Dessert business was sweet relief from pain for Anesah Bechan

It has been a painful but rewarding journey for Anesah Bechan, whose business, Sweetsnax By Anesah, which specialises in making delectable desserts, will celebrate its first anniversary in June.

Sweetsnax By Anesah, Bechan said, came about in response to one of the toughest periods in her life. In March last year, Anesah had an operation on one of her kidneys. She had a kidney stone and laser surgery was done to get rid of it, but the partially crushed stone moved from her kidney and got stuck in one of her ureters, which transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder. She then required a different kind of surgery and went to another private hospital. Her ureter was repaired using part of her bladder and she now has to empty it more often as it is smaller.

The two operations resulted in her and her husband Ryan Roy going through all of their savings as well as receiving financial assistance from her parents. While recuperating from her second surgery, Anesah said, she lay in bed and tried to come up with an idea to earn another income. Prior to her surgeries, she was already operating a small business called Cosmetic Trends, but business was slow since makeup is not considered to be an essential good.

She had spent time previously baking with her sister and her cheesecake-in-a-jar desserts was popular with her family. Though she already had basic knowledge about baking and decorating cakes, Anesah decided to do an advanced cake course and then opened her business. As time went by, she added new desserts.

One of her most popular desserts among customers is her Oreo cookies n’ cream cheesecake. She also does a veggie cheesecake. Her husband’s favourite is the passionfruit cheesecake and whenever he is heading into the interior for work, she always packs him one to share with friends.

Anesah, who hails from Mahaica, moved to Vreed-en-Hoop, West Coast Demerara to live and operates her business there. Though she lives a long way from where she grew up, she still provides desserts to people living in Mahaica. She also has customers from Parika, along the East Coast Demerara, East Bank Demerara, West Coast Demerara and West Bank Demerara. Business has been good, she said, so that together with her savings and her husband’s, they have been able to purchase a vehicle which helps when she has to make deliveries to customers instead of her having to use a taxi. Whenever her husband is home, he drives her around.

Before she opened Sweetsnax By Anesah, she was worried about the risks involved and whether it would be successful. But just this week, Anesah has filling orders placed for this Easter weekend. Unlike the traditional hot cross buns, orders were placed for her Easter themed donuts and cheesecakes, among other desserts.

Last weekend for the Phagwah holiday, she was on her feet all the time making sweetmeats. She recalled that she had to make 300 Gulab Jamun. Many of her orders came from customers in Mahaica.

On most occasions, she does all the baking, filling and decorating of her desserts on her own. The largest event she has catered for to date was one where she was tasked with making the main course, appetizers and desserts, most of which she did on her own and was happy with the little help she received from her mother-in-law.

It is not easy being on her feet all day baking and decorating. After standing for long periods, Anesah gets back pain owing to her previous illness and surgery. Whenever this happens, she has to lie down. Taking showers and painkillers also help to get her back on her feet. In most cases with her husband away in the interior, she has no one else to rely on.

In addition, they have a two-year-old son, Vihaan and Anesah cares for him while taking and filing orders for both Cosmetic Trends and Sweetsnax By Anesah and also keeping house. Prior to the birth of their son, she worked as a lab technician and phlebotomist at a local hospital.

“Sometimes I feel like I can’t do it anymore because I can’t focus anymore. [Several nights ago] I was making a cake and the rain started falling and where I did my surgery started hurting me. Often, I think why come this far and then give up,” Anesah said.

“I have a husband who works so hard, and I don’t want to work forever plus I have a son to make a better future for. So, I have to keep doing what I can so that someday, it’ll be easier for us [we] will not have to work this hard in the years ahead.”

At present, Anesah is learning some new desserts, like donut twists and pizza donuts. She is also working on offering a wider variety of toppings. While most of her ingredients are purchased locally, Anesah imports her toppings. For orders or to see more of Anesah’s desserts, check her out on Facebook at Sweetsnax By Anesah or Anesah Bechan and on Instagram @SweetsnaxByAnesah. She can also be reached through her other business on Facebook at Cosmetic Trends.