It was Valentine’s Day of 2008. Valerie Valeriano was scrolling through her contact list to see who to call to enjoy the evening together. Christina Ong, a distant acquaintance, initially, was available. They had something in common: being single and enjoyed going out. And so, they drank beers all night at a local restaurant in Ortigas, told each other their life’s stories, and the next day, were inseparable.
Valerie had graduated from nursing in the Philippines. Christina, with a degree in Economics from UST had later been presented with another life changing path. She was offered a chance to live in London for a year, to work in Health Care.
Being young and adventurous, Christina took the opportunity to live in the UK loving her new career path and time in the city so much so, that she always knew she would return. As the two women became closer, they thought that London seemed the perfect place to start their new life. Being single and nothing to hold her back, Valerie instantly decided to tag along with her new best friend.
They were full of bravado — big plans but rather empty pockets. So, they moved into a small house where they shared a bed to save some money. Challenges with funds didn’t deter them. They came up with some creative solutions to earn money. Babysitting was one of them.
While being fully committed to their medical jobs, the two hustled through their lives in London, and naturally forged good friendships. Naghma was the mother of one of Valerie’s patients, and Aida was the mother of the boy Christina was babysitting. They treated Valerie and Christina just like they were their own daughters.
It was a few days before Mother’s Day in 2011 when Valerie and Christina accidentally stumbled upon an unknown passion and talent. Little did they know that this would become the start of something extraordinary. Out of gratitude and fondness, they decided to bake something creative, sweet, but most of all, affordable.
They searched the internet and stumbled upon a fun sunflower cupcake recipe using an improvised Ziploc bag. They discovered something else, too: buttercream. A few clicks further, they came across a tutorial on how to make a cupcake bouquet. That was it. It was perfect. They would bake Naghma and Aida a beautiful cupcake bouquet! Coming from the Philippines and having a natural love for sweets, they thought, “who wouldn’t love this?”
And so, they surprised their friends with their homemade gift. Naghma and Aida both really loved it, even though the cupcakes were coming off the wrappers. It was Aida who told them to improve the idea and technique and make it into a business. As good friends, they listened.
In 2012, the idea of “Queen of Hearts Specialty Cupcakes, Edible bouquets and More” was born. It evolved from a joke. The two self-taught bakers were practicing flower piping while getting frustrated. It was on one of these practice sessions that Christina blurted out,