Hello there! Remember me? I won’t blame you if you don’t and in that case we should simply reacquaint ourselves. This time around there are LEGIT reasons for my being away from blogging! Last we spoke, I was on my way to the first ever Indian Food Blogger’s Meet in Bangalore. A lot has happened since then, so allow me to catch you up.
I returned from my trip with bags full of takeaway goodies and packing in a few pounds on me from all the pampering we received at the Food Blogger’s Meet. It was load of fun and deserved some lengthy descriptive posts, but I’ll skip that since it’s been about five months since and all those things might sound trivial in the face of the bold life decisions the meet empowered me to take.
It’s a long story but I’ll try to keep it brief. I’d been restless from the start of 2014. Being a part-time baker and a content writer hadn’t kept me as occupied and as financially independent as I needed to be, to feel happy. So I began considering getting back to a job since the mid of 2014. I circulated my CV, appeared for a few job interviews, managed to get through a few but declined them for various reasons. I kept looking till someone very wise person pointed out to me that if my focus was to earn money, then my reasons for rejecting a couple of those job offers were quite flimsy. So I dug deeper and realized I wanted to get full-time into what I was passionate about (unknown to me the IFBM had subconsciously tipped me in favor of being an entrepreneur). And then I had clarity about what I wanted to do. I wanted to have a baking studio where I baked commercially and could teach people to bake by letting them practice as they learned, not just by watching. As the idea began to crystallize and I made plans of approaching a friend for a loan with my business plan, a chance conversation with my SIL on the her way back to the airport brought me the financial capital I needed to start my business. Of course I had to make a business plan and send it to them before they decided to lend me the amount. Best of all, it would be interest-free. Then began the search for places where I could build my studio. After a few visits, I realized that instead of having a studio in the city and a home in the suburbs, it would make more sense for me to shift to the city and have some studio space in the apartment. It would save us the commute and all the allied challenges of living in an inaccessible place. It’s amazing how once I took a decision, things automatically began falling in place. My friend and partner in conducting baking workshops, who is a French baker in Hyderabad, was moving away and decided to sell her baking equipment and wares and since I had been her partner, she approached me first and I just bought the equipment from her. It saved me all the trouble and time it would take me to contact distributors and finally take delivery. The place, we had already decided on a very upmarket and overpriced locality thinking it would be all worth it and were waiting to sign up the agreement, when a friend pointed us to a place that both Dave and I fell in love with. We moved from our own independent house with a garden in the suburbs to a rented apartment. I got busy settling in and setting up home and working on the studio. Of course my husband and branding manager helped set up the studio and in less than a month from the time we had shifted, we had the studio up and running and I began conducting baking workshops.
I’d been sitting on the fence for too long and attending the IFBM pushed me into plunging headlong into what I am so passionate about currently. I am extremely grateful to my family, specifically my SIL and husband and my friends for being such a supportive bunch! Also, grateful and thankful to all those amazing women at the IFBM and outside, who have inspired me with their life choices, writing and kind and supportive words. At the IFBM, I was in awe of all these veteran food bloggers who have been super-achievers and when they stop by your page to leave you congratulatory and complimentary comments, it leaves you feeling really high. Many of the folks I met have become good Facebook friends now and there is easy camaraderie despite not knowing each other too well and I finally seem to have found a peer group. I’ve had long-lost schoolmates send me messages saying how proud they are of me and wanting to attend my classes when they are in town. I’ve had strangers being completely smitten by the studio when they step-in. People telling me how I inspire them to bake. That has kept me going, despite all the backbreaking hard-work. For now, I just love what I do, and I love to hear how happy and delighted my baked goodies make the people who eat or buy them. I am hoping to be able to do this for as long as I feel love for it. So wish me luck!
Having said that, I must also say that it is a LOT of HARDWORK, trying to do so many things – recipe testing, drawing a curriculum, advertising and promotion, patiently handling inquiries, prepping, handling finances, worrying about the number of participants who will show up, and when they do ensuring a great experience for them, and then getting back to the same cycle again. But it has and is continuing to teach so many new skills and pushing me into areas which I have earlier shied away from. I’ve had 6 baking workshops so far and all of them have been well-received. The first couple of months were about building the brand, now I need to focus on reaching out to more people and making it a profitable business so it is sustainable. If you happen to be in Hyderabad, India, and have an interest in baking, sign-up for any of my baking workshops that might interest you, I promise you an intense fun-filled experience that you will leave with a lot of goodies and the confidence and skills to bake your own.
I am writing this from Singapore, where I am on a vacationing at my very dear friend’s place, where I finally have the mind space to put down my thoughts. I am also soaking in all the love and fun that will see me through the year ahead, before I get back to my crazy hectic schedule. I intend to be more regular with my blogging now that I have restarted. I know I haven’t been great at keeping my promises in the past, but I will soon blog about my vacation in Singapore. Ciao!