Interview by Taha Firdous
Tell us about yourself
Hello! I am Sana Imtiyaz Hussaini. I am 20 years old. I was born and brought up in Srinagar, Kashmir. I did my schooling from Presentation Convent Senior Secondary School, Rajbagh. I am yet to join college, but have been deeply interested in baking and hold an online business of baking cakes by the name of Sweet Temptation By Sana Imtiyaz.
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How did you come up with the idea of changing your way from being a medical aspirant to being an entrepreneur?
Since the beginning of my childhood, I was deeply fascinated by cooking and baking and I’d try experimenting with things. This love for baking slowly grew stronger and it became my passion, but I never thought of making it my career because of the cultural stereotypes associated with it. My parents, like all parents, wanted me to choose a sound and acceptable path and wanted me to become a doctor. However, I never found a way through it because of some burglary and forgery in my admissions, landing me into a place I dreamt and desired.
Do you hold any degree in baking?
Yes, I have done certificate courses in baking from Institute of Hotel Management. I recently did a diploma course in cake decoration. I plan to pursue my education in the same field and be academically equipped with baking.
Do you handle the business all alone? Where is your factory located and how many have you employed?
I started the online Instagram account in early 2017 by the handle Sweet Temptation by Sana and since then I operate my business from my home and handle it all alone. As a woman entrepreneur, I’d definitely want to do something for unemployed people or ones who are passionate about choosing baking as their profession. My baking kitchen is the same where my family cooks and eats.
What are the types of cakes and bakery items do you bake?
I started by selling basic cakes but with the growing demands and my proficiency in baking, I experimented and introduced a lot of varieties. Customers have a variety of cakes to choose from. There are Black and White Forest Cakes, Fondant cakes, Oreo, Nutella, Choco-Truffle, Cheese Cakes, and many more. I also make chocolates, cupcakes and cake sickles.
What’s the hardest part of maintaining this in the valley, keeping in view the stereotypes associated with your profession?
Kashmir is a very narrow-minded place when it comes in terms of accepting diverse professions. People have classified reputes only on the basis of doctors and engineers. They don’t seem to come out of it, but there are always exceptions. Despite so much of criticism, active or passive, I think the only thing that keeps me going is my love for baking, my parents and friends’ support. They always appreciate my work and push me towards progress in my field of liking.
What’s your family’s take on this venture?
My family has been extremely supportive towards the profession I chose. I really believe that it would be impossible for me to do it without their support. There are happy to see me doing things for gracing others occasion, for bringing a smile on a little kid that I bake a cake for.
What are your future plans for expanding your business?
My foremost priority right now is to focus on my education. I’m sure about my career in bakery, but I’d first want to focus on my academics before I think about expanding my business. Being 20 years old, I think there’s a lot that can be done from my end to make hearts happy.