Monday, August 28, 2017


by Roger Pe
Business Mirror
August 27, 2017 issue

 The world must know about Alfred Soriano-Micheau’s story. His is an ingredient for a great book, an inspiring movie to watch, and his creations, so delectable you could hear sweet magical music.

Born and raised in Manila, Alfred was given away when he was a couple of months old because his mom was detained in Philippine Women’s Correctional Institute.

“I graduated with flying colors from Pelaez Elementary School, a public grade school,“ he begins telling his humble beginnings. As a salutatorian, he earned a number of leadership and academic awards from Maceda Integrated School, afterwhich, given a full scholarship to study in De La Salle College of Saint Benilde. He took up Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management and that led him to a bright path.

When he was seven years old, Alfred repacked and sold marshmallows, candies, chocolates and chips. “Growing up from a family with meager income, I knew that I have to help and work to survive while trying to finish my studies,” he relates.

He tutored and helped his classmates with their assignments in return for some money and food. When he was old enough to apply for a professional job, he worked as a call center inbound sales representative for Sprint and Verizon while also finishing his degree in college.

After college, he was given an opportunity to apply for an international internship. “That was a turning point in my life. I flew to the U.S. with a few dollars and loose change given by my family and friends. With full determination to prove my worth and start a better life, I worked at the Grand Hotel, a 5-diamond luxury resort in Mackinac Island, as a front desk agent. I transferred to Ocean Reef Club, a private, luxury and members-only club in Key Largo, Florida after 6 months and got promoted as front desk supervisor and manager on duty. As part of my internship, I transferred to Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C. and worked as a server in Blue Duck Tavern, a Michelin-star casual fine dining restaurant in the nation’s capital.”

On September 2013, Alfred would meet the love of his life and get married. He then decided to move to Charlevoix, Michigan to live with his spouse. A couple of months after, they decided to open a home-based bakery and named it “Cre8tive Cupcake”.

“We initially did small orders from locals and business owners while sponsoring numerous non-profit organizations, clubs and being active in the community.

Alfred and his spouse opened their storefront on April 2017. “I started as a baker and owner. Here, I created a great team to serve locals and thousands of tourists that visit Charlevoix every summer. We then realized the big potential of our business in the wedding industry and started to penetrate the market. After a year and a half, and with over 200 weddings, satisfied couples, clients, customers and blessing from other business owners, chefs, mavericks of the food industry, we decided to take the responsibility and named myself as Executive Pastry Chef.”

Alfred patiently waited because he knew the responsibility that came with it, and the hard work that he had to go through to take the position.

What made him decide to go into cupcake business?Here is a personal interview on how his entrepreneurial streak has given him much excitement and life-changing opportunities.

ASM: “Even when I was young, I always have that love and passion for cakes and desserts. However, I know that I cannot afford to study culinary arts even with my full scholarship because of the trips, projects and exposures that they do. I remember peeping and watching culinary arts students during their “BAKIPA2” classes while making cakes and pastries. I also watched them a couple of times practicing for competitions. I was so amazed by their talents and eye for details.

Growing up, I didn’t experience getting big cakes or even a cupcake on most of my birthdays. It wasn’t a big deal at all. I always look back on those days that I wished I had a chance to blow a candle on top of a cake for my birthday. I believe a cupcake is more affordable than a big cake. Most people can buy it. Stick a candle on top of it and make a celebration extra special.”

“Cupcakes are handy, a finger food that there is no certain rule on how to eat it. With this generation, everyone has his own food preference. Some people like Vanilla, Chocolate, Red Velvet, Carrot, Peanut Butter, some wants it gluten free, nut free, vegan and organic,” he says.

Cupcakes are also personal. Every single cupcake that I make is made with love, hand-piped to perfection and well presented. It is something that one can personally devour or be shared to the ones they love.”

Did you make a market study before you went into this business?

“I learned in college the importance of market study and its positive effect to any business. We absolutely did it before we decided to open the storefront with a little twist.

Instead of doing a traditional market research, we did it by sponsoring events, organizations, non-profit clubs and donating to the community. We also did some random door-to-door and delivered for the community for their feedbacks. Before we know it, people were ordering every week, asking us to consider opening a storefront and providing us with help and tons of positive comments.

Today, “Cre8tive Cupcake” is a well-known brand in Northern Michigan. Not only serving locals but also hundreds of thousands tourists that visit our amazing town. I believe that it is a successful brand, a great product, amazing business model, and a big part of the wedding industry in this part of the world.

We were featured in numerous locals and US based magazines and newspapers for our products and business. We served over 400 brides to date and extremely thankful for the success and opportunity to have such an amazing support and love from our locals and tourists.”

What kind of cupcakes do you make? What’s so special about them?

“We proudly serve baked-fresh cupcakes everyday. We usually come to the bakeshop at 5am to bake our cupcakes that are made from scratch using the finest quality ingredients.

We use Madagascar Vanilla Bean, fresh and organic eggs, 100% Butter, we do not use shortening on any of our creams, we also use 100% Dark Chocolate from Belgium, our jams and fillings are all made from scratch on our kitchen. We also do not serve frozen cupcakes and cakes. We know how important for our clients to taste nothing but the best on the cupcake that they are eating. In our bakeshop, we all believe that we are only as good as our last performance so we have to give our best on every product that we make.

We have two Signature cupcakes, Death by Chocolate, which is a decadent dark chocolate cupcake with Fluffy Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, Semi Sweet and Sweet Chocolate Chips, Chocolate Sprinkles, Chocolate Malt Ball and Chocolate Ganache (seven different brands and flavors of chocolate).

My personal favorite and one of our best sellers is our Strawberry Shortcake. It is a Madagascar Vanilla Bean Cupcake filled with Home Made Strawberry jam and topped with Light Strawberry Infused Home Made Whipped Cream.

The other special and really a big hit for the kids is our build your own cupcake, wherein we let kids and kids at heart to frost and decorate their cupcakes.

What market segment buys your product?

I would say majority of our clients are women, families with kids and the youth. I honestly think that cupcakes target every one. No matter what your race, gender, age or income. It is for everyone. For someone who is celebrating a birthday, to a person who wants to surprise a loved one, to family who want to treat the kids something sweet and to men who wanted a quick sweet fix.

I have found that our storefront attracts the market and the people we want to come in. When we had a crazier, feminine and bright colored paints, a lot of kids came in as they like the ambience. When we toned it down and added some rustic touch, more cozy and relaxing atmosphere, we attracted even the male clients.

How do you market them and create awareness?

I believe that we have a very unique and creative way of marketing our products. One of which is sponsoring and donating to events, joining non-profit organizations, and providing complimentary cupcakes during special local open houses. On top of which, we are very active with our social media. We have a great and informative website ( On top of that we also have a really interactive facebook and Instagram where we post our latest creations and update about the business and our community.

Our clients also find us from different venues as a preferred service provider and also being promoted by different restaurant and businesses.

And most importantly we have a really good reputation so the most powerful marketing tool for us is the word of mouth and recommendations from our previous and current clients. We pride ourselves on not only providing great tasting and aesthetically looking products but also exceeding our guest’s expectations with out service and promptness.

What’s your marketing style?

We are very flexible with our style. Varying from loud, colorful and cheery to attract the youth. I even once wore a pink tuxedo and pink top hat to promote our business and once wore a prince suit to an event. We also have a subtle, relax and soft approach to attract men.

And for our brides, we have several sophisticated ways of promoting and advertising to them. With cupcakes and cakes that we serve, we can be quirky, crazy, fun, elegant, classy, refine, high end and extravagant. But what we are always proud about is our sincere service in creating delectable products.

How do you keep up with the best in your own product category?

I practice every day. After decorating cupcakes in the morning, emailing our brides and following up with orders, I always make a time to watch youtube videos. Search the newest trend in cupcakes, cakes and wedding designs and flavors and not settle for less.

Do you follow trends or you make your own product?

I get inspiration for some of the newest trends and use it to better our existing products. Sometimes a lot of change can hurt the business especially with food. I always keep everything simple and at the same time add couple of flavors here and there so our tourists and locals can try them. 
 We have 15-20 flavors that are signature and what we serve daily and we have specials to give a little twist to our foodies and food adventure seekers.

If you are going to advertise your product what would your unique selling proposition be and why do you think your target market should buy them?

The strongest selling point of our products: They are baked fresh on the day of the pick up. No matter how early or late the pick up will be, we guarantee that it is fresh and we only use the freshest and best ingredients available. We do not cut down on our ingredients even if the prices go up and down. We use the same and do not settle for less. Every bite you will feel and taste the difference and the love that we put on our cupcakes. It is absolutely worth every penny.