The search for more
Bakeart, came about as a matter of chance, choice, intuition and perhaps destiny. When I started Bakeart, way back in 2014, I had just had a baby and finished my second masters from the Glion institute of higher education, Switzerland. It had been a challenging and a very difficult academic and personal journey; and I was at the precipice deciding what my next steps would be. The idea of going back to a hotel job was daunting. Delegation had never been my parenting style and personally it was important for me to remain available to my children.
The Art in Artystyc
As Aariana, the younger one turned two, I experienced increasing restlessness to create an enterprise that was both meaningful, satisfying and commercially viable. This journey started with Artystyc, an enterprise created to showcase my creative inclinations. While I started work with paper quilling, my repertoire quickly grew to include other art forms. Artystyc was however not to be a commercial success. At the time, I did not pursue or explore selling or marketing my work. The product portfolio of Artystyc overtime became cherished gifts for friends and family.
With my academic inclinations, it was rather expected that I would pursue an intellectual enterprise. My heart and mind however turned to food. With two children, my maternal instincts were drawn to nurturing and providing for them holistically – mind, body and soul and food seemed to be a critical way to achieve this.
When you consider the amount of processing that goes into food today and the number of chemicals which are used to enable that processing, it seems criminal to not cook at home. Yet, the modern societal inclinations and lifestyle no longer allow most people the time necessary to process their own food. It is this need and the growing awareness towards food that led Bakeart to slowly morph into its current avatar of a vegan, organic, chemical-free, trans fat-free , preservative-free and refined ingredient free enterprise.
Bakeart today : Defining USP’s
In 2014, Bakeart was your ordinary home baking enterprise – another player in a very crowded and competitive market space. Over an year, we slowly gained traction and a loyal consumer base in Hyderabad which was then our city of location. Our relocation to Delhi and turning vegan in 2016, is what were key turning points in the Bakeart journey.
The decision to turn Bakeart vegan was born out of my inability to work with dairy and eggs when I personally turned vegan. I did not have a recipe bank or market research or customers who wanted vegan food. Yet, I was determined to morph Bakeart into a conscious and ethical enterprise. If you look back at 2014, this change was in retrospect very much in sync with my own founding principles of healthful food that was nourishing to the body and the soul.
The Vegan debate : Quality and Pricing
Turning vegan, in my opinion is also a very spiritual experience as one opens up to empathy and connects with life and sentience at all levels. The quality of our product range today has created demand in the market for us to introduce a low cost range and raised questions if we are trying to propagate veganism as an elitist diet free of purported organic and chemical free ingredients.
My answer is very simple – veganism is my ethical and spiritual reality. It has led me to value that our bodies, which are the clothes that we chose for our souls are made and renewed by what we eat. It is this understanding that led me to Bakeart’s very specific and unique ingredient choice. Of course we are learning and course correcting and modifying every single day. The mantra is simple – if I don’t feed it to my children I won’t sell it.
The economics of a home run food business are very different from a commercial venture. For starters one doesn’t have the economies of scale that come with a large turn over. I very often share this example with my customers – for the same amount of electricity and time that one would use in a factory to make hundreds of loaves of bread, a home run business would churn out a single loaf. The raw material used at home is not procured in bulk and is bought at retail at the same prices that one buys regular groceries.
And of course there are overheads of rentals, capital expenditures and labor that a home business also incurs. Higher quality ingredients are priced higher and affect the price of the end product – for example the imported Belgian chocolate that we use or the organic or chemical residue-free fruit we work with. Relatively, one would compare the pricing of machine embroidered goods versus hand embroidered goods or retail clothing pricing versus custom tailoring pricing.
I’ve looked at Bakeart fledging and growing over the years and it is a much asked question and anticipation that we enhance our scales of operations. Currently we operate as a single person, limited production capacity venture. My thoughts with regards to scale are concerned with the need of adding preservatives and chemicals in food which would defeat the very purpose of this business. We do however constantly reinvent our product line and offerings and it will be my endeavour shortly, to conduct vegan cooking and baking classes to enable people transitioning to this healthful and ethical lifestyle smoothly. It is my intent to make this happen later in 2020!