In this issue of our interview series, "What's Cooking", we are curating the journey of Ms. Bhavita. Her story is a clear case of magical change in a girl's life with unconditional support from her husband.
A small town girl, with no ambitions and career dreams, she was going with the flow of life. She did her BA in vernacular medium and then did her PGDCA. After her diploma in computer application, she did few projects in Rajkot, where she was born and brought up. She had shifted to Ahmedabad in Dec 2008 after her marriage. She joined a computer institute to upgrade her skills as she was planning to make a career in computer applications. In Ahmedabad, she felt the need to improve her proficiency in English language and joined a well known local institution. She found her love of teaching and public speaking during these times. This course in English language proved to be a great confidence booster for Bhavita. She served two schools as a computer teacher and was taking tution classes at home to keep herself gainfully occupied besides taking care of her new home. The feeling of financial independence was magical, she said.
In Sept 2012, she was blessed with a son and a new journey of motherhood had started. She took a sabbatical of three years to enjoy her motherhood. During these times, she learnt chocolate making and participated in a local exhibition to showcase her homemade assorted chocolates. It was good exposure to begin with though she fell short to recover stall charges fully out of her sales! 😊
Bhavita: Thanks ! I will take up further from what is already mentioned. 😃 It was in April 2016, when I got my first cake order. While watching beautiful designer cakes on TV and social media, I knew that it's time to get some training to reach that level. I enquired in a few places but the cost of training was very prohibitive. A contact from my first exhibition became my trainer at one fourth of the price of professional courses. I learnt fondant and designer cakes from her. That proved to be a milestone for me in upgrading my skills. And I learnt my lesson in the importance of networking.
Bhavita: Yeah, this training has boosted my confidence to a new level. I was getting orders consistently and at this time, I thought of taking home baking seriously as a profession. I am glad, I did. With regular orders, I felt the need to upgrade my kitchen. I bought a second hand OTG of Rs.1500.
With her love for teaching and public speaking, she had also started her baking workshops for individuals and groups. She is conducting workshops in Jamnagar too. Till date, she has trained more than 250 women. Few of them have started their own baking businesses.
Bhavita has seen consistent growth since she started her business. In 2017, she had named her enterprise as "Cakes Indeed" . It was in 2018, with ever increasing business, she felt the need to have a bigger place for her kitchen and she rented a bigger space and better equipment to upgrade her game.
Petpuja: That's a great step. Was it only a kitchen place you had rented?
Bhavita: I set up my complete kitchen in a place near my home and also set up my dessert studio as per my plans in 2018. I made investments in painting the shop premises, stand mixer for whipping cream, refrigerator, deep fridge, furniture, delicate lighting, air condition etc. It was like a dream come true. My FSSAI was in place and so were all the trade registrations. I was taking part in different exhibitions which is a great way to showcase and get new references and connections. I was doing great as a baker and chocolate maker. Year 2018 ended with 200 kg of cakes and 13 kg of chocolates sale. In less than 2 years, I have moved from the first order of 1.5 kg to 200 kgs.
Petpuja: What’s the usp of your products?
Bhavita: I make fresh and customised products.
Petpuja: Over the years, how do you perceive the changes in the baking market?
Bhavita: I see a paradigm shift in the baking market. The market is becoming more and more competitive. I still see that the market is very big and ready for new ideas especially in cake creativities. We see many changes in terms of customer requirements, expectations, availability of designer cakes, increase in budgets, people’s willingness to celebrate small occasions with cakes and corporate events. Social media has played a great role in these changes. One big change can be expressed in one sentence “Previously customers were choosing cakes from albums and options available therein at a bakery whereas today, a customer brings his/her own photos and comes with their ideas to design and customise their own cakes”.
Petpuja: What is your forte in baking?
Bhavita: My speciality is theme based cakes, combination of cream and fondant cake and customised cakes.
Petpuja: What are your future plans?
Bhavita: I plan to set up a bigger facility that provides not only the cakes but cake based desserts.
I would also like to explore new methods in cake making, meet new cake making experts and learn innovative ideas.
Petpuja: These days, people are very health conscious. What’s your take on making baking healthy?
Bhavita: People have become very health conscious and are opting for wheat flour cakes, sugar free chocolates and other products. But I have noticed that when there is a special occasion to celebrate with cakes or chocolates, people don’t think much and want to enjoy and let others enjoy. As it's not on an every other day, they are eating these high caloric cakes, people do want to induldge. Actually, it will not degrade health and in fact will improve mental health, happiness and bonding amongst people which is also a good way of being healthy.Petpuja: What makes you feel that you are doing the right thing and your customers are happy?
Bhavita: I think repeat orders and the number of reference orders I receive are big pointers which show that my customers are happy.
Petpuja: How do you take critical comments from clients?
Bhavita: I always take it as an opportunity to improve.
Petpuja: Do you have any interesting experience which you may want to share with the readers?
Bhavita: I got an order for two cakes of 5 kg each for a social gathering at a party plot.It was a twin celebration event - father's birthday and mundan of the kid. One of the cakes was two tier cream and the other was three tier hanging cake. It was my first hanging cake order which I was very eagerly waiting to serve. I along with my husband went to deliver. Everybody there was waiting eagerly for the cakes. I went with two cakes in a cab and my husband carried a stand for hanging cake in another vehicle. We both were very nervous to arrange the cake hanging on the stand. But finally we did it successfully and I will always remember that moment when guests were capturing pics of our cake. It was a thrilling experience which ended happily with smiles on the face of my client and her guests. That was really a memory I will cherish for a long time.
Petpuja: How is your family supporting your enterprise?
Bhavika: Whatever I am today and everything I have learnt and have achieved including my future endeavours would not have been possible without the support of my family. They always stand by me and motivate me to do something more. I am really blessed and fortunate to have such family support to fulfil my dreams.
Petpuja: What is your message to women, who may be exploring home baking as a business?
Bhavita: The first step is definitely difficult but once you have taken it, you just need to be positive. You will see that the supporting factors and sources will always be more than the hindrances and difficulties. I have a strong belief in Shrimad Bhagwat Geeta which says - “Do your karma, the rest will follow”.
Bhavita can be contacted through her facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/cakesindeedbybhavita
Petpuja wishes her a great future!