Delivering not just delicious cakes, but also empowering women bakers in 3 different cities, LocalPreneur Niharika Abhishek has given opportunities to 150 home bakers up until now through Kukkr, an online platform to order customized cakes crafted by talented home bakers.
Well, you can’t make everyone happy, but there’s someone who can do that, and it’s a pastry chef! If you are someone who bites on the cake the moment you see one, hold on for a minute my friend, because the cakes we are talking about today are not like your regular ones. LocalPreneur Niharika Abhishek makes sure that every cake ordered from Kukkr has intricate details, tastes great, and looks gorgeous.
Abhishansa Mathur was in a heart-baking conversation with Niharika Abhishek about her journey of successfully leading Kukkr in 3 different cities!
Can you tell us something about you?
After completing my schooling in Singapore and graduation in the UK, from the University of Bath in BSc Hons Business Administration, I pursued an expatriate career in a multinational for a few years. When I returned to India and started a family, I started to look for opportunities to become an entrepreneur. Since my return to India, I’ve been in awe of how many women pursue home-run businesses, using various skills such as cooking, baking, decoration, etc, by marketing within their own social circles.
I really appreciated the ingenuity of these women to offer customized and themed options, but observed how they often lacked the resources to grow beyond their known contacts. There has been a steady rise in women entering the home baking business due to the growing demand, and I believe building a network of home bakers under a common brand name would help organize this extremely fragmented sector.
Where did it all begin for you?
On the 24th of March 2020, the eve of the Covid lockdown, we delivered an Anniversary cake in Bangalore at 11:30 pm. The customer was a friend, who reached out to us because all the other alternatives they tried said they couldn’t deliver. They were absolutely ecstatic when they received the cake, and wrote a very nice review, and recommended us on social media. Soon we started receiving enquiries and orders. We started to see the potential of having home bakers offering their products under a single brand name. From then on, it was only upwards and onwards.
Please share the What, When, & How of starting your brand Kukkr?
With the boom of online marketplaces of all kinds of products, and online shopping becoming the norm, a platform to order customized cakes from tried and tested home bakers was the need of the hour and Kukkr is the perfect solution for this. Kukkr is an online platform to order customized cakes crafted by home bakers in your city. We offer customers creative and bespoke designs for themed cakes, dessert table items, and wedding cakes.
Once the order is placed, we find a home baker from our network with the relevant experience to prepare the order, and we home deliver everything right to your doorstep. Since its inception, we have put women’s empowerment at the centre of everything we do. We partner with talented home bakers who are seriously committed to running a business from their home kitchens and would greatly benefit from our marketing platform. Home bakers are on-boarded after references, sampling, and detailed reviews. We induct them about health and safety guidelines and packaging requirements to ensure every order we deliver is consistent.
Can you walk us through your journey so far?
In the first year of business, Kukkr started operations in Bangalore and subsequently launched in Hyderabad and Mumbai. The network consists of more than 150 home bakers, who are experienced and extremely talented. Kukkr developed its online store, www.kukkr.com, in November 2020 and today consists of more than 250 unique custom cakes. It’s been less than a year, Kukkr has supplied more than 1000 cakes and we are so happy that 35% of our current orders are from repeat customers.
What are some challenges that you faced while running Kukkr?
Finding the right kind of home bakers who take this business seriously, and remain committed to fulfilling orders has been our biggest challenge. Many home bakers pursue this as a passion and find it hard to consistently deliver orders. We are careful in our selection of home bakers, as we need to be confident that they can handle the volume of business to our expectations. The other challenge has been the delivery of cakes, as cakes are both delicate and perishable. Standardizing packaging guidelines, and providing clear and consistent instructions have been the key to tackling this.
What according to Niharika Abhishek makes Kukkr stand out amongst other brands?
We have built a strong network of experienced and talented home bakers all over the country, which enables us to cater to the demand for specialized cakes in multiple cities. This network is our biggest strength and expanding this lays the foundation for our growth.
How are you using Social Media to promote your homegrown brand?
Social Media has been a game-changer for us, and sharing snapshots of the customer feedback and client celebration photos has really catapulted us to take-off. There is a trust factor when people see visuals of real orders, for real customers. Engaging with Influencers has also contributed to increasing our follower base.
What is your 5-year plan for Kukkr?
Our aim is to become the go-to, or the first choice, for people looking to order customized desserts in the major cities of India. We hope to build a fleet of our own delivery vehicles. We are looking to provide formal training to our committed home bakers to further hone their skills and expertise.
Can you share your business model with us?
When we receive an order or an enquiry, we scout for home bakers matching the necessary expertise. We get more competitive prices from our bakers due to the volume of business we are able to give them. This allows us to add our margins and yet give competitive prices to our customers.
One advice/suggestion you’d like to give aspiring entrepreneurs out there.
Social Media is a really powerful tool, and it is worth investing effort into building a strong follower base, as they really champion your brand. Get the most of it by leveraging all its tools, and analyzing your competitor’s pages. These will provide very valuable insights for anyone looking to kick-start their business.