Sonja’s Cupcakes first store opened September 8, 2006. What initially started out as nothing but a fun idea, has now developed into one of the top cupcake pioneers in Metro Manila. They were among the first (if not the first) to capitalize on the local cupcake market”s potential, they even started the Red Velvet trend that”s still alive and kicking to this day. Now, after a little more than five years, Cupcakes by Sonja is branching out with a new store at Glorietta 2 in Makati.
We interviewed Sonja herself to shed light on the store”s early days and to find out what prompted her to now expand and revamp the brand.
“I was in New York, and I saw how popular cupcakes were. I just thought that it would be something really fun to do. I then spent the next few months checking out as many cupcake places as I possibly could, and just immersing myself in the whole cupcake culture. Serendra was the first spot offered to me. I was really lucky,” Sonja recalls.
“We opened with 8 flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Carrot, Lemon, Peppermint, Red Velvet, PB & J, and Mocha. Vanilla was the most popular one when we opened in Serendra. Red Velvet was supposed to be just a special flavor. A lot of people didn’t really know what it was then, so I had to train my staff to explain it well. Now, there’s no need for any explanation. It’s our best-selling cupcake flavor.”
What made you decide to open a new store in Glorietta?
We’ve been so fortunate to receive a lot of requests from customers to bring the cupcakes to a location closer to them. My employees who have been with me for the past 7 years have been wishing for it to grow as well. I think it’s about time! I also found a great team to help me expand my business.
We noticed that the Glorietta store’s look and feel is very different from the one in Serendra. What theme did this new store center on?
The design of the store in Serendra was really inspired by New York and all the cupcake stores I visited then. It was great at that time, but now it just feels a bit outdated. Plus, New York has evolved so much in the past seven years. We refreshed and updated the look of the Glorietta store, made it a little bit more grown-up. It’s still nostalgic, but it’s more current at the same time. We were very careful to retain the elements that online casino made the original store special (chalkboards, etc), we just simplified it a bit.
It now has more of an industrial vibe, partnered with a sustainable style. We were really drawn to native, recycled, and repurposed materials, so we used upcycled elements such as salvaged wood, antique bricks, and corrugated container metal sheets. And then we mixed it up with some DIY accents to add some kitsch. I worked with my old interior designer for this, and she’s really great at putting all the elements together.
Please tell us about your unique centerpieces and installations! We love how they’re made from kitchen utensils. Who designed these fixtures?
I just researched and found all these creative ways on how to upcycle kitchen and baking tools. It was really fun to conceptualize, and turn them into playful statement pieces!
Since the Glorietta store is right in the middle of heavy foot traffic, what message did you want to convey to potential customers passing by?
Slow down, treat yourself to a cupcake. You deserve it.
What made you decide to change your logo and branding?
The new logo is part of keeping the brand fresh and dynamic. We wanted a logo that would reflect the direction of where we wanted to take the brand, while still embracing the vintage feel that the store has been known for.
Sonja tells us that we can expect more stores, more flavors, and more product offerings. “We are also growing our customized cake business. Also, we are expanding our beverage line. We’ll be doing a lot of cupcake and drink pairings.”
Sounds fantastic to us. We can hardly wait.