MEET THE OWNER OF DEE BAKER

28 Oct 2020 | Student Life

During lockdown many of us tried our hands at baking, whether this was perfecting our banana bread or attempting to keep our sourdough starter alive. With over 9 million people placed on the furlough scheme, it is no surprise that some have turned this hobby into a business. In this Q&A we asked owner Darshana Patel, what the driving force was behind her starting Dee Baker and how she overcomes setbacks. Here’s what she had to say…

Tell us about your business?

I’m a home baker, specialising in buttercream cakes and sweet treats.

What was the driving force for you to start your business?

Furlough! Going from working a busy 9-5 in the city to doing absolutely nothing was a weird experience for me. Don’t get me wrong, the time I had off was fantastic, but I felt as though something was missing. I needed a project. I have always had a passion for baking and the timing couldn’t have been better. I was furloughed at the end of March, which meant I had a lot of time to spend on my new baking venture.

What are your businesses’ core values?

To provide exceptional tasting cakes and sweet treats that people enjoy and shout about! I have had my fair share of buying ‘ok tasting cakes’ or ‘it looks great but the cake is dry’ kind of cakes. This is always a disappointment as you are paying a price for it too! As a cake lover myself and having perfectionist tendencies, I never send a cake out knowing it is below standard. I spend a lot of time researching so that I can continuously improve and produce even better tasting cakes.

How do you overcome setbacks?

I have had my fair share of cake decorating disasters, which is why I now prepare in advance. Preparation is key! I draw out my cake decoration ideas instead of free styling it, which I did when I first started out. I always have a backup batch of Vanilla buttercream in the freezer just in case something goes wrong. Don’t make failure an option.

If you had one piece of advice for students setting out their own business, what would it be?

Research, preparation and time! This is vital in any business you are looking to set up. Spend time researching and preparing, don’t rush into anything without knowing your business. Know your business inside out before you go ‘live’. Everyone makes mistakes. However, you cannot afford to make big ones from the start as reputation is key.

Are there any other brands within your sector that you are following at the moment?

Apart from baking I love cooking in general. I am currently taking pointers from Jamie Oliver on how to create the perfect sourdough pizza.

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What has your biggest achievement been so far?

Being a self-taught baker. From watching hours of online tutorials, years of Bake Off and a lot of practice, I am at a great level of baking which continues to improve over time. 

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