In an exclusive conversation with SupportBiz, Katherine talks about her business venture, baking, entrepreneurship and more.
How long has Ms K Cupcakes been in operation?
We have been in operation since November 2011. That makes us six months old now.
What is your background? What were you doing prior to starting Ms K Cupcakes?
I am basically an Electronics and Communicatins engineer, who turned to writing and then to baking. At the moment, I am a freelance baker as well as writer.
How did you come up with the idea of starting this venture?
After several attempts and disasters, I mastered the art of baking about a year back. I came across quite a few people on blogs and Facebook baking in different parts of india and abroad, who lacked the spunk that I realised I could bring to the table. Also, since I am younger than most other bakers, Facebook is something I know my way around, in terms of marketing. So, I decided to start my own baking business, and take the help of Facebook.
Ms K Cupcakes started as a small-time venture just to earn a little extra pocket money. I started up a Facebook page, and started taking orders from friends and relatives. Business soon picked up, and my little venture grew and grew. Now, I bake close to 200-300 cupcakes a week and, sometimes, up to 10 personalized cakes as well.
What would you say about the scope of a niche baking venture in Bangalore?
For me, starting my venture in Bangalore was a natural choice, since I live in Bangalore. I love being placed in Electronic City, where the crowd is young, well-to-do and very experimental by nature. I have found that the youth in Bangalore love anything chic and quirky, and that is exactly what my cupcakes had to offer. So, I would say a niche baking venture in Bangalore has a wonderful scope!
How big is your team, presently?
Right now, we are a really small team. My sister, Irene Crystal, is my right hand. She is great with innovation, and keeps a level head when I'm stressed out. She is a saviour in times of crisis. My mother, Christina S, helps out with the dirty chores of baking – cleaning, washing, and organizing. One of my friends, Kushal, who works at Infosys, Bangalore, helps me source all my supplies. He also helps me strategize and meet clients. Some of my other friends - Komala,Tarun and Kalveer – help me generate marketting strategies and give me perspective.
Do you have a retail outlet where you stock your products?
At the moment, we do not have a retail outlet. We are a home-based business as of now, but hope to soon find a retail space, since I am so packed through the week and could use some extra space.
What are the major types of cupcakes that you bake? Apart from cupcakes, do you specialise in any other products?
I mostly bake chocolate-based, vanilla-based, and red-velvet based cupcakes. I also do various customized cakes for various occasions like birthdays, weddings, and corporate dinners.
Which of your products are the most popular?
My most popular product has to be chocolate cupake filled with peanut butter and frosted with dark chocolate. Also, my red-velvet and lemon-curd cupcakes are new, and people seem to be very fond of these.
How do you get your clients?
Most of my clients come via my friends and relatives, and word-of-mouth referrals from other satisfied customers. I have clients from various fields - I have a huge IT crowd, little children, a lot of designers ordering for the launch of their of their stores. I have friends who work for the Royal Challengers Bangalore team, and through them, we got an order for cupcakes from the team.
What are your expansion plans in the near future?
I hope to open a store maybe six months down the line. It would be a boutique shop, something like a ‘Cupcake Bar’.
How do you deal with competition from similar businesses?
There is fierce competition in the baking business in Bangalore. I think the key to staying ahead of your competitors is innovation and having something new to offer all the time, so that you stay on the minds of people. I have been fortunate to have some very loyal clients, though, and so, have not had to really worry on that count.
What are the major challenges that you face?
I would say the ever-growing competition is one of the major challenges that I face. Also, there is the challenge of delivering orders on time, since we are a very small team. Sometimes, when I have 3-4 deliveries to go, it becomes quite stressful to do them on time.
What have been your proudest moments as an entrepreneur?
I recently catered cupcakes to a fashion house for an event, and got a large number of clients via that event. That was the point when I realised that "I have arrived!" That would be my proudest moment so far, as an entrepreneur.
What would be your advice to an aspiring entrepreneur?
I would like to tell an aspiring entrepreneur: ‘Do what you like to do.’ That is the key to being passionate about your business all the time, and one of the keys to success.
Contact: Electronic City, 2nd Phase, Bangalore - 560100
Phone: 9916790969, 9886471958