Monday, 5 December 2016

Meet Simran, the founder and Chief Baker of Ovenderful

Tell us a little about you :

I am the Founder and Chief Baker of Ovenderful, a self-taught home baker who completes 2 years in November of turning my passion for baking into a niche signature e-bakery, which specializes in healthy , wholesome and inclusive baking (with a range of vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, lactation-friendly, diabetic-friendly, nut-free, eggless, butterless bakes).

I have also been selected as a Mentee of The Cherie Blair Foundation's Women in Business program for 1 year, for the period of May 2014-2015 and am one of the Founding Chefs for an innovative and interactive recipe sharing platform BetterButter, and part of the team of The Bake Collective, which is an initiative that plans and organizes bake sales to raise funds for social causes and has done so for Milaap, Goonj, The Voice of Stray Dogs and so on in the past.

To be able to ensure that knowledge on healthy baking can be shared regularly, I run a closed Facebook group called Ovenderful Mom Bakers Community, to exchange ideas on bakes that are fun as well as healthy for children and to encourage people to start exploring healthier aspects of baking.

Prior to turning Ovenderful into a commercial venture ( in November 2013) , I have worked for over 11 years with large global organizations in Human Resources Advisory services in Asia Pacific roles as well as in Research & Knowledge Development such as Hewitt Associates, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hay Group.

About your Work from Home Job:

I run my home-bakery which specializes in healthy , wholesome and inclusive baking as shared above (with a range of vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, lactation-friendly, diabetic-friendly, nut-free, eggless, butterless bakes). All products are free of preservatives and artificial food colours. The bakes are freshly made by hand, and almost all bakes use alternative flours which are healthier such as wholewheat, ragi/ millet, semolina, almond flour, amaranth, rice flour and so on, along with chemical free sugar or natural sweeteners such as figs, dates, jaggery, fruit purees. This work lets me be at home with my toddler and also focus on converting a passion into a venture. 

Showcase some of your best creations:

Its difficult to choose a single or a few creations that I love - each is a special bake because of the story behind it, the work and feelings. However, I am attaching some pictures of what are some things that most clients enjoy. 


IMG_3992 (1)

Vegan WW-Almond Flour cake with jaggery and date syrup

WW Date and Walnut

Why did u choose work from home career?

One of the reasons I left my full-time role was due to the fact that work - life balance was a challenge given a small baby. While organizations pay lip service to workplace flexibility and how it is important for employees to have a wholesome life, few actually create cultures that help employees particularly new mothers, to manage this balance effectively. To be able to maintain that balance, I chose to work from home. While even as an entrepreneur, it is certainly not easy to manage this balance, given that you need to do each and everything single-handedly. But by dividing your priorities into the essentials and non-essentials and trying to create small windows of time for different aspects of life, I think this balance can be managed. 

How much one can earn in your business?

Home baking ventures rely largely on the time and skill of the baker, as well as the quality of the ingredients. That is what differentiates them from large commercial bakeries. It is more time as well as quality intensive than equipment-intensive. 

Revenues and margins will therefore depend on the time as well as the quality of ingredients used and both of these are on the higher end. Therefore margins can be narrow and revenues take time to come and are not usually a fixed amount each month. This will differ from one venture to the other since some bakers might invest in expensive equipment which can be time saving and so they can take more orders, whereas some might not make large investments and focus on fewer orders at a time. 

Tell us about the difficult times you have faced and how did u manage to recover:

Currently its just me – and that leads to challenges. So at the moment, I bake, package, deliver, market! But there is certainly the requirement to get a team in place, especially with the level of work that I anticipate in the year to come. So I will be working on the details of the same. Once that is in place, these challenges and difficulty in managing orders, should be more streamlined.The issue of pumping in the investment, is also a challenge, since the venture does not generate a regular stream and hence financial planning for the future becomes difficult. But this is an important exercise and I am focusing on that aspect as well. Also, on the business front, the initial challenges of managing the pricing, understanding the various target markets, working to ensure that Ovenderful receives a certain level of momentum with respect to its growth and ensuring a disciplined approach towards it were critical. 

What are the difficulties you face in working from home career?

The difficulties are mainly related to how to manage the right work-life balance and coping strategies,particularly when one has a small baby or toddler and is working from home. So time management is always a challenge. So my day is only as structured as I am able to make it as of now with a toddler at homeJ I do ensure that I have lists related to home and business separated out, and I try to bake early mornings when my toddler is at playschool or asleep. An additional hour or two are spent in the night in activities such as researching, packing, planning and preparing for the coming days.  I also try to space out my baking orders in a way that no day is pressurized. 

How are u balancing work and personal life?

The key for me is to separate the essentials from the non-essentials and make space for both in my life. Structuring the day and following that routine stringently, defining some activities for weekly updates like tracking the financials/client update mails and so on. 

Top 5 lessons u have learned from this business:

1. There is nothing you cannot self-learn if you put your mind and heart to it. 
2. A business should have a soul - so give it a larger community purpose/a social connect which aligns with your values. 
3. Two things are non-negotiable- Clients and Product quality and uniqueness. 
4. When you share, you grow more.
5. Take it seriously -- once you turn your passion into your business, keep at it. Retain that passion, but don't treat your business as a hobby. 

How to contact you if anyone is interested in working with u or buying from you?

My contact details and social media platforms are all shared below - I can be reached via any of these to work with me or buy from me. 

Simran Oberoi Multani

Founder & Chief Baker - Ovenderful ( 9740255588)

Twitter: Ovenderful

Instagram: @sim_ovenderful

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