“Always Yours” hopes to always be here
First opening in late 2021, young female entrepreneur Natalie Wong grew her home business into a fully-fledged bakery of her dreams, with the help of family, friends, and a kickstarter. The Always Yours Bakery Cafe celebrated its one-year anniversary on Dec. 12, 2022.
Learning from YouTube, Wong began selling macarons to family and friends at school. Once her business started taking off, she grew her team to include a few employees.
“I’ve always wanted to open a bakery. Since I was a kid, that’s always been my dream,” Wong remarked. In mid-2020, with a vision and a thriving home business, she decided it was time to make her childhood dream come true.
Originally from Oakland, Wong chose the Castro Valley Village for the location of her new bakery because she liked the shopping center, and it had a parking lot—which most places in Oakland lack.
Located close to CVHS, Always Yours offers services such as catering, fundraisers, and events. The bakery is a frequent hosting spot for various K-Pop events, where the bakery collaborates with the fan groups to create limited edition drinks and macarons.
Opening a business during a pandemic is tough, between gathering enough funds and training new employees, as Wong described. On top of that, Wong was constantly worrying about her employees catching COVID, and even had to briefly shut down at the beginning due to a spike in cases. Wong faced many doubts and closed doors, but she never let it discourage her.
“I felt like people underestimated me. [They’d ask], ‘How old are you? Are you old enough to be running a business?’ Or like, ‘Oh you’re a woman you don’t know like what you’re doing.’ I mean, I [didn’t] know what [I was] doing, but I did learn,” she said.
The bakery has thrived in its first year. As for the future,Wong hopes to open at least five more locations around the Bay Area in the next five to ten years. “I’m really proud that I made it to one year because I’ve seen businesses that don’t make it to one year…Thanks to everyone for coming by the shop. I hope to see you guys here soon!”