We had the good fortune of connecting with Karolina Lara and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Karolina, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?

I’ve always had an entrepreneur soul! I didn’t want to work inside an office, so I knew that I needed to make and sell something in order to fulfill that dream. As a kid, I used to make beaded bracelets and rings and sell them at school. I remember, I would take orders during recess and I have them ready by the following day. My classmates would tell me which colors they wanted and I would take their measurements so that they would fit.

My siblings and I would spend the summers at my grandmas’, so every summer we would go from house to house selling candy with our neighbors (we would end up eating most of them) and it was always fun to walk around the neighborhood trying to persuade people to buy our candy.

What makes me happy? Why?

When I moved to San Francisco, I never thought I would become a business owner. I love being able to work on my own schedule and to have the ability to visit my family more often as I can work remotely with some of my work.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?

My art:

Although I don’t consider myself an artist, I do believe I have a special talent that has led me to where I am right now. I love working with my hands and creating pieces that tell a story.

What sets me apart:

The “less is more belief”, doesn’t apply to cakes, at least when it comes to most of my designs.

What am I proud of or excited about:

I am very excited to see where Pastel will get. I can’t wait for the moment when I can say “I am no longer able to take last minute orders” because I am fully booked on a certain week, month, etc.

How did I get to where I am right now?

During the pandemic, the bakery I worked at had to relocate. I decided it was time for me to go for it. I was absolutely terrified, but at the same time I realized that was the perfect opportunity for me to leave a job I loved dearly and start on my own. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but the reward would be tremendous.

What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

It will never be the right time, you just have to go for it. I sell custom cake toppers online, I wish I would have started earlier but I know that everything happens for a reason.

Some challenges:

Sometimes I feel very isolated because I have no coworkers to lean on, but then I remember I do have a very big support group that knows what I am capable of. It only takes one call from them to cheer me up. Some of my support comes from my mom and my boyfriend.

What do you want the world to know about your brand and story?

I want my customers to know that I love what I do. I always give 100% of myself when I am creating a cake and I don’t stop until I LOVE how it looks.

I also want them to know Pastel is owned and operated by a Latina woman. I wanted my brand to have a little bit of my Mexican heritage which is one reason why I named my bakery Pastel and I try to stick to Mexican flavors.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.

I love food so my itinerary would be focused on food. For breakfast I would definitely take them to HOME coffee. I am in love with all their recipes and the food is great. I believe the brand is owned by a couple. Even though I don’t know a lot about their history, I would love to learn how they initiated it.

For lunch I would take them to Shabu Club on Clement St. Shabu Club is my go-to spot whenever I have anyone in town visiting me. They always fall in love with the place and whenever they are back in town they always ask me to take them back.

And last, but not least ,for dinner I would go to Lily which is also on Clement St. I love the vibe inside the restaurant. I always say no matter how full I am I will ALWAYS have to make space for their chocolate banana dessert. It is so amazing, definitely a must!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?

My mom! I would have never gotten into baking. In the beginning, she used to be the one in charge of baking and then I would take care of the decorating aspect. Now since we live apart we’re not able to work together, but I hope one day I will be able to hire someone else. There’s no doubt I would love for her to be my first official employee.

I am also very thankful for all the knowledge I learned through my previous employer. I will always be very grateful to Alison, she taught me so much and I can honestly say I would not be here if it wasn’t for everything I learned working for her.


Website: https://www.pastelsf.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sfpastel

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/pastel-san-francisco-2

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.