Quarantine Home Bakers - Part 17

Sep 03 2020. view 587

By Panchali Illankoon 
In this series, we talk to people who turned their passion for food and baking into a business idea amidst lockdown and COVID-19 fears. Some have been in the market for years and others saw the new opportunity and took it! These home businesses are changing the game and have overcome the odds of running a business during quarantine.   

Here’s how they did it; 

18-year-old Radeesha De Silva has always had a passion for baking. She had just started her diploma in baking prior to lockdown and after careful consideration, decided to drop out from her course to pursue a career as a full time entrepreneur with her homebaking brand ‘Cakecrrumbs’. 

1.What do you offer?
- I offer a variety of cookies, brownies, cakes and other baked goods. I also offer a variety of edible cookie dough and Greek donuts (Loukoumades) that I believe aren’t currently sold anywhere else in Sri Lanka. My best seller would be the cookies. They come in 5 different flavours; Nutella Stuffed, Cheesecake Stuffed, Peanut Butter Stuffed, Oreo Stuffed and Classic Chocolate Chunk cookies. I would also be introducing some new unique flavours for my cookies. The baked items I’m most fond of are the Peanut Butter Stuffed cookies and the peanut butter and dulce de leche Greek donuts, as peanut butter is my most favourite flavour! However, I would say my very best sellers are the Nutella stuffed cookies and the Nutella Greek donuts.


2.When did you start operations?
- I have actually been baking since I was 10 years old and it eventually became my passion and career path. I introduced Cakecrrumbs when I was 15 and I built up the business ever since. Unfortunately, I had to stop taking orders when I started doing a diploma course in baking about a month before the pandemic. Throughout the lockdown I thought a lot about my life and realized that I don’t really need a diploma to be an entrepreneur, I only need my passion, talent, experience, and my knowledge, which I can improve on my own. So, I dropped out of the course and reintroduced Cakecrrumbs with new products and better prices about 2 months into the pandemic. 


3.What was it like running your operations post curfew? 
- As soon as I reintroduced Cakecrrumbs after the curfew was lifted, I only got orders from my loyal customers who had been craving for my products. The orders were pretty slow but within a week of promoting the products, orders kept flowing in and I was officially back in business.


4.How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
-  Since all my products are made at home, I ensure that proper hygiene measures are taken in preparing and packaging. Every day, I wash and disinfect my workspace and all the equipment at regular intervals. While many customers pick up their order from my home, deliveries are done by my personal driver to ensure hygiene standards are followed.


5.What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
- Baking has been my passion ever since I was a little girl. It gives me an unexplainable pleasure when people around me enjoy my goodies. When I bake, it does not seem like a job at all, it only feels like a hobby I absolutely love. When it comes to baking, I want it done my own way and that is why I want to be an entrepreneur. Right now, I’m operating a home business to save up and open my own little cake store to satisfy customers sweet cravings. I taught myself to bake through a whole lot of research and detailed videos. That is how I got to where I am today. Baking will forever be my passion hence my career path.


6.How has COVID-19 and the current state of the world changed your business and your baking?
-  Everyday I’m in fear of another lockdown as I just started operations again and wouldn’t want to lose the customer base I have right now. I wouldn’t say business is that great but it’s been fairly good considering the current state of affairs. However, everything should be done 100 times more carefully because of COVID but I wouldn’t say COVID has affected my baking in any way as my passion for baking will only grow stronger and I would just bake for fun. It has only affected the business flow.


7.How do you Home Bakers going forward post COVID?
- To be completely honest, home bakers find is absolutely difficult to make a profit post-COVID as a lot of people would only spend on necessities due to financial difficulties. In time, as the COVID spread reduces and everything goes back to normal, I think there is hope for home bakers.


8.Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business? 
- I would say just go for it! Follow your passion. No doubts or regrets just take the risk because it’s all worth it at the end. Being your own boss is always better no matter what the risk is.
Cakecrrumbs takes orders through their social media pages (@cakecrrumbs) on Instagram. They accept Cash on Delivery and Bank Transfers and offers pick up or delivery within a 7km radius from Dehiwala.



Lakmani Gunasekera was inspired to start her own home baking business baking snacks and treats for her son. “STASH.CMB came from my son’s idea of stocking up on the cookies I made for him – he always refer to the cookie container as his ‘stash’ of cookies and that’s how our brand came about!” 


1.What do you offer?
- We offer cookies, cupcakes, customized cakes, mousse, cinnamon rolls and our famous gâteau. Our best sellers at the moment are our chunky peanut butter cookies (aka the PB & No J cookies) and our famous pineapple gâteau.


2.When did you start operations?
- I started my brand when I was inspired while baking new trendy baked items for my son who was back at home during lockdown. This hobby progressed to a business when my son’s friends and family appreciated my work through social media, who then got in touch to even order! This took me by surprise but it has been quite the pleasant experience experimenting with new techniques to add to my baking skills!


3.What was it like running your operations post curfew? 
- During curfew my lovely customers had the opportunity to see my stories and my work on social media pages like Instagram which inspired people to pre-order for special occasions in the future. While it was hard to deliver goods during curfew, I had the opportunity to interact with my customers to understand their needs and develop my products which I took as a win!


4.How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
- All STASH products are home-made and we minimize foreign body contamination by wearing gloves and respecting hand hygiene at all times. Even our packaging is cleaned before we deliver them to our customers. We prioritize the health of our invaluable STASHERS!


5.What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
-  Ever since I was a teenager I have been interested in the art of decorating cake and was taught by the talented Saroja Anthony. I love the freedom I have at home and the myriad of opportunities for inspiration in my garden. I get to have a more amicable relationship with my customers as a result since I get to show them my sources of inspiration. The STASHER love is real!


6.How has COVID-19 and the current state of the world changed your business and your baking?
-Opening up a new business during a pandemic may not sound ideal as people are reluctant to place orders. However, from a more optimistic perspective, I reckon it’s given me ample time to shape my business at a comfortable pace.


7.How do you see Home Bakers going forward post COVID?
- I hope homebakers have learnt more skills while staying at home and will produce more stellar baked goods over the next couple of months. This is the perfect opportunity to herald in a new era of homebakers.


8.Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business? 
-Find your audience by seeing how you can do your own take on a trending (or all-time favourite) good. Be passionate about it and customers will love that authenticity so make sure to be unique!

*STASH.CMB takes orders via Instagram and Facebook (@stash.cmb). They only accept cash on delivery. Delivery within Colombo is available as well as self-pick up.  


Panchali Illankoon

Law Graduate, food and travel enthusiast and full time dog mom..


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