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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Female Foodpreneurs: Ishrat Rahman on her bold step towards entrepreneurship

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I was first introduced to the world of baking at the age of twenty one when my mother, who is a passionate cook herself, started encouraging me to bake cakes and try out icing recipes. I fell in love with the whole process and found baking to be a very soothing and rewarding experience for me. I soon perfected the art of baking and used to love trying out different recipes for family and friends on their special occasions.l started learning a range of delectable flavors from books and YouTube. I never attended any renowned baking school. In 2014 I was looking for a customized birthday cake for my son’s first birthday and came across a home baker on YouTube. Following that recipe, I baked a simply designed birthday cake for the first time ever. I was glad on receiving positive feedback from my family and friends; they were impressed with the design and of course of the cake. 

This inspired me a lot to get started on my own business, Baked by Esha. From that day onwards I was getting a few orders. As with any startup, I too faced my fair share of challenges in terms of setting up the business, spreading the word, catering to different kinds of customers but I slowly and steadily gained confidence in taking decisions as I learned from my mistakes. Apart from having to take care of my household, I had my baby to take care of too. However, the major challenge for me was setting up my kitchen all over again and getting used to a whole environment.

I believe the first impression is the last impression and that is the golden rule I follow when I cater to any customer. The personalization and attention to detail provided goes a long way in terms of bonding with a customer and having them come back to you. I have delivered some cakes myself to key clients and spent time discussing themes and flavor profiles in detail including sampling sessions which have really gone down well and have been appreciated by a lot of my customers. I have also participated in many food festivals in Dhaka, selling food directly to the customers which was an amazing experience. 

Be passionate about the business you are entering into and do not give up easily. Setting up any startup is not an easy task and the bakery business will have its highs and lows and only someone committed and willing to put in everything can turn it into something beautiful. Here are some of the key things to consider when starting a new food business: Practice, practice, practice, food hygiene, develop a niche, research the market, get some good recipes behind you, know your numbers or get an accountant and of-course build a website. I followed this step slowly and the demand for baked goods has increased, making the bakery business a lucrative one. I want to encourage women who cannot work outside to start a food business from home.

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