Bazaar Beginnings (

(This feature was published in last November 13, 2012; photo from Sophie’s Mom)

From small villages to big trade halls, shoppers get a world of choices on gift items, local products, and unique finds at bazaars. Many little discoveries await, provided by business owners who are starting small, testing their wares, and on a mission to entice clientele.

Some of these bazaar businesses do make it beyond the temporary marketplace, gunning for success outside the bazaar world.

Sophie’s Mom: The Taste of Sweet Success

Dessert lovers are abuzz with the decadent mochi creations and baked goodies from Sophie’s Mom, which has a stall in a major mall and a stand-alone bakery and confectionary store in Makati City. But before becoming a full-fledged store owner, Sophie’s Mom creator, Tonette Rosal, had a full-time job at a multinational technology corporation.

She took a short culinary course while on leave from her job and initially sold her homemade treats at the school of her daughters (Stephanie, Samantha, and Sophie, of course) where she got a good response. This prompted her to join other school events and even bigger bazaars, one of which offered enough exposure for her to be discovered by a big-time mall chain. She then decided to take it to the next level and make this a full-time job. Now, she also has her own shop to her name.

In just a short span of time, Rosal was able to transition from homebaker to bakeshop owner. “It took around seven months from our first school fair to our first store opening.” Rosal further shares, “The decision was spurred by the desire to spend more time with my family and open a store near our house so that I would have income.”

It is her mochi that really paved the way for Sophie’s Mom’s success, but there are other confections that have gained popularity as well. The cupcakes, cookies, and bars have become bestsellers, and there’s the latest addition to the menu, cheesecake cookies.

Sophie’s Mom is opening a café at the Fort this November. Rosal reveals, “[It] will be quaint and interesting as we intend to make it as a backdrop for cutesy parties and small events.”

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