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Baking the Community a Better Place

Mak+and+Lim+in+front+of+their+booth+proudly+displaying+their+creations.+Used+with+permission+from+Zoey+Lim
Mak and Lim in front of their booth proudly displaying their creations. Used with permission from Zoey Lim

After struggling to get their new business Peppermint and Zo off the ground, juniors Sophie Mak and Zoey Lim were disappointed by their initial lack of success. In their efforts to find an answer for the lack of demand, the pair concluded that the issue was a lack of social media advertising. Despite a rough start, Mak and Lim were able to overcome the challenging workload of school and business while also giving back to the community. 

First meeting in a math class in their freshman years, Mak and Lim quickly bonded over their shared enthusiasm for baking. Within a week, the pair decided to bake a roll cake together and brought it to school. Peppermint and Zo soon became an avenue for both to indulge in their passions for baking goods. Beginning an Instagram account and using an online order model to conduct sales, they soon found it more effective and impactful to make sales in person.

 The pair focuses on creating baked goods with an Asian twist — for instance, they make traditional Asian baked goods but with unconventional recipes. The pair bakes at Mak’s home once a month, working on a strict timer to meet demand and to bring their menu to life. To ensure customers receive a unique and diverse assortment of food, the pair decided to experiment with the menu seasonally, altering it to suit the different holidays that appear around the time they begin selling. Their menu ranges from roll cakes to marshmallow cookies and even mooncakes. 

“When creating the menu items we don’t have any recipes to follow,” Mak said. “I usually try out the food to see if the menu item is suitable for our customers, and if it doesn’t work, we scrap the item.” 

So far, customer feedback has been largely positive. Customers attribute their enjoyment to the variety of high-quality baked goods present on the menu, and Peppermint and Zo’s cordial and friendly owners. To connect more with the community, Mak and Lim have decided to donate a portion of their monthly sales to a charity organization of their choice. 

Before starting Peppermint and Zo together, Lim volunteered at Animal Assisted Happiness in San Jose, appreciating the opportunity to experience the wonders of caring for different animals. For the past few months, the pair has chosen to work with AAH for their bake sales on the second Sunday of every month. Their table was very popular — they set up at 7:45 am and their goods usually sold out before closing time at 4 p.m.

“We look at things that we see on the news and choose to support issues that we are most passionate about,” Lim said. “However, as of now, we really want to stick to the AAH Farm as we want to make an impact on the farm life in a tangible way. Most recently we donated to the tortoise and pig pens.”

Hoping to donate more to the different animal shelters and to refurbish the worn-out gazebo in the future, Lim and Mak have decided to continue to support AAH with all of their profits.

“I’m really proud of the girls for taking something that they enjoy and turning it in a way that helps others,” AAH president Vicki Haga said. “Zoey and Sophie have become role models for AAH.”

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About the Contributor
Gary Pan, Staffer
(he/him) Gary Pan is a junior and first-year staffer at the Epic! In his free time, he loves listening to music and reading. He particularly enjoys reading French and Russian authors.

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