While the fancy and decorated theme cakes are the vogue today, here’s a story of a home-baker who bakes for a social cause that is also very close to her heart. She puts her passion for baking classic bakes in raising funds for animal NGOs, organisations that help abandoned and maltreated animals.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” says Simran Multani, Founder of Ovenderful. She believes that bakes are not about fancy cakes for big occasions but about small moments of life which just pass by without us trying to make the most of them. The experience does not end with cutting a birthday cake, but continues on a day-to-day basis with our regular conservations over tea or coffee.
Coming from a traditional Sikh family, Simran is a BA in Economics with an MBA degree in Human Resources from Goa Institute of Management. Prior to being a baker, Simran was an independent HR consultant. She has served large firms like Hewitt Associates, Hay Group and PwC via freelance projects primarily in the area of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Though Simran spent almost 11 years as an independent HR consultant, baking classic bakes drive her. “Being an HR consultant provides the financial stability to some extent whereas Ovenderful provides the inherent sense of fulfilment of pursuing what I really want,” she explains.
Ovenderful started in 2011 as a baking blog for Simran to jot down her baking recipes and experiences while baking goodies for her family. As her passion started gaining momentum, Ovenderful started becoming an entity in itself. “Starting and growing Overderful is really about creating an extension of me that resonates with my overall goal in life,” adds Simran.
Ovenderful derives its concept from the essence of home baked, freshly made no frills classic bakes. Bakes that are healthy, made of alternative flours, free of artificial colours and kid friendly. The startup got impetus with Search Years, a Gurgaon based NGO, which took vocational training classes for village girls. Here, Simran volunteered to take weekly baking classes for 12 girls from nearby villages which in return taught her baking with limited resources which led to trying out alternatives. Thus Ovenderful gives option of going beyond egg-less and nut free, to being butter-less, organic with ethnic grains and vegan.
Simran finds her soul attached to the abandoned and ill-treated animals. Simran helps animal NGOs raise funds every year through her bakes. She is in collaboration with three animal NGOs — Indigree Angels Trust, Help & Heal Animal Trust and Precious Paws Foundation that provide home and proper health care facilities to abandoned, injured and old animals. These bake sales not only increased her confidence and sense of pride, but also gave her two beautiful ‘indie canine’ kids from one of these NGOs.
“Ovenderful started growing beyond the regular circle of family and friends in a sudden way by word of mouth,” says Simran. Also a mother of a two-year-old boy, Simran currently reaches her audience widely through social media and indirect word of mouth. After receiving a particular order, Simran bakes packages and delivers herself within a given radius. For distant orders, she is in partners with a local logistics company. Simran is also in collaboration with a playschool and an organic food restaurant to provide them with their requirements on a daily basis.
At present, run by ‘a one woman army’, Ovenderful is self-funded. “For home baking ventures, revenue is linked to the time spent as well as the quality of ingredients used. Getting people accustomed to these factors as essential parameters that need to be paid for, takes time. I make sure that there is staggered investment at this stage so that I can continue to break-even before I move up to another level of investment,” explains Simran.
An entrepreneur with a toddler and a full-time job, Simran comes across some challenges. Managing pricing of her products and understanding her targeted audience are a few such hurdles. But Simran aims Ovenderful to be a sustainable venture extending beyond its current form. She also hopes it to become more inclusive in its targeted products and services.
Being an optimistic woman entrepreneur, Simran points out a few immediate plans for the future. First and foremost is to tie-up with relevant partners. She also plans to create an Ovenderful membership model for regular clients and identify a rental space with facilities such as pick-up point/take-away for regular bakes. In the next two year she wishes to establish a mountain artisanal café in Bangalore.