"The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper. "
- Eden Phillpotts
“Baked with Love by Annie” is a Mumbai-based bakery started by home-baker Annie. According to her, it’s a brand that is full of love and hard-work. A lot of patience, time and effort goes into each and every cake that she bakes, something that is not seen in commercial bakeries and kitchens.
For Annie, being a baker was never a part of the plan. She elaborates, “I grew up wanting to be a pilot as there are a lot of pilots in my family. But I’ve always had a sweet tooth and loved eating desserts. Whenever there were friends’ birthdays, I wanted the cakes to be something really special, as opposed to buying store-bought cakes. So I think my passion started at that time. I took a keen interest in planning the birthdays and cakes, which flavor would go well with what and how the whole cake should look.”
“It became my responsibility and slowly my family noticed my love for food and desserts and they suggested that it was a good field to get into. Though my heart was still set on becoming a pilot, I started going to small baking workshops in my free time. I began to try my hand at baking these desserts when I would come back home and due to my family’s encouragement, I gradually took up baking as my profession.”
What started as a hobby during her free time before she left for pilot training in America, ended up being her full-time career. Annie started taking small orders after she got a lot of positive feedback from people. Opening social media pages for her baking business definitely helped her get bigger clients and more enquiries. “People from my area and my school got to know and spread the word. After this great response, I did not feel like going back to flying and being a pilot anymore. Being a self-taught baker despite having the initial fears, thankfully it all turned out well for me. I started my baking business in 2014 and I haven’t looked back ever since.”, she says.
Annie recalls her first cake. It was a lemon cheesecake that she had baked for her friend’s anniversary. And the most challenging cake she’s had to bake? A super-extravagant, 3 tiered, 20-kilo wedding cake for her classmate which had to be carried all the way to Lonavala, the wedding venue. A huge responsibility indeed!
This talented baker relies on YouTube for new baking ideas and has attended workshops and intensive courses by Lavonne Academy, Bangalore. She counts a lot of skilled bakers as her inspiration and the chocolate pudding tart as her signature dessert, which her clients really love and know her for.
The one thing Annie wants in the next five years for her business is a bigger team to help her out. While she has a home set-up for baking and a small team currently, her dream is to gradually grow her baking business and have a bigger presence in the baking industry.
To conclude, some important advice she would like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs is to follow their passion. Says Annie, “Just do it. Don’t think about what people will say. Follow your heart and go for it. I think it’s also very important to give customers your time and build a strong connection with them. For my brand at least, my customers have told me that it is because of the connection that I have formed and continue to form with them that things are able to go smoothly and everything works out. It helps build trust. Last but not the least, for budding bakers, practice regularly and keep learning new techniques. As long as you practice, you’ll be fine!”.