The success of this spoiled influencer
You may have heard of The Spoiled Mummy. It is an elegantly designed blog where the author, a well-travelled wife and mother of three, shares travel posts, mommy tips and recipes with her readers.
The author is Grace Barbers Baja, daughter of the late Senator Robert Barbers and wife of investment banker Lauro Baja.
The blog was born out of boredom. Her third child had just turned one and Grace wanted to have something to share with her husband beyond the “I brought the kids to gymboree” and “I cooked”.
“I’m not the type to just eat, sleep and relax or wait for my kids to come home from soccer, that’s not my style,” she shares over lunch. “I said I know I can do more and be more.”
In 2012, TheSpoiledMummy.com was born.
It became such a hit that she is now the epitome of the luxe young mom. Today, she is the brand ambassador for Miele, among other brands, and is invited to various events just so she would post about it on her Instagram page and hopefully blog about it.
One day it hit her, “I’m being asked to represent all these brands. Why not make my own?”
So Grace Home, her home line featuring candles and plates and many more, began.
Grace put her marketing and advertising skills to good use. She has a degree in marketing and advertising from La Salle (animo!) and handled press events for merchants of Ayala commercial centers from 1999-2002.
Because of this, her Grace Home line was beautifully launched and much talked about by the lifestyle press.
A year later, she again felt the boredom (boredom truly cultivates invention) so she developed a food line.
In developing her first food line, Grace credits her love for entertaining, which she was already known for way before she was even recognized as a blogger. She even landed on the cover of a glossy magazine for this.
“Everything started because of my love for entertaining,” she reflects.
Still, she had to do her homework. The products she now sells took more than six months to develop, from recipe testings to meeting suppliers and designing the brand.
“I’m not a good cook,” she confesses. “I cook based on my taste. And people trust me because of my taste. That’s why I decided to brand my food line Taste by Grace Home.”
Her taste is indeed exquisite and reflects how well-travelled the spoiled mummy is. She uses sun-dried tomatoes and almonds from California, figs and black truffles from Italy, cured Manchego, olives and Pedro Ximenez Sherry from Spain, aged Gouda and Edam cheese from the Netherlands, pistachios from Dubai, black grapes from Australia, butter from France and single-origin chocolate from Ecuador.
She has also made the effort to source from local artisans, using wild honey from Palawan, muscovado sugar from Negros, vinegar from Surigao, and organic chicken liver from Nueva Ecija.
The result is a well thought out collection of spreads and jams: a chicken liver spread, cheese spreads and jams.
Her chicken liver spread or what she calls Organic Chicken Liver Pate is marketed as healthy but complex. In glorious ignorance of its ingredients, her kids devour it.
“My kids love it though they don’t know it’s liver,” she confides with a smile. “I allow my kids to eat it because it’s organic.”
She is also very proud of the flavor contrasts. “On top of the pate, you’ll see pistachios to give you a nutty flavor and then praline for a sweet layer to take out any aftertaste.”
Her cheese spreads are the bestsellers. “I said if I develop something, it must be something relatable to everyone,” she recalls.
The relatability is evident in the growing orders for the cheese spreads.
Her four-cheese or quattro formaggio spread is what she calls “the elevated version of cheese pimiento”. She uses four cheeses she personally chose, but won’t reveal. Then she adds truffle honey instead of condensed milk and pink peppercorn instead of pimiento.
The Manchego cheese spread is a light spread sprinkled with roasted almonds for a delicate layer of added texture and an olive tapenade for a sophisticated, sweet ending. The use of olives, she says, is “a nod to the traditional Spanish manner of pairing Manchego with green olives.” She instructs to warm it, noting the cheese is better when melted.
To complete the collection, she has what she calls a “suite of cheese-pairing jams”. You buy them as a set: Figs and Almonds with Truffle Honey, Two Tomatoes and Habaneros with Sage, and Black Grapes and Pistachios with French Butter. Grace is very proud of the fact that her jams are all-natural and preservative-free.
Entertaining made easy
As a bonus, she also developed a cookie dough for the host who wants to impress, but doesn’t bake.
I bought one at Artefino, where Grace launched her food line and upon realizing at the counter that my bill was over P1,000 just for the cookie dough, my knee-jerk reaction was, “Ang mahal (expensive)!”
But Grace defends her price points.
“That makes 30 cookies,” she explains. “And it uses Ecuadorian chocolate.”
Grace loves dark chocolate and believes that Ecuadorian chocolate is the best so she uses single origin 70-percent Ecuadorian dark chocolate.
Another factor when considering the price is the convenience. I had guests over a couple of days later and loved how I cut the frozen dough into palm-sized pieces, stuck them in the toaster and—voila!—I had “freshly baked” cookies to serve. It’s a real entertaining trick.
She proudly shares that this is now an item that moms and dads buy because they want to impress their kids with their “baking skills”.
Watching the Instagram stories of @thespoiledmummy, you witness the hyperactive life that Grace leads. On the day we had lunch, for instance, she did mommy duties in the morning, did posts for a brand she is connected with after lunch and attended an event for dinner, personally delivered Grace Home products, and answered inquiries in between.
She is evidently as committed to her audience as they are devoted to her. She thinks becoming a social media influencer is her calling and takes this seriously or at least responds to it professionally.
“They trust me so much,” she says, bewildered, and confides, “I even get the silliest questions, like, can you recommend what color I should use for my bridesmaids?” Yet she finds the time to reply, participate in events and engage her audience.
It is this drive that has given her a cult following of now almost 35,000 followers on Instagram alone, translating to sales for her products.
“I did not expect the demand for Taste by Grace Home to be so great,” she gushes. “I thought I could just make everything on my own, do maybe just a batch of 10 for weekly orders. But the orders have been nonstop since Artefino!”
She is also proud to bring her products out of town and abroad, sometimes personally bringing the goods, as she did on a recent trip to Hong Kong, other times having willing friends act as mules. The orders from abroad are from followers of The Spoiled Mummy or those who have heard about her food line by word of mouth.
Grace’s success is a fine example of how a blog can expand to a business. What is amazing about Grace’s ascent is that she had gone beyond simply being a blogger.
While she started blogging with food and travel posts, she expanded her reach to encompass lifestyle in general, including beauty and fashion. Then she expanded her personal brand to include home accessories via Grace Home. Now she comes full circle with her food business.
Throughout all this, it seems she has not dropped any ball—she is able to attend to her mommy duties, host kiddie parties TheSpoiledMummy-style for her children, take care of herself with trips to the gym and visits to cosmetic experts, and travel frequently with her husband.
Understanding her audience and the reach of her influence, she has also taken to inspiring people by posting essays she lifts from the Bible. “At the end of the day, our purpose in life is to make things lighter for people around us,” she reflects.
Grace proves that with hard work and by God’s grace, women can have it all. Her success story is truly inspiring.
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