Meet Sabrina Shigri the owner of Islamabad-based Bake O’Clock whose delicious croissants, brioche bread and delicious cakes are baked from the comfort of her home.
Tell us a little about yourself and your journey as a baker?
Well, I spent four years doing a law degree, safe to say an external degree created half a lawyer! On a serious note being a baker hasn’t been easy and since I established Bake O’ Clock in September 2017, it has been a real adventure. What I’ve loved has been participating in food events where I would need to bake enough to feed an army, and as a baker I do miss the festivals.
What inspired you to start Bake O’Clock?
Baking has always been my passion, but what really inspired me was when, during an internship I was doing, II baked a cheesecake for my colleagues and seniors — they immediately fell in love with what I had made and they kept insisting that I establish a brand. Since that was my last year of university I thought why not? After all, life is about taking a ‘leap of faith’ which I took and have not regretted a single day because I have been baking since I was 14-years-old but that was solely for the family.
What were some of the challenges you faced while starting your business?
Quite a few actually — for any new venture the market is tough because in the start people are apprehensive to order from a start-up. Therefore, the first year was a rough one; I was understanding the demands of the market and what the consumer required from a bakery.
Can you describe your worst baking disaster? Did any of your orders ever mess up?
Of course, to be honest messing up an order is a part of learning, and thankfully it was in the first few months when Bake O’ Clock was established. The order was for a four-pound mousse cake which needed to be frozen for at least a day, but the electricity did not cooperate — I tried to set the cake for half the day but it did not work well. I had to apologize to the customer and sent him a basket with cookies and brownies. Trust me the cake was a nightmare and didn’t touch the frozen side of baking for a few months back then.
How do you organize, plan and prioritize your work in the baking profession?
The best way that I found to organize, plan and prioritize my work in the baking profession is to sort out the ingredients, because if I go blindly to bake a cake there are chances that I would create chaos in the kitchen. Therefore, the first step, always, for me is to line up what I need to bake a particular item, so I don’t waste any time getting an item while baking. After organizing the key elements, it is easy flow to create the perfect baked product. After the organisation, I plan out the orders, as I rarely take an order which is required in two-hours because then the quality might be altered, and my main aim to give the best goods, so the minimum advance notice for an order is eight-hours, if not a day’s notice, this helps to maintain a healthy balance between baking and my family time.
What is the hardest part about being a baker and owning your own bakery right out of your home?
The hardest part would be the fact that I handle the Social Media, which means communication with customers. It gets difficult when I am in the kitchen because I need to concentrate on the baking, but in reality I don’t mind it — it’s not that hard now. I am accustomed to it and multitasking helps to keep the mind busy.
How do you think you are able to stand out among your competitors?
I don’t want to seem as though I am bragging but I think that I am able to stand out among my competitors because the products I provide are fresh, most of the time.The goods are still warm when they are delivered to the customer. Besides the baked items being baked fresh, my motto is ‘the customer is always right’ hence I try to ensure that the customers feel at ease when ordering from Bake O’ Clock.
What is the most rewarding aspect of owning your own bakery at home?
It’s the happiness of the customers because at the end of the day, I bake to satisfy their sweet cravings and when I receive messages stating that they loved the particular product, that just brings a smile to my face.
What is your specialty and most ordered item?
Nutella Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Croissant, Brioche Bread.
What skill would you say is most important for you to have in your line of work?
Determination, persistence, good communication and patience.