Melissa Ramakrishnan was ambitious and focused on her career as an associate risk specialist throughout her 10-year stint at Bank Negara.
But the arrival of her son, Ranen Raphael, shifted her priorities, and Melissa decided she needed to be home with him after learning that he had allergies and required special dietary requirements.
“I enjoyed my banking career but I wanted to focus on looking after my son. Plus, my husband was financially stable and we could manage,” says the 37-year-old Melissa who tendered her resignation in 2015.
Soon after that, Melissa began exploring other means of earning an income from home.
“I grew up in a family of many accomplished cooks and bakers. My mother has been my source of inspiration. I started off as her little helper and over the years, I’ve managed to pick up a few family secrets passed down from one generation to another.
“My signature sugee almond recipe was created by my great-grandmother and is over 80 years old,” says Melissa whoset up RR Homemade Cookies & Cakes and RR Ammama Homedelights, specialising in cakes and pickles. “RR” are the initials of her son’s name.
Her signature bakes are orange walnut cake and moist chocolate cake. She is also proud of her garlic salted fish pickle, mango pickle and dried shrimp sambal.
Melissa, who holds a Masters in Business Administration, never planned a run a home business. But her passion for baking has opened up the opportunity for her to earn some income.
Last year, she joined Caring Moms, an online platform for mothers to sell and buy. It opened up a market for Melissa’s offerings, and business flourished for the Seremban-based home baker, with orders even coming from the Klang Valley.
“Business has been great. I’ve turned from a bank employee to baker. I’m slowly learning about being in business, including the challenges. The experiences have made me wiser and stronger,” shares Melissa, who has come up with a business model to market her products.
Instead of treating baking as a hobby, she now has the mindset of running it as a business which generates monthly income.
“My aim is to be a successful home-based entrepreneur who can juggle between raising my son, managing my home while growing my business from the comforts of home.”
Melissa is also fortunate to have the support of her mother, homemaker Stella Bendicta, 67, and her husband, technology consultant Praveen Anthony, 39.
“My husband is a huge supporter when I participate in bazaars. He goes all out to help me with logistics and set-up. My mother is my ultimate back-up; she helps to look after Ranen whenever I am busy with cake orders.”
Between a chance to climb the corporate ladder or being a stay at home mom, Melissa says: “I am able to spend quality time at home while earning a decent income. The time and flexibility to be with Ranen is priceless. The best bit is I can plan my time according to my availability.
“We must be happy with what we do each day. Follow what you are passionate about. Essentially, no one can help you better than yourself. Take a step forward and make a difference. I am a strong believer that women are born to do wonders.”