I moved with family to Gurgaon in 2010, after 10 years of Corporate life in P&G and IBM in UK and Netherlands. I desperately wanted to get out of the rat race and do something on my own. I started researching various business opportunities that I could do. In the meantime, I desperately wanted to get back to my baking and cake decorating hobby, which had been my passion in England. There was only so much cake the kids and hubby could eat and having no friends and family around, made it very difficult for me to pursue my passion. Then I got an opportunity to do a charity bake sale for YWCA and I realized just how much I missed my baking.
I then created an FB page, named it De Cakery and posted all the pics of the cakes I had done for my friends in England. This was in 2010 when fondant cakes were not even heard much in Gurgaon and I thought I would be lucky if I got one cake to do a week. I started off with doing regular yummy cakes in different flavors and slowly but surely got my first designer cake order. A 32nd wedding anniversary cake for a couple, to be made based on the photos send by their daughter in law.
Meanwhile, I continued thinking and exploring different business opportunities, not really realizing that my one cake a week dream had, in fact, become more like 2 to 3 cakes a day business.
By 2012, I was single-handedly baking, frosting, filling, decorating and at times delivering personally, up to 5 cakes a day, every single day. Gone was the social calendar, the night outs, any thoughts of hosting a party, planning play dates, travelling or even shopping. It got to a point where I had no life, other than my cakes. I would drop the kids, pick them up ( the younger one was still in playschool) , attend PTA meetings, take calls, bake, deliver and I was a woman possessed. I used to cry myself to sleep at 3 am in the night after working a 12 hour day, knowing that I would need to wake up at 6 to get the kids ready for school and start my baking activities by 7 am. I slogged, I cried, I had nervous and physical breakdowns with the sheer amount of work and stress but every morning I woke up and did it all over again. Then the realization dawned on me that there was no way this could continue to be my passion, if it left me drained, with no time for my husband and 2 kids and no time to travel or socialize with family and friends. They say that the sky is the darkest, just before dawn. I hired my first helper, then it became two. By this time work had grown and I decided to take the major step of renting a factory unit in Udyog Vihar. I hired more people and taught each and everyone myself from scratch. No fancy bakers and no commercial ingredients and no big ovens. Just regular women doing regular work and enjoying themselves. Now the team has grown to 8, including 2 designers and an Operations Manager. But still every day, you’ll see me, fully immersed in my work, still designing and decorating and baking. But the difference now is, I learnt that life is a balance and Now I spent lots of time with my family and friends, make sure that I have all the time in the world for my kids and ensure that my team is just as happy as I am.
I very nearly gave up on my dream in 2012 and there were days when I wished I would never see a cake again but I didn’t give up. My advice to all the Moms here who are aspiring to enter entrepreneurship is to give it your full heart and soul. Success comes to those who want it badly and are determined enough to make it work for them. My husband was my pillar of strength throughout, pitching in whenever and wherever he could, never once making me feel guilty for all the lost family time. My kids love the fact that their Mum can make any superhero or princess with her hands from sugar and my Surgeon Mom feels that I have a more wonderful career than her. My biggest strong point is my De Cakery team, who love their job just as much or maybe even more than I do. These are the ones who stayed on in spite of the heavy workload, late nights and stress, coz of the sheer joy creating a thing of beauty gives them.
The downside is that my very conventional in-laws still cannot find it in their hearts to accept that their daughter in law with a management degree, bakes! That hurts me but I am learning to not seek everyone’s approval. I’ve always only been in competition with myself and I try to become a wee better every day. Last year De Cakery won the Gurgaon Foodie Best Bakery award, the excitement of which still continues in me. My next dream is to set up a retail shop for De Cakery, but I’ll only do it when I am ready and when my family is ready and my baby De Cakery, is ready
This story was shared by Divya in 2016 and she did fulfil her dream and opened the De Cakery’s retail store in 2017 at South Point Mall , Gurgaon.We wish Divya more success and happiness and thank her for sharing her journey that would truly inspire many.