Not A Cakewalk: A Banker’s Rise as A Baker

Shahid Fayaz. KO Pics by Special Arrangement

A desire to do things differently made an MBA student to shuttle between Dubai and Delhi before he became a new popular pie-maker in his hometown. 

30-year-old Shahid Fayaz was in his third semester of MBA course, when he got a job in Jammu and Kashmir Bank. The jubilant Shahid joined the corporate world wholeheartedly. But three months later, he decided to hang up his banker boots due to growing mental blocks.

He quit the job and decided to start something of his own with the help of his brother.

The idea was to start making homemade cakes but to get the experience he flew to Dubai and got an opportunity to work with Multinational Corporation for five years.

At that time, his brother, Sameer Fayaz, a graduate in Hotel Management, was working as a restaurant manager in Dubai.

After years of toil and togetherness in a faraway country known for keeping professionals on toes, the brothers decided to try their luck in Delhi.

It was January 2019 and the idea was to shape up their dream venture.

They got in touch with a friend from Delhi and started cafe and cake house in the Gurgaon area. This was a partnership venture. However, the enterprise nosedived, forcing the siblings to shut it down in November 2019.

“We failed,” Shahid says with a straight face. “We had put all our savings and had also borrowed some money from friends and family but lost it all in this venture.”

Collage of cakes made by Shahid.

After that failure, they had only two options — either go back to Dubai, or start their own business in Kashmir.

“But we knew that working in the valley was not a cakewalk,” Shahid continues. “But yes, that failure taught us some very important life lessons, like not to give up in the face of failures. So we took it on our chin, and started preparing for the next move.”

They shortly decided to start their own cake house—The Bloom Bakers—at their residence in Shalimar area of Srinagar City.

It was January 2020, and Kashmir was still reeling under the previous year’s communication blockade—imposed in the region in the run-up to the abrogation of Article 370.

“We started from a very small room in our kitchen garden,” Shahid says. “The response was so overwhelming that in first two months we didn’t get time to relax.”

Everything was going fine until the outbreak of Covid-19 made their dream venture a shut shop.

But the duo didn’t give up, waited for the right time, and resumed as soon as the lockdown thawed.

Sameer Fayaz

It’s because of their resilience that they’ve today become ‘sellers of hot cakes’ in town. Be it designer cakes, marriage cakes, anniversary cakes, tea cakes or any other variety, the siblings make it sure to deliver it with style and substance. Apart from cakes, they’re equally known for their cookies and different types of breads.

“The orders for the cakes come across the city,” Sameer says. “We also take bulk orders and provide dessert for weddings.”

“Price range of designer cakes depends upon the design and weight,” Sameer, who manages the venture, continues. “We also take orders 3-4 days prior to delivery date.”

Like Kashmir’s other new-age self-starters—driven by the motto: “be employer, not employee”—Shahid and Sameer provide employment to at least 7 people and are planning to hire more in coming months.

Two siblings

Inside his manufacturing facility, Shahid credits his yesteryears’ preparation for his present day enterprise.

“The concept of being a self-starter evolved during my college days only,” he says. “I was always an active member of various business clubs and cultural committees. I guess that enterprising spirit helps you in the long run of your life.”

Like many other Kashmiri boys, Shahid was also equally fascinated by cooking and baking and would try experimenting with things.

“This love for baking slowly grew stronger and it became my passion,” the banker turned baker says.  “But I never knew that one day I will make profession out of pie.”

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Auqib Javeed

Auqib Javeed is special correspondent with Kashmir Observer and tweets @AuqibJaveed

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