Simply put, My Baker is a one-stop cake concierge for time-poor, fine cake evangelists, a sort of Interflora for ‘cakey joy’ if you will! The business began in London (every so often dipping into the South East) a feel-good vision that fed the spontaneous cake cravings of this fast-moving region.
Mel was actually one of the first bakers signed up to the original My Baker cause, a dab hand cake connoisseur who loved the freedom to bake for this ingenuous cake collaborative. So when in late 2019 the opportunity arose 2019 to buy the business, Mel and her husband jumped at the chance to fulfil their recurring entrepreneurial dream!
According to Mark Sinjakli, ‘The transition wasn’t hard for me at all as I’d been thinking about a change in career direction for some while! Having started out as a chartered accountant in my 20s I had spent the last two decades in corporate restructuring, bringing businesses back from the brink. My Baker wasn’t in bad health when we took it on, but this germ of a great idea had so much more to offer and so the opportunity to put all my learnings on the line really appealed!’
For Mel, My Baker was all about tapping into her unbridled love of baking. ‘My career was altogether different from Mark’s, working for an educational furniture business, upcycling old furniture and volunteering at my local Shelter. From my early years I saw a business with so much untapped potential to become a nationwide collaborative of cake connoisseurs. I just knew deep down that my love of baking coupled with Mark’s background as a turnaround specialist could enable this fledgling London business to quickly spread its wings.’
My Baker’s beginnings
So the journey began in earnest at the beginning of 2020 with Mel making the transition from being a sole independent baker to managing a fleet-footed enterprise with a far-reaching network of 200+ bakers.
At the nub of My Baker is the realisation that there are oodles of brilliant independent bakers out there who either don’t enjoy or have the time or inclination to run their business effectively. In short, these home bakers first love is baking and not all the depressing faff that exists around running a small business. My Baker aggregates and commercialises their skills, getting their cakes to the wider public and generating orders for them.
Mel continues, ‘Our My Baker is very distinct from a majority of what exists in the marketplace. Unlike some of our cake peers, My Baker isn’t a series of local baker shops housed within a virtual shop (a la etsy). Instead, My Baker is a thriving cake-creating fraternity which within any 48 time span (24 hours at a push), can deliver anything from a head-turning, multi-layered celebratory cakes to gooey brownies, blondies, scones, light-to-bite cookies….Today we also boast a significantly bigger sub-portfolio of ‘food minority’ goodies covering everything from vegan & dairy-free to nut-free, gluten-free and kosher.
Over the last year My Baker’s focus has been to extend its reach to the North, Midlands and South West, an ambitious drive that has seen them add 15-20 new bakers each and every month to their fine baking cause. A year ago Mel & Mark were wondered how they could get the My Baker word out there? They needn’t have worried because the word-of-mouth network that exists between discerning bakers is quite astonishing whilst their easy-to-understand raison d etre to help meticulous, at-home bakers fill their order books during lulls in their own order books makes perfect sense!
‘There’s no question,’ interjects Mark, ‘Lockdown initially hit us for six as overnight we lost a significant chunk of our business, supplying show-stopping celebratory cakes (weddings, birthdays, graduations…) to large gatherings of friends and family. That said, the compact, versatile nature of our business meant we were more agile than most, as we repivoted to create bundles of sumptuous treats that could be dispatched to stuck-at-home friends, family, locked in university students and frustrated commuters. Businesses in particular saw our ‘say it with cake’ focus as the perfect spontaneous gift to thank disorientated employees working from home, reminding them that out-of-sight certainly never means out-of-mind.’
In 2022 My Baker will pivot once again with an enhanced offer for corporate clients (B2B) as it aligns itself with those commuters slowly returning to their offices a few days every week.
Mark elaborates by reaching back to his formative years working in the City. ‘I can vividly remember some lovely examples of ‘meeting & greeting food,’ but also being really disappointed by the decided lack of consideration for the practicalities of ‘eating whilst working.’ Meeting food should be delicious with a wow factor YET straightforward, risk-free (no spillages, no lost ties, stained suits….) so in most instances hand-sized treats capable of being eaten without cutlery.’ The basic thinking behind our B2B reboot is bring a heartfelt ‘feelgood factor’ back to the workplace, courtesy of a deliciously diverse sweet & savoury offer of easy-to-eat delights includingeverything from Apple Coffee Cupcakes, Banana Pecan Loaves, Pumpkin muffins and Vegan Pistachio Blondies, to head-turning Cheddar, Chive & Date scones to Leek Olive & Mushroom tarts.’
Over the last year My Baker has more than doubled its turnover, won a prestigious award for category innovation not too shabby when you consider that they’ve moved from a regional to a nationwide footing and worked around a debilitating pandemic.
Mel & Mark feel quietly confident about the year ahead with loads of new ideas bubbling in the background. ‘Of course,’ concludes Mark, ‘There have been many moments of self-doubt and the occasional craving for a corporate career with a healthy salary and pension scheme but I’ve loved working alongside Mel and Shane to create an authentic family business.’
Mel agrees. ‘Working 9 to 5 (and longer!) with your life partner isn’t for everyone, however we’ve both always believed that when it comes to work you need to participate in something that you’re truly passionate about and not simply something you deem commercially viable. At the end of the day we both love cake which in all honesty makes My Baker a fantastic life choice.’
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