1. What is the backstory to the beginning of your homemade delicacies?
It was all accidental. I had so much free time during the lockdown, so I started exploring new recipes and trying unique flavours. We all were health-conscious in those days, so I decided to make something healthy and tasty. I have a sweet tooth and at the end of a meal, I need something sweet and makhana (fox nuts). Makhana has a lot of health benefits and we also know the importance of ghee. I mixed the two things to make it healthy and nutritious; everybody loved that combination. I decided to start a small-scale home business that promoted healthy delicacies.
2. What are your thoughts on healthy snacking?
We all need that 5 pm snack; hence I thought choosing healthy and fresh snacks over packaged and processed munchies is always a good choice.
3. What are the various delicacies prepared at Godwa?
Makhana Ladoos, Chocolate Coconut Ladoos, Besan Ladoo, Suji Ladoo, Chocolate Walnut Fudge, Nutty Mawa Gujiyas, Chocolate Barks, and Roasted-Flavored Makhanas.
4. What inspired you to create the makhana ladoos?
My Sweet Tooth
5. What are the different flavors in roasted makhana?
We have Cheddar Cheese, Peri Peri, Tomato, Salted, Tangy Masala and Caramelized flavours in roasted makhana.
6. What flavours do chocolate barks come in?
The flavours are Gulkand, Coffee- Caramel and Salted Nuts.
7. Is there a special menu for special occasions?
Yes, the menus are different as per the occasion.
8. What difficulties did you encounter while preparing the delicacies?
You cannot decide on the standard recipe in one go. You have to keep preparing the dish until it’s perfect. It’s all a trial and error game. Find what’s working in your favour and make the delicacy desirable. The quality of the product has to justify the cost of the product. It is vital to use good quality ingredients. Price your product correctly so that it does not affect your profit margin but also goes with the quality of the product.
9. Do you accept orders from outside Pune, given that you are in Pune?
Yes, I accept orders from all over India, but the menu differs.
10. What advice would you give other women entrepreneurs?
Small ideas and the courage to start something of your own will give you a lifetime of independence, will make you stronger, and the rest sky is the limit.
1. Is there a relationship between the names magic and oven?
Yes. When we first came up with the name ‘The Magic Oven’, we were pretty happy. The word magic represents the magical taste of our products and the oven is a word that describes a bakery perfectly. So yes, there is a relationship between the names Magic and Oven.
2. When did you first bake a cake, and how old were you?
I baked my first cake when I was 16 years old.
3. What are your ideas on branding?
From my perspective, the quality of your products builds your brand. Currently, I am focusing on improving the quality of our products.
4. What has surprised you the most about owning a business?
The thing that surprised me the most about owning a business is independence. I can be creative in my ways and I can work on my ideas.
5. Describe a handful of the customized cakes you have created.
I have made so many customized cakes so far. Wedding cakes, photobomb cakes, truffle cakes, and many more.
6. Is it more challenging to build a two-tier cake than a customized cake?
No. Because I have to be more creative while making a customized cake. It is easy to create a two-tier cake than a customized cake.
7. What are the most popular cupcakes among your customers?
Customers love our truffle and Dutch chocolate cupcakes the most. Pineapple, strawberry, and blueberry cupcakes are also very popular among our customers.
8. What inspired you to make a piñata cake?
The first time I made it was in a customer’s demand. Later I experimented with some things with the piñata cake to make it more attractive and tastier.
9. Have you had any achievements that could inspire other business owners?
Yes. I’ve motivated 40+ students to start their businesses by teaching them how the bakery industry works. And I consider it my most outstanding achievement.
10. Do you have any advice for women who own small businesses?
My best advice will be to keep going. There’ll be a lot of difficulties on your way; you have to be strong enough to face them all and you will achieve what you deserve.
Dhwani is currently pursuing her Masters in Social Work (MSW). She started her own venture Bake Some Noise 2 years ago.
Bake Some Noise is an interesting name. How did you come up with it?
There’s a fascinating story here. I had a few mentors in my life when I wanted to establish my own business. Pooja Sawant Mohandas is one of them, and she has her own page. I was seated next to her, I was discussing the name of my business with a friend, and none of the ideas we came up with was interesting to me. So, she recommended that I keep something that was related to my name, which is ‘Dhwani,’ which means noise and reflects my name. And she called it ‘bake some noise,’ which reflects my passion for baking and the extent to which I am involved in it.
Were you always fond of baking? What inspired you to venture into the baking business?
In 12th grade, I had given up hope. I wanted to pursue medicine. Nothing was going well for me, so I was depressed. My mentor Pooja didi advised I visit her workshop one day, and I subsequently found I had the skills. With the compliments from others, I felt delighted and fulfilled when I created my first cake. Baking is a large procedure, but it is satisfying, so it let me realize that there is a way out, like a silver lining in a black cloud. Every cake I create fills me with joy. Cooking ability runs in my family, so it’s inherited, and I’m continuing it.
We all love cupcakes! What are the best-selling cupcake flavours?
I have 4 best-selling cupcakes that are always in high demand: centre-filled Nutella cupcakes, centre-filled pineapple cupcakes with crushed pineapple in the centre, and ganache on top, and caramel cupcakes. The final taste is Chocolate Rum, which is popular in cakes and cupcakes.
Do you take customized cake orders?
Yes, I do. They also require large-scale production and investment. My main focus is on simple cakes. However, I do accept custom cake requests.
Tell us about your most difficult baking project.
I had the two most difficult cakes. One of them is a customized 3D-shaped football cake that had to be formed like a ball. I wasn’t sure what to expect because it was my first time. As it was a cake order from one of my close friends, she believed in me. The second was the first-ever customized saree cake for my mother’s birthday, which was challenging because it required a lot of attention to detail and took a long time to complete. But, in the end, it was always rewarding for me.
How many cakes do you schedule to make on the same day?
On weekends, I prefer to take orders. I try to maintain 2-3 basic cakes on hand at all times. If a customer pre-orders a month in advance, I attempt to take 3 – 4 cakes with the balance between my work and studies.
Do you prefer to decorate cakes or cupcakes?
Cake decorating might be tough, but I enjoy it since it allows me to try new things. Even if I only have one flavour of cake, I can vary the appearance and customize the cake to suit my mood or the preferences of my clients. Cakes are more fun to decorate than cupcakes for me.
What would you do if a customer requested a cake design or flavour you have never attempted before?
In general, I tell them upfront front that this is my first try. Honesty, in my opinion, is the best policy. They will place the order if they believe in me. I’m fortunate to have the best customers, who always appreciate me and encourage me to push my limits. Before sending the order out, I run a basic check. I make certain that both quality and quantity are excellent.
Do you have any tips for someone trying to make it in the baking industry?
People who are just getting started, if you enjoy baking and want to work in this field, you should know that it is a very large industry. If you’re eager to learn more, consider entering this industry. There are many bakers out there, and after covid, people are interested in investing in home bakers. People are also willing to consider the pricing in comparison to other brands. They should have faith in themselves and continue to progress until they attain their goals
Which is your favourite cake from another bakery?
My favourite is Iyengar’s rava cake, for which I am head over heels in love. Because I’m obsessed with the cake, I’ve even attempted to make it. It is the most delicious cake.
Which skills are required to run a successful business?
There are four skills that are really significant. The first is a positive mindset that allows you to learn from your failures. Young bakers become discouraged as they compare their work to that of pros. The second is marketing, which assists us in better understanding the market. We undervalue our abilities and ourselves because we are naive. Budgeting is the third step; the price and amount charged are important. The fourth point is really important: good customer service. Transparency and trust are extremely beneficial. If you use these skills, your clients will return.
1. When did you know you wanted to take an entrepreneurial path?
Having my family members in the garment industry and business, I always wanted to do something in business but wasn’t sure what particular industry to go into. I often thought I would join the garment industry, but I didn’t find it to be the calling I was looking for. It took me time to go through the journey and learn some lessons on the way to the path I am on now.
2. How do you decide what to stock up on especially since you have a variety of products? Do you follow any shopping trends?
Generally, I don’t follow any shopping trends, it’s all based on my research. As an artist, I wanted to start my own business. In 2019, I found that the product sellers weren’t very knowledgeable about their product. There are four types of watercolour paper. Therefore, the sellers are not aware of the perfect paper to use. I realized that this industry has a lot of room for improvement. Because all schools are closed in Hyderabad due to the pandemic, art supplies like drawing books and colours for children are in high demand. Therefore, we stock up on what our customers need.
3. How did you come up with the name ‘Rainbows and hues’?
While I came up with the entire idea, I couldn’t find a name. As a result, when I visited my partner, my best friend, she came up with the name ‘Rainbows and hues’ as she completely understood me. She understood what I wanted to achieve. At the moment, it is a store, but in the future, it will be a place for everyone to learn. Additionally, it’s a place where people can collaborate with artists. Within a year or two it will also be a place where you can exhibit your art. R & H will be a community.
4. What goals are you still working towards achieving?
The first step is to launch our website so I can directly communicate with my clients and artists, so they can buy everything under one roof. The in-house brand ‘my art pitara’ will be a readymade kit that includes all products and supplies. If you wish to learn water-colouring, for example, all the products will be available in this pitara. We were unable to start classes because of the pandemic, but we hope to start classes soon.
5. Which is your favourite stationery?
It’s difficult for me to choose just one. I currently have a book on my desk. I had bought this book when I was a child, and it comes with a lock. I am a complete stationery hoarder and I love all the stationery products. So now that I own a shop, I can collect all the stationery products and sell it. Another favourite stationery is a good pen. You must have books and pens in your life.
6. How would you handle a client you were unable to form a positive relationship with?
We already have a conversation with customers who buy online. We had a customer who had placed an online order for the first time. They asked for photos of all the products and feared not to receive them. So I had a conversation with them and assured them that they would get their order in time. It was important to let the customer trust us especially since it was their first online order. Speaking with clients is very useful.
7. What difficulties did you face initially as a female entrepreneur?
I had no plans to set up a physical store immediately. The plan was to sell products online via Instagram for a period of time, then start a store. But within a month, I had the opportunity to set up a store. The shop needed a lot of changes so I used to tell the workers about the changes and they didn’t agree. But when my father and brother tell us the same thing, it seems logical to them. There were some financial issues as well. If somebody wants to get into business, they need to save money first. I wish I knew that sooner. But it is important to save money at the beginning of your twenties to help you in your future.
8. Do you provide a web ordering experience? How do you sell your brand?
Presently, we sell products on Instagram and WhatsApp. One month from now, we will have a website that will help us reach more customers. We also sell on Amazon, as mentioned earlier, I write a short word for every customer. Few customers come to us looking for other products and become our customers. There are executives who are willing to work with us by reviewing positive client feedback. I maintain positive relationships with my customers and those I do business with, which helps us sell our brand.
9. Which 3 words will they use to describe the shopping experience with Rainbows Hues?
The store is very organized. Our customers can come in and check out the products showcased. Clients do not need to request the availability of a product like other stores. The physical structure of the store is different and it provides a good vibe. We built this place so customers don’t need someone to help them out. We provide assistance only when necessary. Our clients are looking forward to the start of our workshop.
10. What are your biggest learnings so far?
First, my whole journey of all the different roles is now coming together and making sense. I’ve been a writer, photographer, traveler and all this is helping me right now. Even if a few things didn’t work in the past or if you failed, you will learn from those mistakes.
11. What advice would you give women small business owners?
Dream big. Women of Indian origin tend to dream small. Nothing is impossible. We need to be more confident and be ready to fulfil our big dream. I had thought of starting this store after two years, but this place is huge with ground plus two floors. I couldn’t let this opportunity pass. When a good opportunity comes, grab it. Grab the opportunities whenever you get the chance.
12. What is your favourite print on stationery and why?
We have books with prints and the word ‘gratitude’ written on them. The prints are very beautiful and soothing. I own one of the books and I use it as my journal to write at least five things I am grateful for every day. I write the things I want in life as a form of manifesting.
13. Do you stock up different stationery for different festivals or days?
We started two months back, so the first festival we had was Christmas. We had stock things up with a Christmas theme. There were gift wrappers, moulds with Christmas ornaments. Valentines’ day is coming soon, so we have stocked up heart shape canvas and trying to get heart shape keychains. We try to stock things up according to the trends, festivals, etc. We’re trying to make this store a one-stop shopping experience where all the products are available for our customers.
Samarpita Mukherjee Sharma has done her Masters in Economics and holds a diploma in Mass Communication. She started content editing in 2010 as a freelancer and later established ‘Cover to Cover Writing Studio ’. She has also authored ebooks on writing, editing, and social media for authors. She loves to learn new things. Reading is her constant hobby. She also likes to knit, crochet, paint, bake and do gardening. You can connect with her on Instagram.
1. Describe yourself in a sentence.
I am Samarpita, the one who keeps learning something new.
2. What are your responsibilities as the owner of Cover to Cover Writing Studio?
I am an editor, content creator, writing coach and a ghostwriter – all these are roles that are primarily mine.
3. Which books have inspired you the most?
4 . Can you tell me about one of the favourite pieces you have written?
I am primarily an editor and the content I write belongs to my clients. I have published two short stories for children that I am quite proud of, and am working on creating a series of the stories. The name of the ebook is Bedtime Stories with Roxy & Tina.
5. If you were to write a book about yourself, what would you name it?
I wouldn’t, but if someone else wrote it I would suggest – The Girl Who Refused To Give Up.
6. What are the things you enjoy the most about content writing?
Putting together simple words and creating something meaningful and impactful.
7. How do you find a balance between documenting travel vs. enjoying as a travel writer?
I don’t document travel per se, and the travel writing I do isn’t particularly about the place I last visited. So, both are independent of each other and don’t clash.
8. What are you currently working on?
I am editing two manuscripts, creating content for a stationery shop’s website as well as one international brand of female fashion accessories.
9. How would you deal with writer’s block?
Writer’s block is a luxury. Being an ex-journalist, I am habituated with working even when the brain does not want to and have quick fixes to get back to writing. What helps me is going for a quick run or cycling depending on the time of the day, a quick shower, cooking, drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea – anything that rejuvenates the mind helps me break the writer’s block quickly.
10. Which skills make you a strong writer?
I am always upskilling. I LOVE to learn, unlearn, and learn again. While I used to be a hardcore fiction reader all my life, I now mostly read about writing and editing. Also, I take at least two courses every year to upskill.
11. How do you deal with a difficult client?
I haven’t had difficult clients. I recognise that I say this from a place of privilege when I say that I pick only clients whose vibes I like. Thankfully, all my clients be it individuals or brands, have all been as cooperative as possible. I have no horror story yet.
12. What advice would you give new women entrepreneurs from the lessons you learnt from your experiences?
Clichéd, but it needs to be said again and again – everything you think that you can’t, you actually can. You are stronger than you have been made to believe – give yourself a chance.
13. What makes a good editor?
Attention to detail, willingness to rip apart every word written and find as many faults as possible before the writing goes out to the world, and always upskilling. No knowledge is permanent or enough. There is always something new to learn – even in a language which is always evolving.