Social media has totally changed the game for entrepreneur wannabes. Many of us spend our spare moments on the MRT or while waiting for our food to arrive scrolling through our Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts. Why not use these platforms to your advantage and set up online businesses, where you can show off your talent?
If you’ve received compliments on your cakes, and friends have begged you to bake for their birthdays, an online cake business may just be the first step towards realising your dream to becoming an established baker. It may even be a good way of earning some extra pocket money! Hear from some budding bakers about their exciting entrepreneurial journey and the difficulties that come along with it.
- Evelyn Leong, @cupcakexspices on Instagram
17-year-old Evelyn greets us with a sweet smile as we sit down at Dean & DeLuca to talk about her Instagram-based startup over dinner. Having graduated from Unity Secondary School, Evelyn is currently planning her college education overseas. The teen started her online cake business last June when people around her started asking her to bake for them.
Evelyn admits that one challenge of managing an online cake business is meeting up with her customers. As she manages her business independently, she sometimes gets so many orders that it’s impossible to deliver them all by herself. “Yesterday, I had 6 cartons, which is about 300 jar cakes, to deliver alone. I couldn’t do it, so my dad helped send me around,” she explained.
She offers jar cakes of 15 different flavors, including popular ones like Cookies & Cream and S’mores ($7.20 to $8.20 depending on the flavor). Cookies, cupcakes, macarons and brownies are also part of her impressive inventory.
After taste-testing 7 of her flavors we can easily tell why this gracious young lady has such good business. The cake is not too dry, nor too rich or heavily creamed. The bestseller, Cookies & Cream flavored, is our personal favorite. The generous amount of cream has just enough crushed cookies in it without overpowering the chocolate cake.
- Shermaine Khoo, @shermainexk on Instagram
A fresh graduate from the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), Shermaine, 22, spends her free time indulging in her favourite hobby: baking. She was just 16 when she gained her interest, as she wanted to bake healthy muffins and make her own granola as a way for her to lose weight. “I only properly started the cake business last July,” she remarked.
We can’t help but finish an entire box of 6 chocolate cupcakes ($3.50 each) with cheesecake swirls topped with nutella and caramelized biscuits that Shermaine gave us, because they actually taste as good as they sound.
Shermaine fully customizes her cakes for her clients according to the theme and flavor they prefer “So every cake that I bake is actually ‘specialized’ to that person,” she reveals. Talk about creativity and dedication!
Her biggest challenge of maintaining an online cake shop is trying to balance her schoolwork, business and social life. “Normally, my weekends are ‘burnt’ by baking,” she laments.
- Zee & Elle Bakery, @zeelle.bakery on Instagram
Elle Heng, a NUS undergrad, and her boyfriend, Wong Zi Jie, manages an online bakery business, cutely named Zee & Elle Bakery. The cheerful and bubbly 22-year-old is a Culinary & Catering Management graduate from Temasek Polytechnic, when she interned as a baker, which probably explains the success of her bakery! Elle is the only baker on our list who is formally trained to bake various kinds of cake.
Zee & Elle Bakery’s wide variety of bakes ranges from New York Cheesecakes to Cookies & Cream macarons to Matcha lava cakes. She also supplies to cafés in Singapore, such as Mean Bean & Wicked Grind.
Although owning an online cake shop has its perks, like being able to reach out to more customers and not having to pay rent, Elle shares that she finds the aspect of meeting up with customers difficult. A current resident in the east of Singapore, she said that customers sometimes pull out due to the travelling distance. But she reassured us that they would pull out before she baked the cakes, so there was no loss.
We love Elle’s adorable mini cupcakes ($1.30 each). Although they look like they’re probably going to give you diabetes, the cupcakes will satisfy your taste buds without doubt. Not to mention the pretty combination of light blue and pink frosting, and the fact that they fit right into your mouth! Yum.
Managing an online cake business does seem to be a good platform for showcasing those who’ve got what it takes – without the huge financial risks of running a physical shop. Of course, there are downsides and upsides to everything, but these aspiring bakers prove that there’s really nothing to stop one from pursuing what you really like and want!
Tell us what you think of the cakes from these online cake shops in the ‘Comments’ section below!