former tech turned passionate baker and entrepeneur

Interview with Joyce Tang

After nearly a decade of working in the tech industry excelling at her career Joyce spontaneously connected with a newfound love for baking. She began bringing pastries and goodies to work to share with her team and soon realized the joy from her coworkers delighting in her baked goods was incredibly fulfilling and overshadowed the work achievements she previously cherished. Joyce pivoted and took a leap of faith- she began taking classes and spent endless hours perfecting her craft. Could she one day open a bakery and turn her passion into reality? Joyce doesn’t back away from a challenge, and little by little she gains the confidence to continue her journey and completely make the switch from tech to entrepreneur and small business owner. Joyce now owns a bakery called Bake Sum, located in Oakland since 2020. A bakery inspired by her Cantonese upbringing, it features a wide variety of unique Asian-inspired ingredients and an exciting seasonal menu. Joyce’s pastries are praised for their savory and sweet flavor profiles that pack a punch! 


Joyce Tang and Subikksha Balaje, founder of Goldstories, first met in 2011 during their previous careers in tech. 

What inspired her love for baking 

“It wasn’t something that came from my parental figures growing up. My mother and father did not do much baking from what I remember.” 

She lived most of her life without knowledge of her great-grandfather's bakery shop he owned in China. It seemed that this talent had skipped a few generations and landed on Joyce!

The transition from working in tech to becoming a pastry chef and entrepreneur 

“It was a slow start that took many baby steps.” 

Joyce began taking odd jobs at nearby restaurants and bakeries before/after her full time job in tech. In her pursuit of opportunities, she began competing in local baking contests and amateur competitions, fully immersing herself in this new world. In 2015, Joyce officially took the leap to transition to baking full time. She enrolled in classes at the San Francisco Cooking School studying classical french pastry. 

The road to opening her own bakery 

After completing her classes at the San Francisco School of Cooking in 2018 she began selling her baked goods at pop-ups. Joyce decided on the name Bake Sum, celebrating both her passion “bake” and her Cantonese lineage “sum” representing heart or the melding of two things. In 2020, there was a demand for a storefront, and she opened a permanent store for Bake Sum on Grand Avenue in Oakland, Ca! 

“Although your scope is smaller, your impact is bigger, especially for the people that feel seen.”

No longer fulfilled by her tech career, Joyce wanted to make a more meaningful impact on her community. Valuing individual interactions with customers over mass responses from faceless work projects, she saw her pastries bring more joy and light to her fellow peers than any work accomplishment she could ever imagine. That’s when Joyce realized her true purpose. 

Fueled by the desire to support underrepresented minority groups 

What do pastries and jewelry have in common? Founder of Goldstories, Subikksha Balaje, and Joyce Tang of Bake Sum bakery discuss the importance of carrying on tradition and the pursuit of embracing your story and what that means to each of them. By following instinct and intuition, you stumble upon connecting with your past. Subikksha practices this through heirloom jewelry and Joyce with baking- each celebrating what inspires them to continue their path of owning their own businesses and uplifting their community. 

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