text Panchali Illankoon
In this series, we talk to people who turned their passion for food and baking into a business idea amidst lockdown and COVID-19 fears. Some have been in the market for years and others saw the new opportunity and took it! These home businesses are changing the game and have overcome the odds of running a business during quarantine. We talk to home bakers who are operating during these times to bring the sweet and savoury to your very own doorstep!
For sisters, Aysha Farook and Haleema Farook, their journey as home bakers started in 2014 at the tender ages of 12 and 16. Since then, they’ve seen their business flourish over the years and despite the many challenges of the pandemic, Sweet Sensations thrived during each lockdown. “We didn’t start off thinking that we would go this far, we were so passionate about baking, yet so young. We didn’t expect to flourish”.
What do you offer?
When we first started, we initially only thought of doing cakes on pre-order basis but slowly we started doing brownies and they were a hit (and still are!). As time went, we were so excited because our business kept growing and we started introducing more items. Now we offer: Cakes, Cupcakes, Brownies, Eclairs, Meringues, Churros, Marshmallows, Chocolate Mousse and DIY Kits. Our best selling items are our Cakes, Brownies, Chocolate Mousse and our DIY Kits and we are personally fond of our famous classic chocolate cake!
What is Sweet Sensation’s signature style?
Do you have a story to tell, a place you would like to picture, or a scene you would like to recreate? I specialize in imagining little worlds in cake form and we can bring your stories to life. Our signature style can be seen in all the tiny details (every one of which can be uniquely tailored). It is a true labour of love and cannot be found anywhere else.
When did you start operations?
We started back in 2014. It was a sudden thought, we discussed amongst ourselves and we told our parents, and it was unbelievable, that our parents immediately agreed to this idea of ours. They supported us right away from the beginning and even now, they still do. At that time we were just 12 and 16!
As a business that has been in operations since 2014, what is it like running your operations in a pandemic?
The pandemic hit us like it did everyone. At first everything was confusing and frustrating. But before the pandemic, we had registered on Uber eats. Uber eats helped us a lot to flourish during the pandemic. During the lockdown days, we got so many orders and it kept us quite busy throughout the day. For us, it was a good way to destress amongst such a stressful period. Our orders helped us stay positive.
How are you ensuring the proper hygiene measures are taken in preparation and delivery?
Everything was so unexpected with the pandemic, but it wasn’t very difficult for us to prepare with proper hygiene. We always ensured proper hygiene before the pandemic so it wasn’t something we had to ensure suddenly. Usage of gloves and all the other precautions were always taken into consideration. Safety of our clients is always our main priority. Our mum always advised us that it’s quality over quantity. It was actually the delivery part which was quite challenging at first but we learnt quickly and we maintained contactless pickups and deliveries for the safety of our clients.
What do you enjoy about baking and operating your own home baking business?
Baking has been our interest since we were very small. As we grew, it helped us positively. When people feel stressed or anxious, they often look for distractions, and baking can be just that. Owning our own home business gives us a feeling of empowerment and it makes us feel independent. When you follow your passion, it gives a feeling of contentment and happiness. We weren’t the most confident before we started off but this business has made us so confident and we are proud of ourselves and our achievements.
How do you see home bakers going forward post Covid?
This pandemic helped us to prosper more because during the pandemic the orders on Uber eats and other online platforms upsurged. The pandemic has helped many home bakers reach a lot of their customers because of the increase in online orders. With social distancing, events and parties restricted, it affects the celebrations on which our business relies on. However, in this situation, gift boxes with cupcakes, brownies and other sweets have become popular and have a good demand so in that aspect we’ve changed our business to meet the new demands and the pandemic helped us become more innovative.
What’s in store for your brand in 2022?
We have planned to introduce exciting items on our menu, but it’s a surprise for our customers. We are in the process and very excited for the new change that we have planned ahead.
Any advice to anyone who wants to start their own business?
For us it all began with a hobby to a business. The most important thing is to never give up, at first things may go slow but it is always about trying.
*. Sweet Sensations take orders via Facebook and Instagram (@sensations.sweet). Bank Transfers and Cash on Delivery is available and delivery can be arranged.