In this second episode of Life Counsel, we are interviewing Miss Iven Kawi, who is a wife, a mom-preneur, and the founder of Ivenoven. Ivenoven itself is an artisanal home bakery who has served a multitude of customers, domestically and internationally, since 2014.
With their tagline “Bake With Love”, Ivenoven believes each cake has to be unique, personalized and well thought of, just like each of their clients who is unique and special.
In Ivenoven's baking area.
Hi Iven, we’re excited for this episode so thank you for your time to chat with us. To begin, can you describe what are the roles and responsibilities that you currently have right now?
My current responsibility at Ivenoven is in research and development. Specifically, to re-invent dessert, to create trends, and to produce new products and new flavors.
The kitchen is my comfort zone.. I love mixing flavors, textures and colors, creating and imagining what the taste will be on my palette. At the same time, I also handle cake decoration because I love creating beautiful things.
All in all, simply to make a beautiful-tasty-memorable dish.
Iven is wearing FC x BBB "Walk with Gratitude".
Can you tell us a bit about Ivenoven? How did your business start and what was the motivation behind it?
It started 8 years ago, my daughter was around 3-4 years old and at that time the rainbow cake was so on trend. Every time we went to the mall and saw a rainbow cake, she always asked for one.
I tried those and noticed the taste of artificial flavors, bread improver and so on. So I thought, it would be better if I make my own cake so I know precisely every ingredients that I use.
After I tried baking myself, I shared the result with my friends. One of them immediately asked me to bake a custom birthday cake. She requested me to also add a cake decoration that I wasn’t experienced with. But with confidence, I said yes.. I thought to myself I can figure out and learn how to do it later.
After that, I got good feedback and my friends supported me to start accepting cake orders. Initially, I thought my husband wouldn’t agree, but I told him anyway. I was surprised that my husband challenged me instead. To give context about the challenge, 8 years ago I worked in the make-up, party and wedding industry. My husband said, “Go post your cake photo on your IG account, if the number of likes are higher than your make-up photos, we’ll open an online cake shop.”
The likes on the cake photo did reach a higher number, so finally we started accepting cake and cookie orders. My husband was very supportive of this new venture.. There’s one time when I arrived home from doing a make-up job in Bali, out of nowhere he had prepared a logo, an IG account, photos for Ivenoven.
I started accepting orders from 1 cake per week, 2-3 cakes per week, until I maxed out my capacity which was 4-5 cakes per day. I even got severe back pain for overused muscles. From that day, my husband started to open staff recruitments to help me. I didn’t agree at first because I wanted to handle everything myself. We argued for months and I finally gave in, 5 staff were added and until now we have 17 staff. And the rest is history.
But if we’re talking about motivation, it is always about my family. I started this because of them and for them. That became Ivenoven’s tagline as well : bake with love; to bake as if it is for my own family.
On a side note, my mom was also a baker. I remember every Sunday, my mom used to bake for me and my siblings. That memory was so strong, I can somehow still taste the cake my mom used to make until now.
Just like how my mom showed her love to me through her baking, I want to also share the same love to every customer through my cakes.
Iven teaching and working together with her Ivenoven crew.
"But if we’re talking about motivation, it is always about my family. I started this because of them and for them. That became Ivenoven’s tagline as well : bake with love; to bake as if it is for my own family."
What are the challenges so far on being a mom-preneur and a lady-preneur?
The classic challenge for me is time-management. Sometimes when I am too focused on doing one thing, I forget about other responsibilities, like picking up kids from school, or cooking for my family.
The not-so-classic challenge is the pressure of being an example for my kids. They look up to me as a mom so I should be able to set a good example and good standard for them. I want my kids to have a role model who is strong, able to multitask, independent, productive, and at the same time, can serve the family well.
I don’t want to be a burden for others, instead I want to contribute as much as possible. On top of that, I want to be a woman of faith, who helps and supports my husband and my family.
Iven is piping a flower with buttercream.
What are the most memorable moments of your journey being a wife, a mom, and an entrepreneur?
As a wife, I never imagined my husband would not only be my life partner, but my business partner as well. We were invited to teach at Barcelona, Brazil, Australia, Singapore and other continents we never thought we would ever go to. Those travels gave us opportunity to research many restaurants, try different recipes, observe and experience other taste buds, learn their business models, etc. Those sweet moments and even the not-so-good ones, the laughter and tears that we went through together, they all are so unforgettable.
As a mom, my favorite moment was when I could create birthday cakes according to whatever their requests were. To see their happy faces when receiving cakes made personally by their mom, is very priceless. Nowadays, I make them cakes not only on birthdays, but also on Christmas or Chinese New Year. Those childhood memories that I had, now I’m recreating them for my kids.
As an entrepreneur, I love how through Ivenoven, we can forge many meaningful relationships. We got to know many kind people who helped us along the way, kind customers who became good friends, including Kaleb & Ribka Lucman and Fine Counsel who we met in Bali a few years back. We had a short conversation about a few things including business, but that short time really blessed us. I treasure them all.
Iven is decorating a cake.
“There is no use of reaching the very top but we’re lonely there without any of our beloved ones with us."
What do you want to achieve 10 years from now? What is the ultimate dream for Ivenoven and for your personal life?
10 years from now, I still see myself enjoying creating new desserts and cuisines. Maybe on a different platform perhaps.. I don’t know yet, because the world keeps on evolving. But my ultimate dream will not change.. I want to serve others by creating dishes that people enjoy, to make their cravings satisfied.
Like our tagline “Walk With The Wise”. We believe that we will advance in life if we surround ourselves with the right and wise people. So far in your life, who has been that voice of wisdom to you? And what advice or lessons do you learn most from him/her?
It’s hard for me to name one, because many people have influenced my life journey. But if I have to name one, I can say it’s our pastor Jose Carol. Having dinner with him and his wife 6 years ago changed my life.
My parents were entrepreneurs, so I was taught from little that I have to earn as much as possible, keep as much as possible, pile up riches as much as possible, and don’t ever say no to opportunities.
But Ps. Jose taught us about life margins. He taught us business is not always about more sales and more profits and more earnings, but it’s also about rest. Having a margin is a part of being productive. If I only focus on hustling and producing, Ivenoven as a business will grow, but I will burn out as well. The company will flourish, but our marriage will not. Because all of our energies are fully used up for work, and nothing left for family.
After we understood this principle, our perspective changed. In fact our productivity increased, our sales rose 2-3 times bigger than before, but we still have energy and space for the people we love, we still have margin to prioritize our marriage and family, we still have time to contribute in other people’s lives, we still have time to serve.
Our lives became more meaningful and content. Because we realize, there is no use of reaching the very top but we’re lonely there without any of our loved ones with us.
Wow thanks Iven for your time, your inspirational and heartwarming story. We love Ivenoven and we love you!
Thank you also Fine Counsel for the opportunity to feature me in your blog. I love what you are doing too, keep shining!
If you are interested to know more about Ivenoven Cake, you can go to @ivenoven on Instagram.