One needs to have lot of passion, zeal and creativity to start a profession all new and Swati Jain, the founder of Sugarcraft India seems to have it all. Little did she know when sugarcrafting first caught her eyes that she would make big one day in it, but the passion within her did knew it and showed her the way to success. It is this passion that catapulted her in turning her sheer hobby into a profession and starting a venture that has in these years earned a name for itself in the industry. Not that it has been a cakewalk for Swati but how she overcame those obstacles becomes an interesting part of her success story and makes for a good read.
Celebrating this success and the spirit of woman entrepreneurship, Travelrasoi brings to our readers an excerpt from an interview with this fabulous lady –
Tell us something about your journey in sugarcrafting and what inspired you to start this profession?
The year was 2004 and I was settled in Botswana with my husband when I came across this craft. I was enamoured of it and being a student of Fine Arts, my creative instincts insisted me in learning this art and exploring it more. I took my first sugarcrafting lesson in South Africa. To bring it to perfection, I travelled to countries like Malaysia and UK to learn more about this art from other renowned cake artists. Let me tell you that I was initially doing this just as a hobby but I loved it so much that I never knew when this hobby soon turned into a profession for me.
Cake making and sugarcrafting for me is a way of life. I enjoy every bit of it. I attach it to the fairy tales that I used to listen to as a child. It is really fascinating to awaken that artist in you and bring all those childhood characters to life by way of your creations and decorations.
How did this journey of teaching sugarcrafting start for you?
We soon shifted base to India. I noticed that sugarcrafting was still in a nascent stage then and no one in India was doing it professionally. I decided to try my luck in it and I conducted my first workshop in Delhi in 2006. It turned out to be great concept to everyone and I got a very good response. Slowly I started getting requests from other cities as well. I have done workshops in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur and even eyeing smaller cities for this. It’s been 10 years that I have been teaching sugarcrafting and when I look back today, I myself seem amazed at how this trend slowly started and has grown into a full-fledged profession. My clientele today encompasses students of every age group, profession and even gender. The number of students that I have trained till date has crossed beyond 2000-2200 students and many of them are established bakers today in the industry.
How do you promote your skills and your profession?
Food Festivals held across the country are a good way of promoting my profession, where through live demos and semi hands-on activities we happen to interact with people and generate awareness. Besides social media, blogging and micro blogging sites also become an ideal platform to connect with people and telling them about the craft through pictures and posts.
What kind of an investment goes into it for a beginner inquisitive of making a career in sugarcrafting?
There is very minimal investment required for beginners but as you scale up, it happens to go up too. I have structured my classes into 4 courses – Beginners, Advanced, Structural and Specialized. The duration, course fees and the techniques that I use to teach them will depend on the course one is pursuing. For instance, for a beginner course I would teach them how to make a simple flower, slowly graduating into animal modelling and making figures of Red Riding Hood or Winnie the Pooh in the structural course and finally making 3D cakes and learning techniques like Air-brushing in the Specialized course.
The best part is there is no age bar in this profession. People as aged as 60-65 years come to me. I have seen women who have been into their profession for 10-12 years switching over to sugarcrafting and still doing great. Interestingly, even many men have joined this profession.
What are your future plans?
The awareness for this kind of a profession has gone up today, thanks to the growing influence of media on everyone that has helped people in knowing more about this art. I am hopeful of taking this profession to newer cities. There is creativity in everyone of us and sugarcrafting can be that outlet for that creativity to get expressed.
What kind of a support do you receive from your family?
I am really very fortunate to have a supportive family and an equally supportive environment. Whatever I am today is because of my family; especially my husband and I can never thank him enough for whatever support he has lent me.
Any message you would like to give someone who is aspiring to be in this profession?
If you are aspiring to be a cake decorator and a sugarcrafter, get started with a good course because you really need to start it right and make your base strong. Struggles can be lesser if you groom yourself correctly. There is lot that this profession can offer but you also need to have that creative streak within you. A bit of imaginative power is also required to become a successful decorator.
– Samrita Baruah