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Starting a home bakery? Rayzin’s Ananya Ray knows how to cut costs

Precision and overhead budgeting goes a long way in the cake-making business, Ray confirms

Aatreyee Mohanta | Published 08.01.22, 05:29 PM
(From left) A tiered banana and walnut cake from Rayzin’s menu; Rayzin founder Ananya Ray

(From left) A tiered banana and walnut cake from Rayzin’s menu; Rayzin founder Ananya Ray

Despite a slew of oddball challenges, running a home bakery is easier today than it was half a decade ago. Besides instant grocery deliveries and access to virtual assistants, there’s also a more engaging and experimental buyer base. But when Rayzin’s Ananya Ray started her baking service in 2015, word of mouth, not Instagram, was the key marketing strategy.

“My friends and family had always appreciated my desserts. People started telling me, ‘If you start a bakery, we will buy cakes from you.’ I thought this might be the right time to start my own endeavour,” says Ray. Over a video call, the baker who runs her kitchen out of Jodhpur Park tells us that her first equipment wasn’t some fancy, digital countertop convection but a good ol’ Bajaj oven.

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“None of my family members ever had a knack for baking, I think I spontaneously came across a recipe in a magazine somewhere and used my mom’s Bajaj oven to bake my first cake,” recalls the 52-year-old. 

 

She started baking with classic flavours such as vanilla, chocolate and strawberry along with buttercream frosting and would often bring her bakes to college to share with her friends. When she finally started her business, she named her label ‘Rayzin’ which is a clever amalgamation of the words ‘Ray’ and ‘raisin’. 

“I got great feedback on my lemon tarts, brownies and Shepherd's pies. I even made my first-ever wedding cake from home. Now that I think about it, I wonder how I managed it all from a humble home kitchen,” the baker laughs.

 

The Big Move

Once Rayzin started getting bulk orders, Ray saw the need for a commercial set-up. In 2017, she rented out a place in Jodhpur Park. 

“It was a huge financial investment for me because I had to get ovens, mixers, bread slicers and some other essential pieces of equipment to function. But there was nowhere else in the world I would rather be than at Rayzin. It was my baby,” Ray reminisces. 

 

The baker managed to train five workers and had to identify and remedy several practical glitches. Precision was one of her biggest priorities, Ray shares. 

“I had to educate my staff on how crucial it was for them to follow my recipe to the T because that is the essence and flavour of the bakery,” she tells us. Be it tarts, cakes, bread or savouries, Ray only relies on her own signature recipes. Even though her staff works under her supervision, the baker admits to being finicky about finishing touches. 

“I never send anything out without checking it first, I must be satisfied with the end product. If anything goes wrong, it has to be done again,” she laughs.

 

Pros and Cons

Making cakes for a living is, of course, no cakewalk. Along with a huge financial investment, there are some challenges that Ray faces on a day-to-day basis. 

“Working as a home baker is extremely hectic but in many ways, I believe it is safer. If one can get some help and support from their family to run a bakery from home, there’s nothing like it because the minute you move out, the overhead expenses are enormous,” Ray shares.

Be it rent, electricity or staff salaries, keeping a business afloat in a pandemic is not easy. “When the pandemic hit, I had to close everything. I was in tears, I didn’t know whether I would ever be able to reopen. I lost a lot of stock, I ended up distributing so many desserts amongst family and friends,” she reveals.

 

In an unpredictable and niche market, repeat customers can help small businesses break even, the baker believes. “When a customer comes back and orders again, or shares positive feedback, all my worries fade away and I know that what I’m doing is worth it,” Ray adds.

My Kolkata’s Rapid Fire

A tip for young home bakers?

Do not compromise on quality on any count. And in the current situation, try to function out of your home kitchen for as long as you can. 

OG Products that have been on the menu since the beginning:

Lemon tarts and brownies.

Most popular cake flavours

Classic chocolate and a variety of chocolate-based flavours like choco-mocha and choco-strawberry to name a few.

The baker’s recommended party savouries:

Puff pastry delights like Mutton Patties and Egg Patties along with Shepherd's Pie.

Rayzin Bakery offers a variety of bread like focaccia, dinner rolls and garlic bread. When it comes to celebration cakes or themed creations, options range from buttercream and ganache frosting to whipped cream and fondant work. Everything on the menu is made-to-order. 

Rayzin is located at 1/1L Jodhpur Park, near 95 Pally Puja grounds. For orders call +91 98305 12963

 

Last updated on 08.01.22, 05:29 PM
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