Quarantine Home Bakers - Part 18

Sep 10 2020. views 552

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 the quarantine.  Here’s how they did it.
With a passion for baking, Dulara Perera has always wanted to be a part of the food industry catering food that is both tasty and value for money. “I wanted to make a brand with food that is worth the price because as a foodie myself, I would know what it feels like to get food that isn’t up to standard and is a waste of your money. The Bake Out is a brand that resonated my beliefs and reasoning.”  
1. What do you offer?
- We offer Chocolate Chip Cookies, Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Biscuit Pudding, assorted Cupcakes, Chocolate and Butter Cakes along with custom cake orders. Currently, my signature product is our Chocolate Chip Rainbow Cookies, cupcakes and Chocolate cake and I’m hoping to introduce Brownies and Doughnuts along with other bakery items in the future.
2. When did you start operations?
- I started The Bake Out at the tail end of curfew. Baking and cooking have always been my go-to stress buster and I’ve been baking for a long time so I’ve always wanted to open my own bakery.  During the curfew, once I was done with my exams, I had some spare time to myself where I thought of giving this a go, so during the latter part of the curfew, I found myself making logo’s and figuring out names.
3. What was it like running your operations during and post-curfew? 
- Since I started The Bake Out almost close to the end of the curfew, I’d say I experience both ends. As I remember during lockdown it was really hard to find the essential ingredients such as butter and even chocolate powder sometimes, I found myself going online in search for ingredients to get delivered and as things went back to normal it was much easier to continue baking as the ingredients became more easily accessible again
4. How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
- During preparation, I ensure to follow all the safety guidelines which are put out for sanitary measures.  Also, when it comes to delivery, I make sure my boxes are sealed and are free from contamination due to human touch until it’s delivered.
5. What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
- I like the fact that the business is all mine and I can make changes to my baking and delivery. Further, I love the fact that I get to do work from home in a familiar environment where I always usually cook. 
6. How has COVID-19 and the current state of the world changed your business and your baking?
- I think the Covid-19 situation has prompted people to shop online even further and to my understanding, it has helped many home bakers who are both emerging and existing to do well. 
7. How do you Home Bakers going forward post-COVID?
- I think there will be a higher market for the home bakers!
8. Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business? 
- Always start small and don’t hesitate if you feel like you’ve got what it takes!
The Bake Out takes orders through their social media pages (@the.bake.out) on Instagram or Facebook. They accept Cash on Delivery and Bank Transfers.
Nihara Jayamaha’s brand “Roll With It” is a product of free time during the mandatory curfew period. “I wanted the brand to be fun and easy-going. I like how the name doesn’t limit my options in terms of the products, I can release. It’s also very appropriate for this time we’re living in. All we can really do in these unprecedented times is roll with it!”.
1. What do you offer?
- Currently, the brand predominantly specializes in handcrafted cinnamon rolls. We offer seven variations of cinnamon rolls- Classic Rolls, Cream Cheese Rolls, Cinnacrunch Rolls, Chocolate Ganache Rolls, Tiramisu Rolls, Arrack Rolls and Salted Caramel Rolls. These rolls come in the regular size, mini size and can even be customized as giant cinnamon roll cakes. Our most popular rolls would have to be Cream Cheese, Tiramisu and Chocolate and my personal favourite is the cream cheese roll. While we specialize in cinnamon rolls, we also recently introduced all-butter shortbread to our menu. I plan to periodically introduce new products to the market that aren’t as commonly found in Sri Lanka. I also hope to introduce cookie dough brownies to the menu and many more!
2. When did you start operations?
- Roll With It was definitely a result of lockdown but to get to this, there is a little backstory that needs to be said. Growing up, baking and cooking was always a past time of mine. I learnt everything I know from my mother who is an avid baker herself. In fact, when I was 12, I began taking orders for Key Lime Pie and eventually branched out to Macaroons! I recently moved back to Sri Lanka after completing my LLB and Master’s in UK, and although I didn’t plan to resume taking orders for my baking, the lockdown period meant that I had more time on my hands to cook and bake. I have always enjoyed a good cinnamon roll and found it hard to get a hold of soft, light, cinnamon rolls in Colombo. That’s when I decided to make the perfect cinnamon rolls and what better time to do this than in lockdown! When I baked them for my friends and family, everyone encouraged me to start taking orders. That’s the story of how we started!
3. What was it like running your operations post curfew? 
- I work in the development sector and now that curfew has been lifted, we are back in office full time. I now juggle baking before and after work. 
4. How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
- When I was studying in the UK, I worked part-time at a few coffee shops and restaurants. To work in the food industry there, it’s mandatory to follow the food hygiene course set out by the UK Government. This was especially helpful when I started Roll With It. Regardless of the pandemic situation, ensuring proper hygiene standards has always been and will always be a priority for me. While I can assure that proper hygiene is followed when preparing the rolls, it was as important to make sure this hygiene will be maintained during the delivery process. For this reason, we deliver our rolls through a trusted driver who has been trained to meet our hygiene standards. 
5. What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
- I find baking to be therapeutic, a stress reliever if you will. But what really keeps me motivated are happy customers. Roll With It is blessed to have the loveliest customers who always share positive feedback and keep coming back for more!
6. How has COVID-19 and the current state of the world changed your business and your baking?
- The current situation has made it a little more challenging to source bakery and packing products but our suppliers have been very helpful and obliging. 
7. How do you see Home Bakers going forward post-COVID?
- This pandemic has allowed for everyone’s hidden talents to be discovered. Before the pandemic, people didn’t have much confidence in ordering food for delivery. But now, it has made people more adventurous and they have more confidence in the quality and the vast variety of products available to them. 
8. Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
-  My advice would be to go for it! There’s really no time like the present and there will never be such a thing as the perfect time. Always do what you love and love what you do. Starting in itself is progress! 
*Roll With It takes orders via Instagram (@rollwithit_lk) and require one-day advance notice. They accept cash on delivery and bank transfers.


Panchali Illankoon

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


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