Feb 17 2022. views 255
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. We talk to home bakers who are operating during these times to bring the sweet and savoury to your very own doorstep!
Successfully following a career in fashion and merchandising in the apparel industry, for Nishadi Tejwani baking was never really in the books until one experimental hand at baking brought successful results. “My mum was a self-taught home baker and I used to help her whenever I was at home. I think this is where my interest in baking was first piqued. Since I worked most of my life and had a successful career, the adjustment to being a full-time mum was quite challenging! I tried my hands at a few things connected with the apparel industry, but nothing really clicked. I then decided to explore baking. The first significant milestone was when I baked my own birthday cake, and it was a hit! That led to my first order from a close friend and Bakes by Nishi was born!”
What do you offer?
I specialise in Birthday cakes, apart from that I also do cupcakes, cookies, mini doughnuts, and cakesicals. I love doing hand-painted cakes and these are trending now.
What would you say is your signature style in baking?
Tall cakes, floral cakes, and hand-painting!
What is it like running your operations in times like these?
The first time was very hard. I still remember doing cake deliveries on foot. The shortage of packing material meant I requested my customers to return the cake board so I could reuse it after a thorough cleaning. An important lesson I learned from those challenging times is to always keep a buffer stock of goods. With the new norm, we have all adjusted to it and now 99% of my ingredients are sourced directly through home deliveries and all communications are via WhatsApp and Instagram. Many of my customers are from word of mouth and social media referrals and in fact, I have not met them in person before I made the delivery!
How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
We follow all health guidelines when baking and decorating. Physical contact with suppliers and customers is extremely minimal. Payments are through online channels and both pickups and deliveries are also carefully done to minimise risk. I am extremely careful in this since my kids are always around me at home, I will not take any chances.
What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
This was never about money. It was, and still is, and will always be, about how perfect I can do it and the joy I get from giving my customers a little bit extra. I also love the freedom of doing it on my own terms and the financial independence it has given me. I have come to realise that designing cakes is a beautiful way of expressing myself. My love for my craft and the joy it brings to my customers and me is the most important thing. That is what gives me contentment. I am over the moon when I see my customers posting videos and pictures of my cakes when celebrating and enjoying with their loved ones.
How do you see yourself going forward post-Covid?
I do a lot more smaller cakes than before, small cakes for small celebrations. I use more and more locally sourced products. I ask my customers to give me a budget so I can try and work within it but without compromising on quality to ensure an amazing experience for them. But it is getting difficult with the high cost of living and sometimes due to budget constraints I cannot express the way I would have done earlier.
What’s in store for your brand in 2022?
I have always wanted to have my own Cake Studio, I am not sure if it’s going to be in 2022 but I will continue to plan for it and hope that if not 2022, it would be in 2023. I want to offer a service where people can come and decorate their own cake for their loved ones, a fun place to bake, decorate and simply relax and enjoy without worrying about baking materials.
Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
If I talk specifically about baking, it's hard work and long hours, so endurance and persistence are very important. Plan your work, follow other bakers, appreciate, support, like, and get inspired but find your own style, which is inspiring, soothing, and satisfying for you at the end of the day. You need to love it if you are going to make something out of it, otherwise, it is tough.