Feb 10 2022. views 309
From baking as a simple hobby to starting a homemade business, Lia’s Bakes has rapidly grown since its inception. Aalia Junaid, the eighteen-year-old who continues to explore every nook and cranny of baking has cemented her brand on social media. Proud of her choux pastry, Aalia is a very talented baker who has also mastered the art of balancing her studies with her business. She talks to us about her source of inspiration for the business and what makes her different from other dessert places.
What kind of baked goods do you offer?
I offer mini cheesecake/ cuppies, cheesecake jars, and profiteroles that come in three different flavours namely vanilla, chocolate, and coffee which is the latest addition to my menu!
What inspired you to start this business?
From a very young age, I always wanted to start my own business and baking was something I loved doing as a hobby. It all started when I first got my kid's recipe book when I was 8 years old and I started baking for my family. I used to love getting their comments and feedback, and since the response was positive and kept getting better and better I started exploring more recipes and new flavours. I also wanted to share the food I make with people outside my family and get their comments and feedback as well and that led me to start Lia’s Bakes. I’m very thankful for having a very strong support system and it has always been my family that encouraged me to start this!
What kind of an impact has Covid-19 made on your business?
Honestly, a very positive impact. Covid has given me a good start as demand for home-baked food was much needed. Customers were more willing to try out new stuff which was rather encouraging.
How has the response been so far?
Brilliant! The good responses I get from my customers have made me improve and get better day by day.
What would you say makes you different from other dessert places?
The fact that I constantly try and do something new by experimenting with new/ different flavours and improving the standards of my products on a daily basis. I always want to provide only the best to all my customers while staying true to myself and not having any competition with anyone.
How have you utilized social media to get your business known among its customer base and the public?
Lia’s Bakes started through an Instagram account and I’ve had a lot of sales ever since. Social media helps a lot of small businesses like us to market our products and get a bigger reach. I always try and keep my account active and put stories on a daily basis of the orders that were done for the day and the feedback etc. I’ve noticed a bigger reach to my page in the past few days and I’m so happy to see my account growing day by day. Apart from all that I’ve met some incredible home-bakers and other small business owners through social media who have become my friends and it’s so nice to see how each and every home-based small business supports other small businesses in whatever way they can.
What is the most fulfilling thing you have felt during the operations of your business?
Dispatching an order on time and hearing customers' comments and feedbacks and I absolutely love seeing pictures of my customers enjoying their goodies after so much love and effort was put into making the goodies just for them!
What is the product you are most proud of?
It has to be the choux pastry (profiteroles). It takes a lot of practice to make the perfect choux pastry which has to be crispy on the outside and hollow on the inside and I can proudly say that I’ve mastered this perfectly although there is still room for improvement.
What kind of orders do you take? Are they often customized or do you have a standard menu?
I have a standard menu but I love it when customers customize their orders and give me the freedom to put something together for them. I’m always open to new ideas and try and give the best to my customers by catering to their needs and expectations.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a home-baker?
When the prices of things went up it was very difficult for me as I don’t like to keep increasing the prices of my products. Another challenge I have faced as a home-baker is getting the proper ingredients and packing material on time. I’m very particular when it comes to getting ingredients and packing material. During travel restrictions, it was so hard to go to the store, and purchase the items I want, and buying stuff online at the beginning wasn’t easy at all, however, I was able to overcome all this and now I get all my stuff online as it saves a lot of my time.
What are your future plans for your business?
To expand my business in a way where more people reach out to me and cater to a wider customer base, introduce more new items to the menu, and hopefully, one day open up my own café or a dessert bar!
text Tiranya Ranasinghe