Of Sweet Dreams and Fat Fingers

Sabrina Elane was so stressed out from her day job that she needed an outlet to release her anxiety and frustration. In 2010, she was in accounts management at an events company, and her days were long and grueling. It was around that time that she discovered a delicious-tasting macaron. The macaron left such an impression on her that was inspired to make one, even though she didn't have any background in baking whatsoever!

For the next two years, on weekends, she worked at perfecting her fascination for this sweet concoction. She not only attended a workshop on making macarons, she read a couple of books, too.

It seems pretty easy, making these macarons. Make a meringue, add onto an almond flour mixture, and then prop it up with filling. However, it is the very simplicity of its recipe which makes perfecting a macaron quite complicated. In fact, it took Sabrina two years worth of weekend baking and countless samples rejected before she was finally satisfied.

When the company she was employed in decided to shift towards another direction, Sabrina decided to jump ship and start her own business. Her macarons, which she marketed under the Fat Fingers brand, debuted at a school bazaar in December 2013. They were sold out.

From thereon, there was no stopping Sabrina and Fat Fingers.

Why Fat Fingers? Because it takes Sabrina some time to send text messages, her friends teased her that she must have fat fingers. The monicker stuck, and has proved to be a lucky talisman for her, of sorts.

At first, she focused on the basics like chocolate and vanilla, which she could easily mix and match with other flavors like strawberry or green tea. Her macarons were exclusively available online, through Facebook and Instagram. Slowly but surely, fans of this sweet confection found her. Moms discovered her, and asked her to make treats for their children's birthday parties. She got orders for macarons shaped like farm animals, macarons with pink pineapples, and macarons ala unicorns.

She says, “I am not at all creative so it was surprising that I was able to make them!”

These days, Sabrina is doing brisk business. Working from her home office, she has enlisted the services of a baking assistant and a kitchen assistant to help fill her orders. Apart from making favors for birthday parties and other special occasions, she also supplies the macarons for Todd English.

At 32 years old, Sabrina is happy to be running her own business. She likes it that her time is in her hands, leaving her to care for her grandmother and explore new destinations whenever she can.

When you work hard, she says, you'll see the rewards immediately. Plus, she says, “If you find something you're passionate about, you won't feel that you're working!”

Running a business though is not so easy peasy. Young entrepreneurs maybe attractive to the seeming glamour of it (“It's nice to work on branding.”), but it takes a lot of hard work to jumpstart an enterprise. It took Sabrina a week, for example, to make 300 macarons for her first bazaar.

She says, “You have to persistent to achieve any level of success. You have to stay on your toes.”

And certainly, Sabrina has been all over her toes and more for her Fat Fingers!

Discover Fat Fingers on Instagram @fatfingersph