Where passion flows, it just shows!
Meet the wonderful Ms. Simran Oberoi Multani, founder of Ovenderful. Her transformation from a seasoned Human Resources consultant to a passionate baker to the founder of a wonderful baking company and community is a tale of inspiration.
Ovenderful started from a place of love. Simran, who started a blog on her experimental bakes and was simply overwhelmed by the response she got to her unique tarts and cakes. Her love for her son also drove her to make a decision to dust it all up and get started – one small but wo(ve)nderful step at a time!
Ovenderful has a special feather to its cap-it finds ways to link business with social well-being. From providing vocational training to young girls to selling their mouth-watering bakes to support fund-raising for abandoned dogs, Simran has shown that business and social causes don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Kidskintha did an exclusive interview with Simran Oberoi Multani. Read on…
What was the inspiration behind your start-up? Was your start-up an answer to some challenge you came across yourself?
Ovenderful started as a baking blog just so that I could chronicle my experiences and recipes.However, last year November, as my son was turning a year old, I went through the phase that several women go through – the most beautiful moment of my life was when I became amother, but I wanted that to be part of my overall identity and an extension of the person I already was. I am an HR professional by experience and education, with over a decade of consulting experience. But even that didn’t seem to drive my enthusiasm in a way that baking did. In addition to that, organisations do not have the kind of support system that enabled new mothers to bring their little ones to work and be at peace in their minds, given our nuclear family setups. Hence the passion to bake as well as my desire to be at home with my son drove me to undertake this entrepreneurial venture.
What led you to believe that this would be your niche?
The fact that friends and family believed that what I was baking was worth being paid for! I think self-belief definitely helps one to reach a decision such as this, but the belief from our external support system sustains that decision.
What is your Startup’s big picture? Do you believe you idea can change the world in some way?
I think it has already changed the world in small ways if not big. One of my great motivations for baking is to raise funds for abandoned and injured animals – I have baked for Indigree Angels Trust, Help & Heal Animal Trust and Precious Paws Foundation. Also, I kickstarted baking classes at an NGO Search Years, in Gurgaon, to create a line of vocational training, for 12 girls. Both these things have defined the character of my start-up – to be able to link one’s passion to two elements always : to business and to social well-being.
Do you see the Internet as your biggest online partner?
Yes. It has been one of the biggest influencers for my startup. It has also helped raise awareness and spread the word about it.
How big do you envision your Market size and reach to be? What is your revenue model? Who are your competitors?
My market size is as big as it can get because I specialize in two elements which cater to most people- the classic bakes and the healthy bakes Within that also there are customized variants such as alternative flour bakes, eggless, nut-free, butter-less and kid-friendly.
What is your brand proposition?
My “belief” proposition is that there is nothing that beats the taste of traditional classic bakesthat were the soul of all family times and togetherness in the past. That is what Ovenderful stands for – you don’t need a special occasion to eat the goodies and they can be had on a regular basis. It is so versatile that it can be part of a party or a child’s tiffin, it can cater to someone who loves deep and indulgent flavours, or someone who loves the earthy and healthier flavours.
How is your startup being funded? Are there any future plans of investments?
Self – funded, I fund it through my own earnings and savings. There are definitely some plans in the pipeline in terms of funding certain key investments in 2015.
What are the revenues and margins like in this industry? When is the Break-Even expected by?
Home baking ventures rely largely on the time and skill of the baker, as well as the quality of the ingredients. That is what differentiates them from large commercial bakeries. It is more time as well as quality intensive than equipment-intensive. Revenues and margins will therefore depend on the time as well as the quality of ingredients used and both of these are on the higher end. Therefore margins can be narrow and revenues take time to come. But over a period of time and with word of mouth, it is an immensely satisfying venture in all ways. Break-even will differ from one venture to the other since some bakers might invest in expensive equipment which can be time saving and so they can take more orders, whereas some might not make large investments and focus on fewer orders at a time.
What are the current marketing efforts being incorporated? What do you see as necessary to take your business to the next level?
Word of mouth marketing as well as online branding are the key efforts for my startup so far. They are imperative for my business to reach the next level. However, I think a larger degree of marketing efforts, particularly focused towards the right target audience is critical and I plan to work on that in the coming year.
What does your typical day look like juggling between mom responsibilities and owning a business?
When companies talk about work life balance, they don’t realize that it is a daily struggle and a long term one– against many factors, such as managing one’s guilt of being busy with multiple things, balancing the time one’s child needs with the requirements of a fledging business. So my day is only as structured as I am able to make it as of now with a toddler at home. I do ensure that I have lists related to home and business separated out, and I try to bake early mornings or during the time my son sleeps in the day. An additional hour or two are spent in the night in activities such as researching, packing, planning and preparing for the coming days. I also try to space out my baking orders in a way that no day is pressurized. If there is an urgent bake, then my son joins me in the kitchen and spends some of his time playing with the baking tins and accessories while I get my work done!
Please share particular challenges on managing a growing business being a mom, which is never less than a full-time job.
I think the biggest challenge is to be able to compartmentalize our minds. There are multiple times during the day when as a Mom I am thinking or working on certain things with my son, and thoughts related to my business interrupt my concentration. Similarly there are times when I am busy with my baking or packing, and my mind wanders to aspects related to my son. So the challenge is that the mind is never in one clear zone when one is a mom as well as focusing on a business – it keeps changing where it wants to be at a given point in time!
What is your personal mantra for motivation?
I think the biggest motivator is the fact that I am trying to create a business out of my passion. When one tries to do that, it doesn’t seem like work any longer. A large degree of motivation also comes from the fact that the nature of my business is such that it helps me create some nutritious and well-balanced food habits in my own family.
What message do you have for other aspiring Momprenuers?
It’s the toughest thing to try and manage a baby as well as a business. But both are in your life for a reason and are choices you have made. That means they are part of the person you are, so you shouldn’t get let go of either. It is easy sometimes to fall into a guilt trap and believe that the business takes up a lot of your time, which your baby might need. But one needs to fight that feeling because the biggest gift you can give to your children is your own well-being and their independence. Both of these will stem from the work you put into your business.
Simran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Devishobha is the founder of Kidskintha- an online parenting resource repository dedicated to jumpstarting conversations around millennial parenting, encouraging parents to bring their attention to words, thoughts and actions that will enable them to raise a well-rounded, empathic and motivated generation. You can also find her on the Huffington Post, Parent.co, Entrepreneur, Lifehack, TinyBuddha and many other publications.