Entre Chat with Shreya DeMonte

Entre Chat with Shreya DeMonte (Founder, Sugar Dust- Dessert Amore, Bangalore)

As told to Anahita Masters

Tell us a little about your venture Sugar Dust – Dessert Amore.

Sugar Dust – Dessert Amore, is a dream that has finally become a reality. My aim was to combine delicacy and complete customization to create baking magic. We love to experiment and create a whole range of goodies from cupcakes, cakes, novelty cakes, desserts, brownies, breads to even healthy granola! We deliberately do not have a menu, and instead like to have an in-depth discussion with a client on what they would like their creation to be like. It’s complete customisation, that I don’t think many other can offer.

When did the passion for baking begin? Any childhood inspirations, hits and misses?

I’ve always loved baking. Since the time I was a kid, I used to help my mom in the kitchen. Well, a lot of the time I would just lick the bowls clean when she baked cakes. Even just watching her got me inspired!

It started off doing birthday cakes for the family and soon I was handling all the Christmas goodies for home. I used recipes which have been handed down from my mum and have been in my family for years.  In my recipe development stage, I try out the recipe at least thrice before it gets offered to clients. My family and friends are my taste testers – and they are brutally honest!

Do you think being a woman entrepreneur in the baking business has worked to your advantage, or stereotyped you? 

Being a relative newbie in the market I have not faced too many hurdles till now. My clients have all been from word of mouth and social media connections. Whoever I have met have been supportive and always willing to give me a chance. That being said I have also come across people who just assume home bakers have an easy life. And it’s not true. The amount of work we put into each creation is immense, the quality you get and the ingredients we use are of highest standards. Unlike commercial bakeries we do not use any additive and preservatives. What comes out of my kitchen is a creation of love and a lot of effort!

What would be the top 3 things to watch out for if you’re a woman looking to start her own business?

  • Value your work and time – A lot of bakers, and many other women entrepreneurs get concerned about pricing, and end up under-charging. Make sure you value and respect your time and skill, for only then your customers will too.
  • Be willing to ask for help – Womenmight be good at multi tasking and sometimes we might take on too much and forget that friends and family are always there to help. Use them!
  • Take some “me” time – Passion may drive us, but take that time out to focus on you. If you’re working 24/7, you are going to burn out. Take time out – half an hour a day, or once a week and do something not related to work but just chill.

A happy self = a successful business woman

How has the support of friends and family played a role in your being a successful entrepreneur? 

My friends are the reason Sugar Dust exists. I have always baked and given them stuff. I remember clearly a friend calling me one day and lecturing me on how I need to start pursuing my dream and focus on this full-time. My husband is my engineer and accountant he helps me plan my cakes out visually and spatially and checks my math when it comes to costing! He does my midnight runs when I have sudden orders and run out of ingredients.

What next for Sugar Dust, and for Shreya?

I’m excited to see what the future holds – one order at a time!

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