Meet four enterprising bakers who have become successful entrepreneurs
The bakery goods market in India reached a value of around $ 8 billion in 2019 and is poised for further growth, according to market research company IMARC.
Several women entrepreneurs have successfully explored this passion for baked goods and turned it into business, often with the odds stacked against them. While some have left behind cushy corporate jobs and chanced upon baking, others knew they were destined to bake early in their life.
Regardless of their journey, all roads have led these women entrepreneurs to bake and sell.
Jasmine Lulla, Cakes N’ Craft
They say passion is what makes a person live and this rings true in Jasmine Lulla’s life.
Being diagnosed with cancer did not threaten the baker in Jasmine Lulla who continued to work and expand her bakery brand Cakes N’ Craft, resting only during chemotherapy.
In fact, baking turned out to be the a meditative place where she felt her troubles melt away and she was able to beat cancer within a year.
An experiment in her home kitchen has now grown into chain of 15 Cakes N’ Craft stores, with daily sales of over 500 cakes and revenue of Rs 8 crore.
Turning to baking for the first time when she was in the seventh standard, and revisiting the passion after a degree in business administration, and a marriage, she has baked a wide range - from minion themed to gravity-defying cakes.
Monaz Irani and Persis Irani, Plate & Pint
Monaz Irani knew early in life she wanted to be part of the food industry. After completing her bachelor’s in Commerce from HR College of Commerce & Economics, Mumbai, Monaz pursued a degree in Hospitality from the Institute of Hotel Management and Diplome de Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu, London.
In addition to helping with her mother’s bakery Delifresh, Monaz started Plate & Pint café two years ago in Kemps corner, Mumbai.
Monaz says it is an attempt at replicating the comfort and warmth of a person’s home. Besides the regular parameters such as price and portion size, she says their daily interaction with guests sets the café apart from its competitors.
While her mother Persis Irani takes care of cleanliness, discipline, presentation and service, Monaz looks after the kitchen and service operations.
Sahithya Raj, The Sweetooth
Sahithya Raj devours sweets and desserts and an avid baker as well. While working at IBM, she began catering to orders of brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and muffins from her apartment kitchen under the name The Sweetooth. She started getting repeat customers during festive season such as Diwali and decided to pursue the passion in December 2017.
The entrepreneur started all over again as an intern at a prestigious four-star hotel in Hyderabad and expanded her business by opening a small production unit in Madhapur in March 2018.
An electronic engineer with an MBA degree, Sahithya now runs a successful B2B business supplying desserts and breads to cafes and restaurants across the city. Some of her notable clients include Barista Coffee, HMS host flight kitchens, Makers of Milkshakes, Creamstone, Zee Loft cafes, Carnival Cinemas, among others.
Incubated at WE Hub, a Government of Telangana’s incubator for women entrepreneurs, The Sweetooth is famed for fusion desserts like Gulab Jamun Cheesecake and Butterscotch Rasmalai.
Ruchyeta Bhatia, Love & Cheesecake
Thirty-three-year-old Ruchyeta Bhatia found her calling in the food industry after leaving a cushy corporate job and selling her first venture related to corporate training and adventure sports.
An Economics graduate from Jai Hind College in Mumbai, she was ready to start school at the Culinary Institute of America after completing six month’s work in a commercial kitchen. It was while fulfilling this criterion at Mumbai’s Marriott Hotels that she learnt the nuances and challenges involved in preparing and delivering desserts.
Ruchyeta wanted to build a scalable national dessert brand with consistent product quality and set on the entrepreneurial journey with pastry chef and her now co-founder Amit Sharma.
What began as an experimental kitchen of 300 sq ft in Bandra has now evolved into a chain of premium dessert cafes and full-service restaurants. With more than 250 employees, the business is growing at 25-30 percent YoY, raking in a revenue of Rs 35 crore last year.
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan