Is traditional bakery business still relevant?

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We are now at the age where disruptive industries started to emerge and accelerating their growth 10x wiping out competition out of traditional, store front businesses.  These industries capitalised on leveraging other people’s assets and utilising them to gain profits.  Investment in traditional fixed assets is no longer necessary.  Technology and automation is on high demand.

Having built a career in IT and having baking as a side-gig, I used to dream of going after my artistic pursuits in cake decorating full time.  But having seen, read and followed numerous futurists predicting the end of traditional businesses.  It makes me wonder if traditional bakeries will ever become obsolete.

Allow me to state some of my thoughts:

-Youtube has grown exponentially over the past 5 years teaching how-to videos in baking a cake, decorating down to cool decorating ideas and the number grows every day.  I do not have the statistics but I can tell you how many insights I get from my YouTube buttercream decorating videos looking for my free Italian meringue recipe and buttercream flowers. 

-With the growing influencer economy, these “influencers” are motivated to grow their “influence” by posting vlogs.  While most of them are purely done out of self-absorbed obsession and spending so much time being “interesting”, there are a lot of influencers who posted a lot of value that can easily accelerate their viewers aka DIY-ers up to the level of the decorators who took years to figure out these stuff.

-Now the DIY economy is starting to be ever more apparent.  Home makers making cakes and crafts for family and friends and the appeal of homemade is more appealing to their immediate market because chances are they are selling it cheap or for free and simply doing it for the
“fun” of it.  They are not charging for their time of making it because it is just a “hobby”.  This slowly taking over the overall market from these home makers and DIYers.

-Baking studios are popping up like mushrooms and soon they will be taken over with home based studios and online classes, which I will later discuss for another time.  But the very existence of baking studios shows there is a demand for learners wanting to master the cake decorating craft.

So does it still make sense to build a traditional bakery business? 

Maybe…. given the following:

– Your target market is the mass market who just want to buy bread or readily made cake.

-You have built a strong brand that people will think of you when they hear a certain word like Pandan chiffon is to Bengawan solo OR chocolate cake is to Awfully chocolate OR Mille crepe is to LadyM.

-You have big capital to spend in marketing to expand reach to your audience.

Now I know you may have dreams of starting your own bakery.  I have.  And to be honest, high rental and staff to work for you plus the extra tight measures from MOM for increasing quotas for foreign skilled workers to work for you, it is not easy to start your own traditional bakery biz.  At this point in time, it is better to start being a home baker slowly building your side-gig from your home and be future ready.  How to be future ready you ask? 

In a nutshell, this is what I can tell you so far trying to figure it out how to build a successful business from home

  1. Be a master of your own craft.
  2. Stay truly authentic and relatable
  3. Treat everyone as a VIP but also recognise your own self worth
  4. Settle your own inner demons
  5. Listen to the market
  6. Have a mentor
  7. Learn as if you are teaching the stuff you do
  8. Leverage

I will explain each of these points in the next following days. Stay tuned.



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