Gauthami Shankar, Co-founder – Sprinkled
Creative, smart and a perfectionist, Gauthami Shankar is a 22 year old Pastry chef from Bangalore. She completed her under graduation studies from Mount Carmel College and Bachelors in hospitality management from Christ University, Bangalore. After her internships with ITC Royal Gardenia, Gauthami decided on specializing in Baking Science and Pastry Arts, which was a passion turned profession. She was one of the very few best outgoing students from her 4-year hospitality course and has won quite a few dessert and baking competitions in and around the state.
She has co-founded SPRINKLED- a boutique Bakery in Bangalore, which caters to tailor made cakes, desserts and baked goodies (https://www.facebook.com/sprinkledindia/). Gauthami has been baking for conferences and summits and is very proud to have been partners with U25 and TEDx summits, to name a few.
Gauthami loves anything and everything that involves creating something beautiful – so her interests include art, architecture, Travel, designing kitchens and being a dessert consultant. And if you are wondering how baking and pastry is not in this list, she says, that is her first love.
About your entrepreneurial journey
“SPRINKLED- The Boutique Bakery was started on the 18th of December 2015 which is my birthday too and yeah Christmas season to launch a baking business was the best. So I multitask – I am the co-owner/chef at The Spitfire BBQ truck, we use to make grilled desserts and serve to our clients and those clients use to place orders for cakes and desserts.
Noticing the lack in fine artisan bakeries in Bangalore, me and my partner – Siddhanth Sawkar launched Sprinkled which caters to upmarket crowd demanding for Tailor made cakes, vegan cakes and muffins along with desserts in jars and we are known for our celebratory towers and wedding cakes.
Sector wise Bakeries have been there for centuries but to introduce the Parisian kind of breads and sweet treats and to get acceptability by our Indian clients is a task. It’s still a grey area and would take a while for them to understand finer ingredients and delicate artwork in food and to celebrate cakes.”
“Yes, there was definitely an inflection that turned me towards being my own boss. My 6 months long internship at ITC Gardenia and getting exposed to a lot of bigger hotel brands, I realized there was no room for innovation, a standard recipe would be followed and the same would be repeated again and again. For me to have fun with the seasonal produce to use my creative hands and to be able to get my love for food out there needed that extra bit of efforts and a different route to follow.”
Most challenging assignment
“The toughest should be the Valentine Hamper by SPRINKLED. We are a very close knit team – it’s my family and Sid. So when we introduced the hamper it consisted of 8 different goodies along with a hand written card, flowers in a wicker basket. I had to procure all the supplies, bake everything myself, pack individual hampers and deliver. Though apps like lookup and roadrunner helped us in logistics.”
Experiences on being a woman entrepreneur
“It’s tough and without the support of your family I would say its next to impossible but with the kind of push and determination I had, there was no looking back. Multi-tasking to a different level became a daily situation were handling two businesses and making sacrifices at the right time for the right reason was testing my decision-making power.”
It’s a man dominated world – to every 10 entrepreneurs, 7 are men – and the 3 women are usually underestimated. To do something when you are just 22 and still succeed has been an experience with a lot of ups and downs. The fame, the recognition, the media coverage all did add value to the brand but at the end of the day it boiled down to how my product and service was and for me to create a brand image with the kind of contacts I had and the support I received was immense.”
“Finance being one of them, for a family to invest on a business idea and let you do what you dream of. Logistics in India being average and considering mine is a very climate and situation based delivery (cakes and desserts can get very cranky with heat, rains and bumpy road); to get the brand out in the market which was already saturated by commercial bakeries.”
How did you believe in making dreams come true?
“Dreams kept me awake all night all day. Finding myself happy and satisfied was only through creation, creating cakes and drool worthy desserts or just good wholesome food. I believed in following a dream that could be better in reality, which would make me a better person and getting that true took a while. I spent an easy 8 months in just deciding the name and creating the logo. This dream had all the potential to become true and through passion, handwork and love towards what you do everything came together and came alive.”
Setbacks faced and lessons learnt
“Setbacks – not really but every day is a learning. It’s not only learning out of mistakes but learning a new trick, a new technique. We learnt how to manage our resources, to manage time which is the most important and to ensure that everything that went out of the doors of Sprinkled was nothing but perfect. Competition is what gets the best in you was learnt.”
“Women are the better halves”. What does it mean to you?
“Women are brilliant in whatever they do be it work, home or just live life to the fullest, and if you are talking better halves, well, if you can deal a family with the household work than that woman should be considered superwoman.
Being considered better halves is a very controversial topic, it depends on person to person and for me I would say – Being a lady is a lot of class, smartness, being alert and making decisions for the entire family and that’s no easy job!
Knowing that most women entrepreneurs are rated best at what they do, we very well know our game.”