Due to the Covid-19 situation, there are more and more home based bakery popping up. Furthermore with the low entry to barrier to setting up a home based bakery (afterall, all you need is a oven, a mixer and an instagram/facebook account) so there are more bakery starting up.
However is it really that simple?
First of all, as a professional Chef and bakery owner, I will not encourage you to jump into this pool without direction, after all you might bake the nicest brownie or cookies in the world (your orbit) but how would u differentiate from the other person whose brownie/cookie is the best amongst their friends? Whist the first few months could be easy, when your friends and aquantinance hear that you are starting your own business, trust me, they will support you. You count the earnings and cash, and you think to yourself, hey aint this easy? However this does not mean long term success - imagine you are 20 and you feel that you have nothing to lose (since you probably still live with your parents), think about the realities of life when you are 30, when u need to pay bills, have your own house, feed your own child - then, think again is your business viable in the long run? You probably think that I want to start selling at home, then open a shop after sometime but trust me even when I say the giants of making brownies from US Mrs Fieldscannot survive the rent in Singapore, you probably cannot do it too.
Before you even think about your business name, you need to think of what you want to sell and how are you going to be different? Trends come and go (think about sweet talk, each a cup bubble tea) but only certain things stay the same.
If you probably already feel very demoralised after reading my post so far, do not feel so bad, this long post which I take time out to craft might destroy your dream, or make you a stronger person / have a stronger foundation for your home base bakery.
1. Think about your business niche
First thing you need to do is to think about your business niche, cookies, brownies and nutella tarts are not business niche. My neighbour can probably do better then you at a faster speed and yet at the same time taste better. Anyone who went to the same website as you would have the same recipe and their products will taste the same. So how can you stand out from the rest?
If you still insist on selling cookies, good for you! But please make sure that people will only buy it from you and not anyone else. Your cookies better be DAMN good.
2. Think about your business projections
It is easy to think about this month after u make your first dollar. I remember my first order when I was a home baker, even before I went pastry school, I baked for my friends and I even accepted a corporate order from ZA, doing some sugar cookies. I didn't sleep for 3 days and I made $300. I went to Macdonalds to celebrate after that and felt like, why would I even work for someone since $300 is so easy to make?
But the truth be told, how many chance would u have in your business lifetime to have so many $300 deals in a month? For myself, it was the last I heard from them, and after calculating my cost as well as not sleeping fro 3 days, I actually make around less than $3/hour, which does not make sense at all. Working for someone does means lesser money some times, but it actually mean stability. Think of how your home based bakery or business will grow in the next 5 years.
3. Understand your market, your competitor and most importantly, yourself
If you choose to go into the wedding cake market like I did, you need to understand your own competitors, what are their unique selling point, what is their pricepoint and what is their style. From there, try to stand out from them (not using price) using your own unique style/skillsets/flavours.
As no two artist is the same, sometimes its just a tad tiring to let the customer show you another person's work and ask you to copy, it is tough for you to create a distinctive style of your own to stand out from the market. From someone who have been through alot, I have to say style is something which is cultivated and discovered. It does not happen overnight and you need years of practice and honing. Start from learning from some teachers, and then from there, develop your own skills set.
4. Laws, regulations and the most obvious factor - if you home is suitable for a home based business?
Here are some resources and links for your reference:
Here's a pretty useful information you can get from singapore legal advicewebsite. (Do You Need a Licence to Sell Home Bakes in Singapore?)If you need legal guidelines from HDB thiswill be helpful. And here's some guidelines from SFA
Besides all these articles which will help you, I suggest you get certified with a SFA food handler's licence too. As this will help you in the long run about food hygiene. I have two dogs at home, and they shed a lot, so I personally do not think that my home is suitable for selling any food to general public.
5. Support, support and Support
It is great to know that you have your things all well thought out and you are sure to start your own home business. Now the most important thing you need to garner is support. Support from your closet family members, support from your friends. This might seem minute, however when I first started out my baking journey, my family were not supportive. My dad felt that it is a "handicraft" job and scaling will be difficult. Whilst my mum felt that for a prestigious school graduate to work in something so "manual" with very little pay, it is not worth it. I only slowly got support from my parents and family after showing them my passion, working in a hotel until wee hours without complaining about low pay or being tired.
After all that is said and done, I wish those of you who are considering to start your own home based business have more idea of what is about to come. I will be writing more on this topic soon and I hope I have provided good insights for you.