“In a small business, the job roles of employees are not very specific. It’s a challenge to find employees who are flexible and willing to perform a wide variety of tasks which helps in the organization’s growth.”
When she quit a well-paying job took the decision to pursue her dream of starting out on her own, it was a conscious move. The story of Sandhya S, Pastry Chef and Founder of Dessert Rose, a cute and cosy dessert café located in Bengaluru, took off when she launched her own cafe specialising in desserts.
Even though she came from a business-oriented family, there was no connection to the F&B sector. So, she got down to learn the tricks of the trade – by equipping herself with a diploma in baking, and working in kitchens and cafes to gain experience. Then, investing all her personal savings, she started Desert Rose in 2019. After starting and running the business successfully, Sandhya now wants to scale-up and start more outlets and kiosks. She is also the fourth winner of the winners of Futurepreneurs Grand Challenge organised by Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME), in collaboration with Facebook.
In this discussion with Shree Lahiri, she explains how she stepped into entrepreneurship, the challenges she faced, competition, her plans for the future and more….
- How did you think about becoming an entrepreneur?
I’m an MBA graduate and I was working in the HR department in a corporate company but I’m from a business family. I always wanted to start my own business just like my father and grandfather who are successful entrepreneurs. I was not sure what business to start. I have always loved baking. Back then I knew to bake only cupcakes though. I used to put up stalls in food exhibitions and my cupcakes were a huge hit. I knew I had a knack for baking. I wanted to hone my baking skills and learn to bake many more desserts. That’s why I took a break from my work and enrolled into a baking diploma course. After the course, I knew I wanted to start my own dessert café. I didn’t have experience in this field and no one in my family was from a hotel management background. I decided to gain experience first. I worked in the front end in one café and at the backend in another café. Once I was confident enough, I started Dessert Rose on 17th April 2019.
- What are some strengths
that a woman entrepreneur should possess?
Ability to take risks: I quit my well-paying job and took a huge risk by starting my own business. Once I started my business, I started taking up baking orders which I’ve never done before because I always want to challenge myself and keep baking something new.
Building a good network: Over the last few years, I’ve built a good network of customers who keep ordering from me on a regular basis and keep recommending my work to others which has helped me to increase my sales through word of mouth.
- Could you tell us about the challenges faced by you?
Choosing employees who are right fit for the organization: In a small business, the job roles of employees are not very specific. It’s a challenge to find employees who are flexible and willing to perform a wide variety of tasks which helps in the growth of the organization.
- How do you find competition in your business area?
In my area, there are a lot of cake shops selling cakes similar to what I make for a lesser price. The competition is actually very high and tough.
- How did you try to make your business different?
Unlike other cake shops, at Dessert Rose, we sell a wide variety of desserts under one roof which includes- cakes, cupcakes, brownies, tea cakes, macarons, cookies, dessert jars, ice creams, tarts, etc. We have options for sugar free, gluten free, keto and vegan desserts. We also have healthy desserts and breads. We take up baking classes every week. We put up dessert tables for many events and parties. We also undertake bulk corporate orders. We have recently formed a community for bakers from South Bengaluru and we are planning to meet on a regular basis to build a support system to help each other in case of any need/emergency.
- What are your future plans?
I’m planning to come up with kiosks/outlets in various areas in Bengaluru. I’m also planning to branch out to Chennai in the long run.
- Any tips for someone starting out today?
Every business has a specific job skill. Learn that job skill perfectly, gain experience in the relevant job field and set out on your own only when you are fully confident. Make sure you have a clear picture of what you are going to sell. It’s essential to be consistent with your products/services.