An alumnus from IIMB, Belly&Soul founder Aparna George has extensive experience in workforce management practices across local and global roles. A self taught baker, she started Belly&Soul a home based baking business in 2013 following a break from corporate life. Today, she juggles her baking business in parallel with being a consultant for a boutique Human Capital Consulting company. We chat with her about the venture. An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture?
When I took a break from a corporate career in 2012, I used the time I had to dabble in a lot of interest areas, one of them being baking. I baked for my family and was spurred by my need to provide them with healthier options that were chemical and preservative free. One thing led to another and as the circle of people who appreciated my bakes grew, so did my confidence and with a little prodding and loads of help, Belly&Soul was born.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
The Belly Box. This assortment of sweet and savoury bakes that I do once each month seems to have caught people’s imagination. Apart from that, I keep my food simple and fuss-free but at the same time I love to experiment and keep adding to my repertoire.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Baking is not a mystery and certainly not rocket science! Everyone thinks they can bake and so there are always those who don’t quite value the effort that goes into a home baked artisanal product. However, I find that increasingly people are open to experimenting and going beyond their neighbourhood bakeries. Secondly, reaching out to new markets is a big challenge. Since this is a small business and I don’t have the deep pockets to advertise, I rely on word of mouth to get me new business.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
Not really but I must say my husband is a great sounding board in every aspect of managing this business. In fact, the logo is hand drawn by him because we wanted a homely, handmade touch for the identity as well.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Facebook. This is my primary communication vehicle.
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
The only strategy, if you can call it that, is to focus on quality and I believe the food should speak for itself. Apart from that I believe the Belly Box is extremely reasonably priced (underpriced according to my husband). It’s my way of inviting more people to experience artisanal baking.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Ability to think on your toes
- Clarity on your business objectives
Like Belly&Soul on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bellyandsoul?fref=ts