With a background of a successful career working for Australian fashion houses such as Collette Dinnigan and Sass & Bide, Mirjana the owner and baker for Torte by Mirjana in Melbourne, gained an appreciation for the design process and an eye for detail that she now applies to her first love - baking.
All the cakes and delicacies that come from the Torte kitchen are lovingly hand crafted by Mirjana and she uses free range eggs from her own chickens and honey harvested in her mother’s garden. Mirjana spoke to The Anti-Bride about what motivates and inspires her and how she juggles running a business and looking after her young son.
What motivates you to do what you do?
Love! I’m motivated by my love and respect for simple ingredients that not only come together to make a beautiful cake but, most importantly taste delicious! - And the love for creation. There’s a certain kind of magic that happens when I create a bespoke cake that comes from getting to know my clients and their love story.
How long have you been at the helm of your business for?
Almost a year I launched in August 2018, it's gone so quickly!
What is your advice to couples getting married?
Live in the moment as cliché as it sounds - don’t forget what brought you two together to celebrate such a magical day. Do it your way! Don’t be afraid to have elements no matter how unique or traditional they are have them represent you as individuals and your love story. Weddings can get overwhelming no matter what and sometimes you may feel frustrated, anxious or annoyed - and that’s totally fine. It’s also important to pick your vendors well and rely on them when you’re unsure. The majority of the vendors in the industry work together and have the common goal of wanting your day to be flawless. We are here to help, so you can rely on us.
What is your favourite cake and why?
I make all kinds of celebration cakes but wedding cakes are by far my most favourite to make! I’m a dreamer and I love getting caught up in the celebration of love every time and it’s truly an honour to be part of such a special moment in time.
What inspires you?
Music, nature, fashion, architecture, flowers and my couples.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Before I started Torte I wanted to develop recipes and be a food stylist. I would love to still explore recipe development and have a book - that’s definitely my dream!
If you had one legacy, what would you like it to be?
I want to show my son to always let your true self be seen and don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Try many things - even if they don’t work out the way you wanted them to at least you lived in the moment
What is next on the cards for your business?
I am using the winter break to work on new flavours that you will be able to order soon, as well as some fun collaborations with other vendors.
If you could describe your business in 3 words what would it be?
Family, creation, celebration.
If you could describe yourself in 3 words what would it be? Ahh this is tough, can I ask a friend? I am definitely a dreamer and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I'm nostalgic, fiercely loyal and strong.
Do you have kids? If so, how do you balance work/mum or dad life?
I do! I’m a single mum and my gorgeous son is 6 years old he is without a doubt my greatest achievement! and I can definitely tell you the secret! There is NO balance so don’t try and achieve it. There will always be the days or weeks during the summer months of wedding season, where your hands feel so full! Things don’t always feel perfect but, I try to remember when I’m hustling through those times that I’m making an investment in myself and my little family. When you back yourself, there is no limit to what you can do so push through. Rest when you can! Plus Uber Eats haha! It's a running joke when I order Uber Eats - I'm always getting the door in my apron and the delivery driver must wonder what the heck I am actually cooking!!
What did you do previous to owning your business?
I worked in Fashion and studied product development and design. I then became a mum and Torte came about.
What made you change careers?
It really happened by accident I was starting a food blog and doing some short courses around food styling. When I posted recipes or photos I noticed I always did so well with desserts and had many compliments about them. When the opportunity came to make my cousin's wedding cake, I went for it and haven't looked back. In a way I think the universe guided me to Torte.
How do you deal with work stress?
I really do try and use stress as a challenge to perform better! I think I am the worst procrastinator out there, so I bring a lot of my own work stress on - but if it gets too much I normally reach out to family or friends to vent. I put on some favourite tunes and sage the house, read a book take a nap. Really I just do anything that feels right at the time, to distract me from what's causing my mind to stress.
What has been the hardest thing about starting your business?
Learning to be patient! I want to try and achieve so many things and I want to do them now.
What has been the most rewarding?
The people I’ve met! I have been so lucky to develop friendships with some wonderful clients that I have even been invited to their wedding - it's by far the best feeling! And the industry I have been involved in some wonderful collaborations and have met the most amazing people that inspire me to be better everyday.
What do you most enjoy doing in your time off?
Sleeping in with my son, reading a book, getting out in nature, drinking a bloody good coffee and if it’s summer I will 110% be at the beach that is my happy place.
What is your favourite travel destination?
Do I really have to pick just one?
If I’m to think about a place where a little bit of my heart was left behind it would be New York and Prague.
Tell me something about yourself that people may not know?
I don’t eat eggs! I can't stand them yet use them everyday! Also most people are always surprised to know that I also worked in the music industry and I have some wild stories to tell!
What languages do you speak?
I speak Yugoslav and I can count in Japanese and German does that count?
Have you always lived where you do?
Yes I’m a Melbourne girl born and bred but my family, including my sisters were all born in former Yugoslavia.
What is your favourite aspect of working in the bridal industry?
The people whether that be my clients or vendors - it's such an uplifting and supportive community
If you didn’t live where you do, where would you love to live?
By the beach!
Image by Gold & Grit Photography