Starting with pavlovas, and moving to other delights
For Yasha Siddiqui, passion for cooking became ‘serious business’ a year ago. He launched a startup called Poached Pear and began selling desserts.
"I always liked cooking. About two years back, during a volunteer programme, I was placed in Australia where I had to cook on a mass level and I thought I really liked it," says Siddique.
"Stories from my time there kept popping up every now and then -- and a friend suggested I seriously consider a business in cooking," he adds.
Siddique began by making pavlovas, a rich Australian dessert made of fresh fruit and whipped cream.
However, making pavlova was not easy. The ingredients had to be imported. And the hot weather of Karachi would cause it to melt away. "I tried and tested. It took me a month to get the perfect recipe," he says.
The first pavlova was received well, and he got several orders. "When you launch in the market you have to give people something new. You have to set trends and not follow them."
Siddique initially worked from home to cut cost. After dispatching each order he would personally call his client and ask for feedback. "It’s very important to cut back on your ego, and make each customer feel special."
Gradually, he expanded his list of desserts -- and now he offers a mix of pies, cakes, and pavlovas. Poached pear is also supplying desserts to a few cafes in up market Karachi.
Yasha Siddique remembers that journey wasn’t easy. When he started off he invested Rs90,000 in the business, and it took him six months to break even. "But the key is to never lose hope," he says.
Another advice for young entrepreneurs he has is that they should focus on the product and cut down on all other costs. "Start from your own house. Reduce all expenses."
What’s next for Poached Pear? "I would love to have my own franchise one day. Let’s see," he says.