- By Akhileshwari Anand Raj
Anupama Darshan is a cake artist from Bangalore. She runs a home-based baking business called "Oven Delicacies", and specializes in theme-based customized cakes. She has been baking for over a year now and has created more than 100 cakes in this short duration. Her creations are unique, artistic and customized to reflect the client's profession/ interests/ hobbies or anything else that the client wants. She is also a flutist and loves travelling. Baking has always been her passion and is now her full-time profession. We got the chance to interview her as a part of our initiative to interview home bakers across India and to give them a platform to share their journey!
1. Tell us a bit about how your venture started out!
Baking has been my passion and I’ve always enjoyed it. After working as an IT professional for over 15 years, I wanted to do something on my own, something that I enjoyed. When I started baking for my family and friends, everyone loved it. Their feedback encouraged me to do more of it. That is how Oven Delicacies was born. The satisfaction that comes from doing what I love the most, every single day, is beyond words! Slowly people saw my work and orders kept coming. Since then there was no looking back.
2. What were the initial difficulties that you faced, and how has it helped you become the baker that you are today?
In the beginning when I had just started, not many were aware of my venture. This new profession that I had chosen was a total shift from what I had been doing for more than a decade. The orders that I was getting were very infrequent. For any new venture to be successful, we must first believe in ourselves and our abilities. It is very important to stay positive and focussed. There will always be ups and downs; highs and lows, but we must always stay rooted and be assertive.
My family has always been very supportive of what I do. They have always given me the freedom to do what I like and have always encouraged me to chase my dreams. Slowly I started making cakes for friends’ birthdays and family gatherings. I also created a page on Facebook and Instagram. Once people started seeing my work and tasted my cakes, orders kept coming and the feedback was very promising. Social media also helped me get more visibility. Within a year, I have created more than 100 cakes. I’m very happy about my decision to start this business and aspire to achieve many more milestones in this journey.
3. How do you decide on pricing? Do you have issues such as customers comparing your price to stores and asking for lower prices?
Pricing is based on many factors like the material cost, time and effort, amount of customization, design aspects of the cake and delivery. Home baking is relatively new in this country and not many people are aware of it. Though social media has played a major role in changing the face of baking, many people are still accustomed to bakeries. There are times when people compare the price and turn around time with bakeries. But it is important that we make them understand why we are different and better compared to bakeries. The quality, finesse and creativity that we bring to the table are what makes us home bakers stand out. Our work speaks for itself.
4. What is your signature dish and why do you love baking it?
Theme-based cakes are my speciality and coconut-almond pastry is my favourite dish. Creating cakes that represent one’s profession/ hobbies/ interests is something that I love making every single day. The joy it brings on their faces when they look at the cake makes all the hard work and effort totally worthwhile.
5. Do you face any challenge with delivery? How do you manage your deliveries?
Delivery is always a challenge in Bangalore, especially due to bad roads and traffic. Sometimes, the clients pick up the cake, which is the most convenient mode of delivery for me. Other times, if the client is unable to pick up, I send the cake to them by Uber. An extra tip and being polite to the cab driver usually does the trick.
6. What are your top three tips for any aspiring baker?
Believe in yourself, never lose hope and stay rooted. Discover the medium/technique that you are good at and perfect yourself. If your product quality and your work is good, then people will automatically come to you no matter what.
That was Anupama, and this is a truly inspiring story for all you lovely bakers and fans out there.
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