Who doesn’t love cupcakes?” she said. “It’s just happiness in a little cup. It doesn’t get better than this.”

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To learn more about Sunny’s Homemade Cupcakes, scan her QR code below:

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Categories: Hangzhou Snapshot, Life, Stories

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