• Pradnya Punekar

Bake Off : Turning a hobby into a nationwide home run cake business

Read how a childhood baker transitioned from the construction industry into the world of creativity, and how her home kitchen is attracting customers from various states of India.


Do you have a sweet tooth? Get ready to get high on this entrepreneurial story soaked in sweet adventure.


 

She is an enterprising entrepreneur who transitioned from the construction industry into the creative world. She inherited and ran her family’s construction business but her passion for creativity leaped beyond her comfort zone, into the adventurous entrepreneurial journey.


The detailing and perfection in her work adds a touch of happiness and adventure into her creations and brings along big smiles on the face of her customers. What makes her story all the more inspiring is how she overcomes the challenges of running a business in B-Town and with each passing year grows and expands it to the next level.


Meet Tejashri Hindalgekar Founder of Cake Fantasy. She is based in a small town in India, Belgaum and runs Cake Fantasy from her home Kitchen. Cake Fantasy was started in 2013 with an idea to keep herself busy at the same time pursue her hobby and balance but at the same time be able to balance her home and daughter’s needs.


She says “I didn’t have the slightest idea that, cake fantasy would grow into a huge business, that one day I have to start employing people to assist me with my daily orders”.

Her love for baking customized cakes is visible in her creations. What was once a childhood hobby has turned into a growing business and is moving her into the direction of making her one of the leader’s in the world of baking. She baked the first customized birthday cake on her daughter’s birthday. It was loved by all, to an extent that it got her the first order. Ever since then she has not looked back.




She is a classic example for modern entrepreneurship.She made the best use of technology

and social media platforms to set up and grow her business. Apart from taking up baking classes, she indulges herself into lots of research online, watching YouTube videos, interacting and learning new skills from other bakers from around the world through social media platforms.


From baking 1 cake per month to today baking approximately 150 cakes per month, cakes from her kitchen are attracting customers from all over the state of Karnataka and Goa.


She has a vision to set up a cake studio which specialises in baking customised cakes.


We spoke to Tejashri about her journey and sharing her story with the readers at Katha


 

What motivated and inspired you to start your business?


It was my daughter’s 3rd birthday in 2015 and I was quite keen and excited to bake a customized cake and give the experience of a customized cake to my guests. The amateur baker back in me ended up reading lots of online blogs/articles and researched on Google and YouTube.


I was new into the world of baking and was not aware of ingredients required and it’s availability in the market. So I Googled again. What made it all the challenging for me was, living in small town city. Ingredients required for baking are not easily available in Belgaum city even today.



But my passion for baking and love for my daughter made me do all the hard work. After days of online research and spending long hours on the roads of my city, I gathered all the ingredients, put in hours of hard work and baked a wonderful cake. To my surprise my guests were in awe of the cake.


I had baked a princess castle, both the design and the taste was loved by one and all. After the party I received many calls of appreciation from family and friends.


CAKE FANTASY was born that day in true sense.


My passion for baking, creativity and happy smiling guests/customers made me start my own business. Ever since I was a child I was very passionate about baking, I’ve inherited this passion from my mother who bakes delicious cakes and is an amazing cook.




I was born in a family which inherited a family business in the field of construction. My family is very supportive and I grew up with the thought that, I will join my family business one day and will continue with it forever. As soon I completed my bachelor in business administration I entered my family business. We all know that the construction industry demands long hours of working, and operates in harsh working conditions. It can get extremely demanding and it did for me as well. Running my family business got all the more challenging after my daughter was born. Work life balance was nil and it made me very stressed. It made me think. I never wished to be a stay at home mom but at the same time I wanted a good work life balance. In the process of reflection I realized that I had lost my hobby, which I am very passionate about. I was craving to get my hands into creativity, because I love it.


That was the turning point in my life, which made me look back and think. I did a lot of reflection and decided to pursue my hobby. It was extremely hard for me to quit my 30 year old family business. It felt like a mother separating herself from her child, but I had to make a decision for my own child. With a brave heart I decided to pursue my hobby and looking back I feel I made the right decision in my life.



 

Tell us about your business?


We are into baking homemade cakes for all occasions. Our specialty is baking customized cakes. We aim to bake customers' dreams through our creations and serve delicious quality cakes. We also conduct cooking and baking classes, but with cake fantasy growing rapidly, our major focus has now shifted into baking cakes and customizing it as per our customers needs. We have customer orders from all over the state of Karnataka and Goa. Our vision is to set up a cake studio which specialists in baking customized cakes.



 

Tell us about initial days of your business?


Big dreams begin with small steps

While I loved baking I was amateur in the world of baking, which meant I started from scratch. Early days I indulged myself in lots of online research, reading about baking, watching YouTube videos, connecting and networking with bakers from around the world. I made the best use of technology that was available to me, and it has helped me to a great extent to develop my baking skills. My business exists and has grown because of technology and social media platforms. During the initial days I baked cakes at home and provided samples to my neighbors, who in turn provided feedback to me. This went for a few months, until one day one of my aunt suggested that I should join baking classes and learn professional techniques. She introduced me to one of her baker friend. I learnt advanced baking techniques from her. In the process of learning, trial and errors.



One step at a time I had started climbing up the baking ladder to become a professional baker, which ended up in receiving orders. My family and my best friends Siyona and Pooja extended great support to get new orders for me.






What was once a hobby and dream had begun to manifest into reality. It was time to take the next small step, and that was to learn new baking skills and create customized cake. I’ve always been very fascinated with customized creations and I was keen to create customized cakes for my customers.


The idea was to give experience of a lifetime to my customers and create their dream into my cakes. I spent hours in research, watching YouTube videos, and enrolled into various baking groups on various social media platforms. I did fail many times, especially during my initial days. Customization is not easy and it needs lots of detailing. But I continued to put in my efforts to try new designs.


Like they say “Practice makes man perfect” it did to me as well.

 

What were the initial steps taken to set up your business and have it up and running?


Since I live in B-Town it was quite challenging for me to set up my business, especially because the ingredients required for baking aren’t easily available. Also the pricing strategy needs to be worked in an effective way. Hence, as a first step I did lots of research, understood the baking market, the pricing strategy, the customer mindset. I interacted with a few friends to get first hand information.


The second step was to buy the necessary equipment required for baking,especially for bulk orders and large quantities of cakes. I traveled to cities like Goa, Bangalore and procured all the equipment, ingredients, decorative items etc.


Third step was to create social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram. Social media has helped me a lot to create awareness and grow my business. It is the key to my business growth.



 

What challenges did you face ?


Everyday, every order I receive brings new challenges. Being a B-Town entrepreneur is extremely challenging. Some of the biggest challenges I face are :


  • The constant struggle to find required ingredients for baking. Especially with customization we need specific items. I visit Goa often to procure these items.

  • The power supply is unpredictable, which makes it extremely challenging, Since baking is completely dependent on electricity.

  • Pricing is another big challenge. Since our competitors are stores/shops/restaurants etc who bake in bulk. Customers compare the prices, hence we have to be well aware and work out the pricing strategy time and again.


How did you overcome the challenge ?


I recall an incident. During the initial days one of my regular customer had placed an order for cake. It was their daughter’s birthday and they had placed the order about a week ago. I had made all the preparations a day in advance. I woke up early on the day of delivery, to know that there was a sudden breakdown of electricity. I was very nervous. I opened my kitchen cabinet, pulled out the pressure cooker and baked the cake in it to see that the cake was half burnt.Into tears, I rushed to my mom’s house and baked the cake all over again. I did deliver the cake but was delayed. I was very unhappy as cake is a show stopper for birthday celebrations .


That night I was assured that I had picked the right business and that no matter how big the challenges will be in coming days, cake fantasy will continue baking delicious cakes for its customers.

 

What do you love about running your business ?


I am very passionate about baking and creativity. What I love the most about baking is creating customized cakes. It’s designing, conceptualizing, bringing out the happiness and adventure through artwork gives me sheer happiness.


She adds “Beyond this what gives me immense happiness is “Happy Smiling Customers”.

It brings a sense of satisfaction when I see my customers happy”


How do you keep yourself motivated through difficult times ?


My husband, my parents and my best friends support and motivate me. Through all the challenging and difficult times they have stood by me like a rock and have motivated me to keep going. My husband, my parents and my best friends





Alongside my customers have always supported and motivated me through challenging times. I have built a relationship with my customers and I strongly believe that a customer centric business will always overcome hard times and grow.


Do you have a business philosophy ?


I strongly believe in integrity and hard work. They are the 2 major pillars of my business and have been the major contributors towards the growth of my business.


What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs ?


Being an entrepreneur begins with promising yourself to be resilient. Be prepared to face many challenges and difficulties along the journey, but remember to never give up. Also as an entrepreneur you need to be multi skilled, learn new skills, technologies and keep yourself well informed. That’s the only way to grow your business.


If you wish to create your dream cake and satisfy your sweet tooth fantasy, please place your order with Cake Fantasy-Tejashree at +91-8095580491

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