Leonnie Merinsca’s journey into the world of healthy treats began when her firstborn was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Faced with the dietary challenges of young children who love snacks and the lack of allergy-friendly treats in local stores prompted Leonnie to take matters into her own hands. As the CEO and Chief Baker of Beyond Treats, the challenges she faces in in educating her customers about food allergies and the ingredients she uses.
What inspired Beyond Treats?
My kids. My firstborn was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. My two other children were also allergic to dairy. So creating something that suited their needs just made sense to me.
What’s Beyond Treats all about?
In 2012, I started Beyond Treats with my husband’s help as a home baking business, which sells cupcakes, brownies, cakes and a variety of cookies. I cater mainly to individuals with food challenges like those suffering from allergies, celiac disease, diabetes and autistism, as well as those adering to certain diets such as paleo and vegan.
How do you think you’ve impacted Indonesian families with gluten allergies and autistic children?
Many of my customers couldn’t believe they can get gluten-free baked goods right here in Jakarta. Many of them celebrated their birthdays with a cake for the first time in their lives! Our cakes tend to look simple because we have to avoid many ingredients for our customer’s safety. But it is that simplicity that gives them a sense of security and normality because they look like any homemade cake and they can eat it with everybody and no one sense anything unordinary.
What is the best advice you ever received?
Right before I started Beyond Treats, a successful business woman said that a business needs a content. We were conversing on how to start to market Beyond Treats. Now, I still listen to that advice to stay true to ourselves, to stay true to what makes us different.
What do you consider your accomplishments?
I consider my personal growth as a accomplishment. This business, the staff, the customers, my family. They helped build me. I can see my self as a new person and growing. I learn new things every single day. Maybe it sounds cliche but I don’t think we can grow anything without allowing ourselves to grow too.
What are your future plans?
I want Beyond Treats to expand and use more local ingredients and to bring more local baked-goods and desserts into the menu. I want to do all those and at the same time be a full time mom for my kids. They said it’s hard and rather impossible but I guess if my autistic son does not give-up to the challenges he has, who am I to stop trying.
For yummy baked goods that’s good for your tummy, you can check out Beyond Treats here:
*Photos courtesy of Beyond Treat