The boom of online shopping in Pakistan is not just limited to clothes and accessories but has now found its way into the world of baked goods as well. With the availability of social networks like Facebook, Pakistani confectioners have come a long way in coming up with an innovative collection of gourmet items and creative ways to market them.
One such online confectioner and entrepreneur is Sidra Sajjad, whose venture Bake My Day has been creating ripples throughout Facebook and her clientele in Karachi. With a wide variety of delectable cakes to offer, Sidra’s delightful creations can be best described as an edible art form – skillful, dazzling and scrumptious at the same time.
Although she holds a bachelors degree in computer engineering, Sidra’s true calling and first love remain her prowess in confectionery art, which she put to good use by converting it into a business.
We interviewed this enterprising young lady to learn about what inspired her to take up baking, how she deals with her clients and the art behind developing new recipes.
Sidra: I have always been passionate about baking and cooking. It is something that I inherited from my mother, whom I have grown up seeing bake cakes and savory items for me and my siblings. I started baking when I was 10 and loved to experiment with my recipes, which would sometimes turn out good and sometimes not-so-good. It was due to the encouragement coming from my family and fiance that I decided to take up baking as a business.
2. How did the idea of an online bakery transpire?
Sidra: When I first started baking as a business, I would sell my products through a nearby bakery. Based on the warm response I received, I decided to take it a notch higher and start my own business. Moreover, I felt that I was limiting my products, both in terms of creativity and marketing, by restricting their availability to a single outlet. For this reason, I thought it would be better to start my own venture online and created a Facebook page for Bake My Day.
3. How would you describe your experience of dealing with the clients? Have there been any obstacles you have had to face?
Sidra: Usually, it is not that difficult as some people are very clear about what they want. They are thorough in their description of how they would like their orders to be and that really makes my job easier. Some clients, however, are not as elaborate about their preferences so it takes a bit of an effort to understand exactly what they want.
As far as obstacles are concerned, I did face quite a few when I was still new to the business. People, who had never even tried my cakes or ordered from me, started writing negative comments on my page. I believe their uncalled for criticism was out of jealousy but it did not have any impact me. I concentrated on my work and with time, the negativity subsided by itself.
4. In your opinion, what are the three most important elements of an online Facebook business?
Sidra: Interaction with fans, prompt feedback and exposure.
Sidra: For small and generic orders, I only need a two-day notice, with the payment mode being cash on delivery. If the order is large and/or customized, I need a week’s notice with 50 percent payment in advance.
6. Have there ever been issues regarding non-availability of ingredients?
Sidra: Well, I buy all my ingredients in bulk so I have never faced such a problem.
Sidra: I come up with a combination of flavors that I think will go well together and make sure that I write the whole recipe down alongside, so that I know later what ingredients I used. If there is any need for improvement, I work around it and give it a final touch once I am satisfied.
8. What further developments are in the pipeline for Bake My Day?
Sidra: We are going to start home deliveries very soon. Additionally, I am developing new recipes for cakes and have plans of introducing cheesecakes in my menu.