- By Rima Chakraborty
Ms Subhashini Ramsingh is a renowned cake artist, the winner of Cake Masters India - Top 10 Cake Artists 2018 and the founder of Fondbites, School of Sugar Art. Recently she has launched Fondbites, India's premium cake decorating magazine. She trains and mentors many bakers all around the world using her comprehensive online courses with a 24-hour support system. She is self-taught and her quest for teaching led her to the initiatives - 'Let's do it with Fondbites' and 'Cakes Unplugged', a Fondbites league. We recently had the opportunity to meet her in person at The Great Chennai Bake Show in Chennai and here are some interesting highlights from the same meet.
When did you first realise you wanted to pursue baking and cake decorating?
I'm a computer science engineer by education and I went on to work in the IT sector. To be more specific at i-flex (later taken over by Oracle) for a decade. I quit my job after my second child to make more time for my family. In less than a couple of years, I figured I could not sustain the new role of a homemaker. I wasn't made for it. I started looking for a better way to express myself. I tried developing hobbies of which baking was one.
This was around 2012. I soon saw myself getting more engrossed with baking and cake decorating. The sense of fulfilment I experienced after every bake and the positive feedback I received from those who tasted them made me realise that I wanted to pursue baking seriously. I honestly believe that it was baking which chose me rather than the other way round.
How was your journey since then until now?
It was amazing and always uphill. I always look forward and keep walking towards something new and fresh which I can work on. This keeps my journey very exciting.
What was the hardest part of this journey and how did you overcome those challenges?
The hardest part was to figure out what my niche was. I had to literally try each and everything to even decide let it go.
For example, I had to let go of the fact that I'm not majorly into pastries after having tried hard for 2 years. I spent over a lot of money on equipment that costed a bomb. Finally, I realised pastry is not my thing and I moved on. I do not regret it, but am happy I tried hard to figure out what I'm not very good at. It, in fact, made me confident about what I'm really good at. This is one such example of several things I've tried over the past years. I always consider the fact of trying something first before giving up as a success and not a failure.
What is your single biggest achievement till date and did your family play any role in that?
In that way, I should say my biggest and the most recent achievement of mine was the life-size Santa Claus cake. And yes, my family was my biggest support. Giving me my space to focus on my work and taking care of themselves without my help is the biggest support a family could ever give.
What's the hardest thing about being a home baker?
The hardest thing about being a home baker is to find a balance between family, work and our own self. It is important to keep ourselves happy and sane to focus on our work and be available to our family as well.
Any tips for our home bakers on how to price cakes?
Pricing is very intimidating to many novice home bakers. But once they get the math right, they will do well. The tip that I would like to leave them with is 'Do not be scared of your pricing. It is neither very low nor high. Never fear the judgement of being underpriced or overpriced. Only you know what kind of clients you cater to and you are the best judge to keep your business going'
Have you ever followed any marketing strategy to promote your brand?
Yes, I always work on my strategies. I keep changing them with time. The basic ones that I follow are being present in social media often, constantly coming up with new ideas, and creating new content.
How do you stay up to date on the latest trends in cakes?
On a daily basis, I browse through a lot of cakes on Google, Pinterest and Instagram. I follow a lot of artists working on trending techniques. Following hashtags/keywords on Pinterest and Insta is an easier way if one does not know artists to follow. I assess them observing the cakes that garner more attention than the others. So we know if something is trendsetting or otherwise. This involves investing a lot of time and it is a must.
When and why should consumers buy cakes from Home bakers and not bakeries?
You can buy cakes for your special occasions or even for your daily craving. Some bakers are into healthy bakes and you can plan your meal around them. Why should one buy from a home baker? for obvious reasons - because they are baked fresh on order and customised with care and attention. Each cake created by a home baker is as important to them as it is to the client who has ordered it.
How are home bakers from Chennai different from other Indian cities?
Are they? I don't think so. Every home baker is as unique as each individual. Everyone wants to create a niche for themselves. But being in the southernmost part of the country, the exposure to cake shows and other events per se is a bit inaccessible. But it's changing over time and we have learnt to live with what's best available to us.
Who do you look up to into this industry and why?
I look up to those who create platforms for bakers and cake artists and recognise them for their talent and those who bring artists together as a community to enrich the bond we share. The more we get to know each other, the better and stronger we grow as a community.
How can aspiring bakers or cake artists learn from you?
They can join Fondbites, School of Sugar Art. It is a cake decorating school which offers comprehensive courses on cake baking and decorating. They are long term online courses that give complete hands-on experience for the students in the comfort of their own home. Students from all over the globe are benefiting through this well thought out course content. The course not only enables every beginner to kick start their journey as a baker/cake decorator, but it also helps experienced bakers fine tune their skill. Constant support is provided during the entire course period. This is a unique feature that makes Fondbites courses a much sought after learning platform for anybody who aspires to step into the world of baking. For more details, they can visit https://www.fondbites.com/.
What do you think of HomeBakers.co.in ?
Homebakers.co.in is one of a kind platform which brings potential home bakers and their clients under a single umbrella. There are many clients who look to order cakes from a baker but may not know the bakers available in their locality. Hence they are unable to connect with each other. On the other side home bakers who are trying to establish themselves find very few avenues to market themselves. Homebakers.co.in plays a vital role in bridging this gap between the home bakers and their prospective customers. When everyone comes under one umbrella, the business of baking is made simple. The events that Homebakers.co.in organize in different cities are much needed at this point to bring the bakers together as a community for mutual benefit.
What advice would you give to aspirants bakers who want to pursue a career in baking?
Start slow. Do not get worked up if your business doesn't progress the way you want. Sit back and try to understand what you really want out of baking. Do not pressurise yourself to be something you are not. Keep upgrading yourself. Create a nice profile with a lot of cakes that you make for yourself. Do not wait for a client to order a cake to add to your profile. Try new recipes and techniques often. When it comes to orders, do only what you are very sure of. Do not experiment with your client's cake. Understand it will take years for your hard work to pay back. Be patient.
That was Ms Subhashini Ramsingh, all uncut for you lovely bakers and fans out there. She is a true inspiration and her ideas and patience make her stand out.
To keep getting inspired, do not miss out to get the latest updates on our events, blogs and newsletters on https://homebakers.co.in