How This Teen’s Pandemic Boredom Buster Became a Family Business

As a high school freshman in 2020, Kei needed to do something to survive the boredom of lockdown. She loved baking, so with the help of her mom, Bhel, the 14-year-old started making ube bread from scratch. What was simply an outlet for Kei’s extra energy became a cottage bakery business overnight.

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With just one social media post of the pretty purple ube cheese pandesal, the orders started rolling in. Kei and Bhel made the first bread deliveries the very next day, and with that, Kei’s Specialties was officially in business. From there, word quickly spread among friends, family, and neighbors. Soon, the duo was overwhelmed with texts asking about the bread. The single oven in their home kitchen could hardly keep up with the demand.

ube cheese pandesal

A Family Baking Affair

Luckily, things quickly fell into place. Kei’s father, Arman, who has 36 years of experience in the food industry as a chef and Food Nutrition & Services supervisor in hospitality, saw the potential for the business to grow. So he lent his chef expertise to the mom-and-daughter bakery to help with production. With his guidance, the family was able to modify their kitchen for smoother, more efficient production. Soon it became all hands on deck, and Kei’s brother Zak also joined in to help with prep and clean-up.

Like many Airmart merchants, Kei’s Specialties found success and an entrepreneur community in local Facebook groups. The NorCal Kababayan Community Group introduced the home bakery to a world of customers and fellow merchants. This Facebook group was also where the family first discovered the Airmart platform.

Bhel loves how Airmart helps her specify locations, dates, and availability without back-and-forth communication with customers. “The platform speeds up the process of taking orders and arranging pickups.”

ube madeleines

Although Kei’s Specialties is now a registered business, it is still very much a micro bakery. The family’s homemade Filipino pastries are always made to order and never mass-produced. “We get all orders out as soon as possible. Some customers even get their bread hot from the oven.”

As the business has grown, the family has narrowed down the menu to include only their best-selling items: the special ube cheese pandesal, milky cheese rolls, ensaymadas, and ube madeleines. In addition to individual items, Kei’s Specialties also sells an assortment with their beautiful bread platters, which make perfect gifts and treats for meetings.

Customers can pre-order the pastries on Airmart for pick up at regularly scheduled meet-ups and events in San Francisco, Concord, Pittsburg, Antioch, Union City, Hayward, Dublin, Daly City, Millbrae, and Hercules, CA.

Filipino bread platter