Passion is something which comes from one’s inner self and it never goes unnoticed. There are numerous inspiring stories around us where we have seen people becoming successful after they turned their passion into a viable career option. In all such success stories one thing is common – the “Do what you love” attitude of the doers. Today we have with us Sandhya Parthasarathy who chose her passion for baking over a corporate job. “DREAM and BELIEVE in your DREAM. Challenges are part of your journey and it’s those challenges that make your success even more rewarding,” says Sandhya.
In this inspiring session with conflatingVisions, Sandhya Parthasarathy, the young lady behind Cake My Heart narrates her experiences as an entrepreneur. And, we believe, the session will also inspire you!
Hi Sandhya, welcome to conflating Visions. Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am a software engineer by qualification and a home baker and cake decorator by passion. I run the studio Cake My Heart. What started out as a hobby has now transformed into having my own space where in I take customised orders and classes. I started baking during my IT days as a break from the long monotonous hours. I’ve been baking since 4 years now.
Tell us about your venture Cake My Heart.
Cake My Heart aims at giving every client the taste of freshly baked preservative-free cakes. Our products are popular because they are mostly egg free unless the client specifies otherwise. One myth that I have managed to change among my clients is that; ‘Egg-less cakes aren’t as tasty as the ones with egg.’ Apart from that we also specialise in Vegan and Gluten free bakes.
Sugar Art customized cakes and dessert table set ups are our speciality.
We also take classes for those who are interested in mastering the art of baking and sugar art.
You were working as a software professional in an MNC before launching Cake My Heart. What made you quit a stable job and start something of your own?
As an IT employee I was always looking for a break from the monotonous life, that’s how baking happened to me. At first it was just a hobby but soon it turned out to be more than that. After a long day at work I would come home to bake. One led to the other and soon I was reconsidering about what I actually want and where my heart lies.
The answer was simple, the joy I see on peoples face after having my cupcake or a macaroon was worth a whole lot more than an IT job. That was when I decided to quit my job, not knowing what lies ahead taking the biggest risk of my life.
Today not only do I take custom orders I also teach what I love- The art of simple home baking.
How big is your team?
As of now it’s just me. I soon would like to expand hiring more people.
And, how big you wish to become in the coming days?
I’d like to expand and have better classes and have more people knowing the kind of work I do. I host out station home bakers who need a space to teach baking that is something I’m concentrating on so that every baker in town gets a chance to explore new areas of baking and sugar art.
Sandhya, please tell us how do you differentiate your products from your competitors. Where is your competitive edge?
Our cakes and baked products are made to order. We don’t use any preservative or chemicals to improve shelf life. Since our products all contain premium ingredients sourced from the best stores it reflects on the end product too. We specialise in gluten free and vegan diets which is on the rise these days. Having a healthy option in what you eat has been our motto. Our best sellers are our Olive oil Belgian chocolate cupcakes and Vegan and Gluten free Cinnamon Cookies etc.
We strictly are against using anything out a tin (that has been packed and preserved). All our berries, compotes and fruit fillings use fresh and seasonal fruits and berries setting us apart from our counterparts.
As for the classes, I take private sessions and customised classes based on each person’s availability, requirement and feasibility.
Narrate some of your success stories.
Recently after a client picked up a two tiered Superhero themed cake in the evening, I got a call from them late in the night asking me step out of my house. I was a little taken aback but when I went out and saw them beaming at me I was really surprised. They had come all the way home just to let me know that the cake was super hit and everybody in the party enjoyed every bit of it. I don’t think I’ll forget this gesture from the client anytime soon. This is what motivates me to do better each time.
Watching kids looking your cake at a party in awe and adults’ refusing to believe that the thing standing in front is them is cake makes my job as a sugar artist exciting and thrilling. This is exactly what happened when I had made 2 feet tall Minnie mouse cake.
Not just with themed cakes, my clients have expanded to specially abled kids loving my gluten free and healthy bakes and crave for some of my vegan brownies. I watch them in awe as they gulp down their favourite treats.
How do you promote Cake My Heart?
I believe in getting genuine clients. Those people who have heard from me through word of mouth and know the kind of work I am doing and appreciate my efforts. So I haven’t got myself a website yet. It’s just been Facebook and word of mouth.
What are the challenges in this business and how do you overcome them?
Firstly, People expect you to do well in a regular 9 to 5 job. They cannot digest the fact that there are careers outside that as well. Asking people to take me serious was the most difficult part of my job.
Secondly, there are a lot of commercial outlets in the city that churn out cakes on an hourly basis. Explaining/ Convincing the client that a home baker is different from those outlets was the most difficult part. The quality of our ingredients, time and effort spent and the end result; all of this sets us apart from our commercial counterparts.
A home baked cake is whole lot more than a regular cake, it has the best of the best ingredients, tried and tested recipe and a self-taught hand behind it. So it is not going to come cheap. It’s very difficult to source the best ingredients and make a cost effective product for a customer but we try to do just that. Over the years I’ve realised that only the best that goes in will give you the best results. The strategy here is to make clients understand the kind of products we use and also their health benefits as opposed to locally mimicked counterparts.
Rate yourself out of 10 as an entrepreneur.
Being my biggest critic I’d rate myself 7, looking back at my growth over the years. Baking was mere hobby when I started out. But over the years I’ve explored myself and being self taught it took me lot of trial and errors to get where I am today.
I’m still far away from being perfect. Ask me again tomorrow!
Your advice for young entrepreneurs…
“DREAM and BELIEVE in your DREAM“
Challenges are part of your journey and it’s those challenges that make your success even more rewarding.
And, one last question Sandhya, if you have had one wish…
I see Cake My Heart as a place where every home cook would go to polish their skills and kick start their dream as a Baker and a Cake decorator.
I wish to see very home baking their own preservative free cakes and breads and leading a healthier life style.