Apr 21 2022. views 196
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!
Zeez Treats by Zainab Jafferjee and Abbas Jafferjee is a home-based baking venture that kicked off during the pandemic. “I love baking and eating delicious treats. I used to make treats for friends and family members all the time and naturally, they all inspired me to come up with a business that’s based on my name. Today, we pride ourselves in baking and delivering a unique experience and being the go-to custom premium dessert solution provider in the market.”
What do you offer?
The main items on offer are our Brownies as this is very popular and a common theme amongst many desserts-oriented bakers in Sri Lanka. We differentiate by offering a wide selection of customization options that makes every treat truly unique. Our Signature Dish is our Mexican Dessert the Famous Tres leches. The core focus with any dessert we bake is to absolutely not compromise in the raw materials and chocolate used in it. We try our best to use the best available ingredients not just locally but internationally.
When did you start operations?
We are a business that came up amidst the pandemic. The inspiration and original plan of Abbas Jafferjee were to set up a professional food studio and flavor lab. Unfortunately, due to the unexpected lockdown and pandemic, the entire focus of the business changed and was re-engineered to become home-based. Abbas Jafferjee wanted to change the idea of providing an unforgettable dessert experience so he suggested that I start off my business and slowly capture the market with these delectable treats.
What is it like running your operations in times like these?
Sourcing of Ingredients and Quality chocolates is very difficult as the cost and availability of fine ingredients are very limited in Sri Lanka. Due to the pandemic and current crisis and import restrictions, it is difficult to use Belgian and British Chocolates and Butters from Denmark, France, and New Zealand. So, a balancing act of using local products and international ingredients is key to making the brand sustainable while sticking to our ethos of not compromising on the quality of our ingredients.
How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
We are trying our best to strive to achieve HACCP compliance as a long-term goal as the appeal of this being a professional operation is the use of SOP to help improve our processes. We are making sure our packaging is done properly and is of a good standard. We have a special security seal that is broken by a customer to avoid accidental or intentional tampering with the product.
What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
Baking gives me tranquility and happiness and it challenges me to explore and develop my capacity and capabilities along the way. Every day I learn something new so I can strive to take my skills to the next level. Operating my own business gives me a sense of responsibility, and allows me to learn time management and how to become more efficient and resourceful. Having no help and meeting deadlines helps improve planning. Running a business is tough, no doubt, especially when doing everything on your own from baking to packing to making sure to capture those beautiful aesthetically appealing photographs and managing posts on social media. Business in the Dessert field in Sri Lanka is extremely competitive as every baker on Instagram has fantastic variety, packaging, and a portfolio of diehard followers. Carving out a niche in a challenging market is a great experience.
How do you see home bakers going forward post-Covid?
The thing with Covid and the current world situation is that people all around the world have been affected. Unfortunately, many of their businesses have closed down too. I am very grateful that my work is ongoing regardless of the situation. Yes, the business was affected during the initial period but then, with time, things got better as the fans and support of customers helped stabilize and propel my success. The pandemic was an unprecedented disaster. Now we face power cuts, gas shortage,s and food scarcity. These scary realities are what teach us as individuals to face difficulties with a strong will to win. We have to make the challenges part of our learning experiences. Overcoming them is where you have to be strong and keep your head high up in the game no matter what. As home bakers, we have to remain strong and persistent in our goal to become household legends.
What's in store for your brand in 2022?
Our future plan is to do architectural desserts for items for special occasions. We also plan to open an outlet in the near future when things in the country become better and everything is stabilized. We want to be everyone's dessert place and create memories with our treats.
Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
Start slowly and invest in good products, do not worry about people questioning you as to why you are expensive; your products will speak for themselves when your customers buy from you. Never ever compromise on the quality and quantity and always give your best and believe in yourself and everything will go great.