High Tea & Us

Nov 18 2021. views 80

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. With increased restrictions once more, we talk to home bakers who are operating during these times to bring the sweet and savoury to your very own doorstep! 
Experimenting and whipping up baked goodies during the lockdown, Fathima Wahid was thrilled by the positive feedback from her friends and family and was encouraged to start her own home venture. “I am a housewife with two grown children, I have a lot of time on my hands and I decided to start selling some of these well-loved baked goods. During the lockdown I realized that now, people are unable to enjoy high tea as they used to, so I decided to combine some of my goodies to create a high tea box that can be enjoyed safely within the comfort of one’s home, hence we are called High Tea & Us!”.
1. What do you offer?
-  We do a range of savouries and sweets. We offer sandwiches with chicken, fish, egg, or cucumber filling with white or brown bread and plain, chocolate chip, or raisin scones with a homemade jam. We also offer chocolate nut mini cookies, chocolate fudge brownies, butter cake, chocolate cake, fruit cake, jaggery cake, biscotti, and iced coffee and all of these can be paired to customize a high tea box. Our best sellers so far are our scones with jam, chocolate fudge brownies, and biscotti. I personally love the biscotti as it’s a product that is a rare goodie in Colombo. It can be enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee at any time or even as a snack for kids. 
2. When did you start operations?
- With Covid-19 lockdowns taking place, I was inspired to start baking and that is how I commenced my business online through social media. 
3. What is it like running your operations in times like these? 
-  Fortunately, because of online purchasing, I was able to safely get all my ingredients even during the lockdown and I used contactless delivery to deliver my orders. Since my business is based online it was actually easy to operate during the pandemic. 
4. How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
- Prior to preparing the food - all worktops, chopping boards, utensils, bottles, etc. are cleaned well, sanitized and air-dried. All food safety principles are followed when cooking meats, eggs, milk, and others, taking into account customer allergies and intolerances as well. We use face masks and gloves at all times. We use contactless pick up where we keep the package on a table which is then picked up by the customer. If not, we use the contactless delivery feature through Pickme Flash which is safely delivered to our customers. 
5. What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
- I enjoy being my own boss and the flexible aspect of home baking. Baking has helped me utilize my free time in a more enjoyable and profitable manner. I also enjoy catering customised high tea boxes to my customers to help them have a memorable time during the pandemic. It is also really exciting to get positive reviews from my customers, which motivates me to continue this business and keep providing personalised and satisfactory service. 
6. What’s next for your brand?
- New recipes, new products, new ideas and even catering for events! In the future, I am hoping to expand my business with more products and new ideas, enabling customers to enjoy their evening tea. There may be barriers and competition we may face, but due to the pandemic, it is evident that the world post-covid is now a different place. Due to this, people are still more comfortable and keen to entertain guests at home. Therefore, we are ever so optimistic to continue this concept of personalised high tea at home.  
7. Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
- Starting your own business has its perks as you are your own boss, you have flexibility, can enjoy spending time creating something that you love, and be able to make it profitable. 
High Tea & Us are on pre-order basis ONLY and requires a minimum of 24 hours’ notice. They take orders via Instagram (@high.tea.and.us). Bank Transfers are preferred but cash on pick up is available and delivery can be arranged from Colombo 1-15 and the suburbs or picked up from Colombo 05. 


Panchali Illankoon

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


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