Angelica Medina is the owner and chief baker at Zulia Bakery, Inc. She is also one of our many featured vendors at this year’s WakeMed Farmers Market.
Originally from Venezuela, Angelica shares her story of how she got into baking as well as how she is using her culinary skills to give back to the community.
Zulia Bakery: Connecting Heritage
I’m baking because of my mom, but the name, Zulia, comes from my dad’s heritage. The name has multiple connections.
Zulia means brave and courage. It was also the name of an indigenous princess who fought against the Spanish in the 1500s. I’m from Zulia state in Venezuela, which was named after the same princess, but I’m connected to the name because of my father. My father is an indigenous from the same tribe where Zulia was from. I connected the name to my business because of my heritage.
I grew up poor. Once a year, during Christmas time, my mom would bake bread and sell it to friends, family, and strangers. She then used this money to buy our clothes for the year (for my sister and I). That’s how I started seeing her baking for the first time.
Thirteen years ago, I moved to the United States, and a little while after I moved here, I was going through some very hard times. It was then that my mom told me to bake. My mom was the motivator. She encouraged me to bake when I was here. She was my mentor. She was in Venezuela and talking to me almost every day on the phone, showing me how to do it, and then I took baking classes to further it along.
I kept practicing and practicing, and over the years I perfected my baking technique (and I’m still improving!). I went to school to take baking classes. I also went through an entrepreneurship program to learn how to handle a business. Then, about three years ago, I started working for myself, making my own baked goods. It wasn’t much, but today the business has grown.
Getting to know the product is one of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced since owning Zulia Bakery. I’ve learned that it takes time and effort for people to know and trust you as a company that has a good, high quality product.
I have a certified kitchen. It’s certified by the Department of Agriculture. I sell 7 different types of rollups (fresh raspberries, cream, and jam). I sell mini empanadas and bite size rollups. I make my own puff pastry, which is totally different than store bought, and bread in bite-size.
Goals & Giving Back
I’ve officially owned my business for approximately one year, but I’ve been baking for eight years. Right now, I work full time as a baker for my business, but my goal is to, one day, have a storefront.
When I’m not baking, I am involved in charity work. I have a foundation in Venezuela called the Tcumi Foundation, which means ‘kids arise’. It’s a great foundation that helps children in need. I also mentor other women who are interested in entrepreneurship. By sharing my story and what I’ve learned about owning and operating a business, my goal is to help other women open their own business(es).
Being at the Farmers Market is a big help since it supports more business owners; it’s like having a small store somewhere else. For other people, the WakeMed Farmers Market is a way to support more business owners locally and in the community.
The most rewarding thing about what I do is that I’m doing what I’m passionate about.
About Zulia Bakery
Visit Zulia Bakery at the WakeMed Farmers Market every Tuesday. Angelica’s creations include her infamous “rollwiches,” which are a special handmade type of bread where everything is cooked on the inside. Her rollwiches come in sweet and savory flavors.
For more information about Zulia Bakery, follow them on Facebook.
Phone: (919) 434-8761