SupportBiz presents an exclusive chat with Bayiravi, where she talks about Bee The Baker, baking, entrepreneurship and more.
Since when has Bee The Baker been in operation?
As a brand, Bee The Baker has been in operation since June 2011; that is when I decided to start selling my baked goodies to friends and relatives and set up a Facebook page for my business. In December 2011, I quit my day job, and turned to Bee The Baker full-time.
What were you doing prior to starting Bee The Baker?
Before starting Bee The Baker, I was heading the events team at Kingdom of Dreams. Prior to that, I was in the events team at Wizcraft International.
How did you come up with the idea of starting Bee The Baker?
I discovered the joys of baking in March 2011, and have been hooked to it ever since. I come from a conservative Brahmin family, where even eggs are a strict no-no. I did not grow up seeing my mother baking at home.
Hence, baking was a first-time experience for me, and yet, I took to it immediately. I realized that I have an immense passion for baking. I found that baking is not as difficult as it might sound to a newbie, but that one can work wonders with a little imagination.
I began experimenting a lot with different flavours and substances, and the results started getting better and better. My husband, friends and family convinced me that I should start marketing and selling my products, and finally, I decided to do that.
What are your signature products?
I bake a variety of cupcakes, cookies, cakes and biscotti. Apart from that, I also bake cookies and cakes for dogs, using special, dog-friendly ingredients.
Which of your products are the most popular?
I think my ‘filter coffee cupcake’, chocolate-chip cookies, almond chocolate biscotti and my chocolate banana cake are the most popular. My dog biscuits and cakes are also fairly popular.
Do you have a retail outlet for your products?
No, I do not have a retail outlet at the moment. I work from my home kitchen, and sell my products from home as well. How do you get your clients? I do not undertake any kind of advertising. Most of my clients come through word-of-mouth, that is through referrals by clients who have sampled my wares and liked them.
I also get some clients through my Facebook page, and through my website.
Tell us about your team.
I am the only person handling all the baking, but I am assisted by a close-knit team that I am very proud of. I have a close friend acting as my Brand Manager, who comes up with ideas to promote my Facebook page and the image of Bee The Baker.
Then, there are a number of neighbours and friends who act as designers, photographers, consultants and visualisers as and when required.
What are your expansion plans in the near future?
It is quite challenging to work from my home kitchen, as it limits my possibilities to a large extent. I would like to move my work to a commercial kitchen that is centrally located. I am positive that that will aid my business a great deal.
I need a space where I can bake and sell out of as well. In the long run, I would love to set up a café of my own; that’s a big-time dream of mine, but there is a long way to go before that dream is accomplished.
How do you deal with competition from similar businesses?
I try to keep ahead of my competitors by constantly innovating, by continuously coming up with new products, the use of new substances and flavours, and different methods of packaging. I am constantly in an endeavour to create something unique, and I think that is my USP.
I am aware of my competitors and keep monitoring them closely. I keep track of their products and the trends that they create, and try to stay ahead of them.
What are the major challenges that you face?
Baking from my home kitchen is a major challenge, as I mentioned earlier.
Apart from that, I am the only person who handles all the baking for Bee The Baker. It can become quite stressful and exhausting when there are large orders pending. It is difficult to obtain efficient and interested staff at a reasonable cost, who I can train to share my baking workload.
Then, there is the challenge of having to be physically present all the time. This is not like normal office work, where you can choose to work from any place. I have to be present in my home kitchen constantly if I want to keep up a steady business.
What have been your proudest moments as an entrepreneur?
When I look back to the beginning of Bee The Baker, I am amazed by the long way I have come. In such a short frame of time, people have started recognizing me and my products, and have started loving them. It makes me immensely proud whenever I think of my journey as an entrepreneur so far.
Bee The Baker has been written about in a few newspapers and magazines as well, and that media coverage has also been through word-of-mouth publicity. That is also something that makes me greatly proud. My business was recently written about in a story in Outlook, and I was the only baker chosen from the whole of Gurgaon – a fact that both thrilled and humbled me.
I also do baking workshops for children called ‘Bake With Bee’, where they have lots of fun learning to bake from scratch. Children in my workshop are allowed to make a mess, for that is the way they learn.
Each of my workshops has been a greatly satisfying experience for me, and it makes me very proud when I learn that the participants have enjoyed the workshops and been inspired to make something of their own.
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
To an aspiring entrepreneur, I would say: ‘Think big. Think of your business as a brand.’
I see a lot of people who just undertake a business as a pastime, but do not take it seriously enough. I would like to tell them to start considering their business as a brand and build it as a brand, only then will they go places.
Corporate Website: http://www.beethebaker.com/