Divya Haldipur got her first oven as a Diwali gift from her Mother in November 2012. She baked her first cupcakes in that oven and uploaded their pictures on her newly created Facebook Page named Itsy Bitsy Bytes. The cupcakes turned out to be quite lucky for Divya as they helped her to kickstart her career as a professional baker. The first cake order which she received in December 2012 was quite a challenge as her client wanted her to make a fondant cake with small figures of animals. The assignment became successful and the success boosted Divya’s confidence to bake even better cakes. Since then, Divya Haldipur’s progress graph as a professional baker has gone up quite steadily. Till date, the home baker in Bangalore has baked more than 1300 customized cakes!
Divya Haldipur is a self-taught home baker and had no plans to become a professional baker. Before starting her career in baking, Divya worked for different corporate companies for almost 8 years. However, her inclination towards creativity prompted her to become a cake artist and start her own baking venture Itsy Bitsy Bytes.
Today, Divya Haldipur, the talented home baker from Bangalore joins us in this interview session. She shares her story and also reveals certain information that can be beneficial for all the budding cake artists who want to establish their careers in baking.
Hi Divya, welcome to this interview session of conflatingVisions. To start with, we would request you to tell us a few lines about yourself.
Thank you. Hi! I am Divya Haldipur, and I am the founder as well as the cake artist of Itsy Bitsy Bytes where I bake homemade cakes for every occasion. I am a fun loving and a creative person with a large interest in travelling.
Baking is now my full-time profession and I do it from home with the support of a very loving family. Prior to my career as a professional baker, I had 8 years of corporate experience. I have worked as a coach, a trainer as well as a process head in various companies.
Divya, how did you get started with baking? At what age did you bake your first cake?
I had the strong urge to find my true calling, which made me take the difficult decision of quitting a very well paying job. I began exploring my creative side and I set up a home based venture called “Kalavity the Art Boutique” where I made paper quilled jewellery, beaded jewellery, wall hangings and much more. The start that I got was inspiring and the journey brought me to where I knew I truly belonged – to the beautiful world of cake art!
From art and craft, I moved into making chocolates and still felt I could do something more. Then came cupcakes and finally the word – “fondant” entered my life through a Google search! That word gave me a new ray of hope and my journey of baking began there!
I baked my first cake in the year 2012 in a cake pot using my favourite secret family recipe – one that was made year after year during our birthdays since childhood, made by my dearest aunt and cousin.
Did you attend any baking classes to learn baking & pastry arts?
I am self-taught when it comes to fondant cake art and baking. However, I recently learnt the art of creating edible flowers as well as caricature people modelling from professional home bakers who visited Bangalore to take their classes.
When did you decide to become a professional baker and start Itsy Bitsy Bytes?
I never had any plans of becoming a professional baker. I began making homemade chocolates and I opened this page with no plan in mind. My dearest Mom gifted me an oven for Diwali in November 2012 and I baked my first batch of cupcakes.
The time I posted the pictures I received my first fondant cake order which was a cake with animals. It really scared me as I had no experience but my self-learning began from there.
Please tell us about Itsy Bitsy Bytes.
Itsy Bitsy Bytes has been a dream come true for me. I love helping people and this has enabled me to make my creations a big part of people’s special moments each time. I am really blessed to have baked over 1300 customized cakes so far and made a difference to so many lives through my art. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and is something I can never live without.
How was the feeling when you got your first order as a professional baker?
When I received my first fondant cake order, I was nervous as well as excited. I didn’t know how to make fondant. And this was an order that needed a fondant cake along with fondant animals. After watching loads of self-help videos, I managed to sail through and the customer was very happy. I got an unexpected surprise a few days later when my work was featured in Times Neighbourhood, Malleswaram.
What are some of the challenging cake ideas that you have executed till date?
Every cake I make is unique but the bike and the car cakes have been the most challenging all along mainly due to the time they consume and the attention to detail the look requires.
Most customers call in with various cake ideas they want to show on the cake. Bringing these cake ideas together on the cakes is quite a challenge but I love what I do.
What are some of the signature products of Itsy Bitsy Bytes? Which one is your personal favourite?
The most loved products of Itsy Bitsy Bytes are the fondant figurines I create. Each one is made with loads of love and a lot of attention is paid to bring the details. People love preserving my figurines rather than eating them and I get to hear that each time. It makes me so happy!
I have too many as my favourites but I loved one where a boy is on his knees proposing to the girl which I made for Valentine’s day depicting my husband and me!
Being a baker, you must have had to overcome many challenges. Please tell us about a few of them.
The initial journey was very difficult. Most items related to fondant art were not available in Bangalore. Customers search for pictures on the net and send us images of cakes they would like to have replicated on their special days. With many decorating tools not available finding alternatives was a challenge but I succeeded in doing so each time. Managing everything singlehandedly is always a challenge especially after marriage, but I am blessed with a very loving and an encouraging family.
Divya, narrate some of your success stories.
In April this year, I was invited by Facebook as a panelist to share my success story using Facebook as a medium for my business and this event was called “Boost your business with Facebook”. Along with 2 other chosen panelists, I addressed a gathering of around 400 women entrepreneurs and it made us happy to see how inspired they got by our success stories. My work has been published in magazines like Femina, The Talk, and even newspapers like Times of India, Bangalore Mirror, The Hindu, Indian Express and more. All these set-aside, each cake that I create makes my customer feel happy and special – that is true success to me.
What plans do you have to scale up the operations of Itsy Bitsy Bytes?
I currently take private classes on fondant decoration. I wish to start my channel on YouTube soon. Someday, I would love to own a cake boutique too.
Your advice to the budding cake artists who are looking to establish their careers in baking…
The world of cake art looks really colourful and would attract anyone towards it. It requires a person to have a huge amount of patience, a keen eye to detail, love for the art as well as dedication.
If you want to establish your careers in baking then don’t get disheartened to see the huge competition around you. Focus on sharpening your skills and make sure you give your 100% on each cake you bake. Treat each cake like your baby.
And one last question of this session Divya, if you have had one wish…
My biggest wish is to take up a professional course in baking from any leading baking school where I can learn and achieve much more.