In today’s context, one cannot deny the importance of social media in case of promoting a brand or buying and selling the products. Social media application tools such as Instagram and Facebook have become one of the most efficient marketing tools because of which, services have become one tap away where both buyers and sellers benefit. Click nice pictures, caption them with cool hashtags that engage the interest of potential customers have become a relevant skill for any entrepreneurs. There have been exemplary entrepreneurs that have successfully utilized social media to take their business to new heights. Today, we have the story of a young home-baker, Muskan Nahar who has leveraged Instagram for her startup ‘ The Sugar Shack ’, along with the co-founder, Neha Jain to sell their baking skills from the comfort of the home kitchen.
Modelling the passion into a business
Muskan holds a diploma in baking from Lavonne Academy Of Baking Science and Pastry Arts in India and is a certified baker. Her love story with baking dates back to an early age where she used to bake cookies and cakes for her close friends and family. The positive responses motivated her to scale up her passion into a business model and thus, she officially started a public Instagram account for Sugar Shack on 28th May 2019. She invested in the amount of Rs. 30000 that she had saved from her internship at Hyatt Regency Kathmandu. In addition to cookies and cakes, she also specializes in Lemon-tarts, Masala-chai cake, and Rashmalai-cake.
Operation from home
For the initial 15 days of The Sugar Shack, the bakery received no orders but now, it receives at least 8/9 orders in a week and it’s not a surprise. Currently, it takes orders two days prior to the delivery. Muskan mentions that as a home baker she has no set time for working and her work hours depend on the number of orders she receives during that period. She adds that her sister and her mother help her with the company by making the fondant cakes and assisting in delivering respectively. While there is no set monthly budget, Muskan shares,
“We spend somewhere around Rs. 10,000- Rs. 12,000 to buy the ingredients. The bakery is busier during festivals like Dashain, Tihar, and Janai Purnima (Rakhi) when we have even worked for up to 18 hours a day to meet the demands .”
In addition to social media promotion, the company has also been putting up stalls in different events happening to connect with the customers.
Muskan and Neha were only 20 years old when they started their startup. As a result, they were often underestimated by the people which somehow impacted their confidence at some points. However, from the legal formalities to a commercialized baking process, the duo decided to own up every responsibility through trial and error. Muskan shares the snippet of how troublesome was it for them to get the PAN number as Indian citizens,
“ We were clueless that having a PAN number for a business regardless of its size is a must because of which, we had issues doing any business transactions in our initial days. From buying whipped cream in bulk from the suppliers to delivering final goods, we understood the real importance of issuing a PAN number that none of the books could teach in a real-life scenario.”
Hence, for everything else they do in the company, experience has been their greatest teacher.
Bargaining in an online store?
Highlighting the bargaining trends that exist even in the online market, Muskan insights,
“We don’t make our products in bulk and are focused on giving fresh and customized products to our customers. As a result, the price range leans towards the higher end. We are aware of the vigorous competitions where the local bakery stores bake in bulk and sell at comparatively lower prices. But what set us apart is the freshness with customization option for which the prices go a bit higher.”
In the future, Muskan aims to open the first baking studio where she can teach people the science behind making pastries. Likewise, she also advises the young bakers to wear the chef hats with pride and build the business with the same passion and dedication for baking. After all, baking is an art, be it from the cozy home or the fancy restaurants, the aroma of that freshly baked slice triggers the sweet tooth of every person passing by!