Setting Up a Home-Bakery
2 years back around this time I was busy packing (stuffing) bags and checking off a bottomless “To Eat” list before leaving Mumbai after completing a short course in Bread and Patisserie. Having quit my job as the Content Manager of a food related website to pursue the course, I was going back to Delhi with new baking tricks but no prospects of a job whatsoever.
Opening a home based bakery was the next step. While there were a handful of home bakers gaining popularity in the city, (mainly for their fondant work) it was still not a concept bursting out of every 10th kitchen. Little did I know that the boxes to check before setting up a home bakery would be a whole colony of things to do. Having been a cook book baker and cook (yes, I coined that term myself so implied patenting) for 7 years I did not think setting up a passion based project would be such an arduous task.
Tedious planning goes on to setting up any business, however small. In this case concerns like- how the hell do I build a menu? What should the pricing be, where do I get packing material, where do I find cheaper raw material without compromising on quality? And top priority- What do I name my baby? I was determined to not start with a name that one would miss in passing. Tanya’s Cupcakes? There is no way that could be said without thinking of sexual innuendos guys. So coming up with Whisk A Wish was a 6 week long speed-breaker in my already slow moving set up. After many vetoes from friends and family on whatever names I did think of, I decided to go ahead with this despite the veto. And 20 months, I am hopping with a basket full of compliments for the name my heart directed me towards.
Now designing the menu was challenging. Involved a lot of experiments, many of them complete fails (No family members or buddies were harmed during the making of this menu, well induced sugar coma aside). I had to start somewhere so I did, with one experiment a day, which went for trials to at least 8–10 people of varying age etc.
With much help, encouragement, marketing and first few orders from loved ones I finally made it official in July 2013. Slowly things were falling into place. A few people reviewed my work, Good Food Magazine mentioned Whisk A Wish twice, which was a dream come true really, having read each and every issue. But an interview that DNA contacted me for along with 2 other home bakers really put all that trouble in perspective.
Months after the interview passionate bakers from all over the country contacted me via facebook, twitter and mail to ask for advice. From how useful the course really was to what kind of equipment's they should buy, they had all sorts of questions. Due to my disappointment in certain bakers I knew personally, who were too reluctant to help me when I started, I felt more than obliged to answer all the queries I could. Even today I often find myself wondering why people are afraid to help the “competition”. When there is no race here really!
The thing with people who truly love food is, in my opinion the multiplication of the joy it brings to you by sharing it with other people. Imagine reading a great book and not wanting to share it with other book lovers? Being hooked to a new track and only hearing it in private. I shudder at the thought of the possibility of such craziness.
So having gone through all of that, I decided to open up my page to fellow bakers, who probably have no clue how to start showcasing their potentially great products. With The Cookie Project I have my first new baker on board who specializes in all things crunchy and crumbly. The thing that attracted me most towards sampling their products were the huge range of healthier options. Mostly available in whole wheat, there are also options of flour less, sugarless, oat and honey cookies.
If you have made it till here, do me a favour and share this with people who you think cook and bake products that need to go outside the confines of their own homes and kitchen. It could be your grandmom, aunt or girlfriend’s over-talkative friend. If you think their baking is to be shared, shared it will be.
Ending this with a thank you note to each and every person who supported me and appreciated my baking. Every new order has been a huge encouragement (daisies, butterflies, rainbow etc., I know. But had to say it).