Born just two years apart, sisters Isha Shetty and Mansi Shetty Bafna entered the F&B space to conquer the patisserie world with their newest venture, Vanilla Miel. Mansi, a lawyer by profession, quit her corporate job to step into the world of hospitality with no prior training. Not only does she bring a practiced business angle to the table but also a keen sense of minimalistic art that influences the creations at Vanilla Miel. Isha, on the other hand, is a qualified pastry chef who graduated from Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Switzerland.
Taking inspiration from the simple elegance of vanilla and honey- also their brand identity, the sister duo aims to seamlessly assimilate the aesthetics of floral art into edible creations befitting special occasions.
Isha and Mansi launched the Vanilla Miel to put to life their love for food – a sanctuary where their two most precious passions of art and pastry are combined. Indulgences that not only look beautiful but are also a delight with their bold textures and distinctive flavors. They believe that their USP is the use of the highest available quality of ingredients for one of India’s only artisanal and art-inspired patisserie.
In Conversation With The Shetty Sisters Of Vanilla Miel
Isha and Mansi believe that each bite you take of any of their products should be an experience in itself. In a candid conversation with The Restaurant Times, the Shetty sisters talk in detail about their journey in the industry, operational challenges and a lot more.
Keeping Up With The Competition
The patisserie industry is very competitive. Several small outlets are out there selling baked products. Depending on what niche your bakery is filling, there is always another bakery business filling the same niche.
According to the Shetty sisters, the thing that makes Vanilla Miel different from the rest is the standard procedure used in the kitchen, and the French techniques used. Having a USP is essential for making your bakery a success.
‘In healthy markets, buyers demand the best solutions for their specific needs. So it is important to differentiate your offerings with the goal of creating tremendous value for the users you serve,’ say the Shetty sisters.
“Vanilla Miel believes that their USP is the use of the highest available quality of ingredients for one of India’s only artisanal and art-inspired patisseries. Every decorative element, including flowers, on their desserts and tarts, are 100% edible – handcrafted with pure chocolate and each one individually painted.”
Marketing is the key, and it is critical for any brand to put themselves out in public. According to the Shetty sisters, one of the biggest advantages bakeries have over other food-centric businesses is the unique ability to market themselves. Demand is driven by consumer preferences and by the extent to which stores choose to operate their bakeries rather than buying from commercial bakeries.
‘Social Media is the most important platform to market a brand. Vanilla Miel is known for its presentation and so displaying it online has always been advantageous. Advertising using these accounts is essential to create a buzz among people. Encourage your customers to ‘Like,’ ‘Share’ and ‘subscribe’ your social media profile. Use these social networking sites to announce special deals, new treats, contest and events, happy hours, new launch, etc. to attract sweet tooth fans,’ add the Shetty sisters.
Hiring The Best Talent
Vanilla Miel does not look to hire the best people; instead, they hire people who are willing to learn.
According to the Shetty sisters, the bakery business is one where customers don’t care about the degrees or training that they have, all depends on the cake that one bakes. Hands-on experience, practice, trial, and error are the best training to own bakery business. Education in baking and pastry arts can be helpful, but you will still need to learn by doing before trying to become a bakery entrepreneur. So it is better to hire not only an ideal staff but the one who will stay for long.
Vanilla Miel also plays its role in the empowerment of women by hiring only female staff.
‘The specialty of our patisserie is that all our staff is female. We believe in women empowerment, therefore, the aim of Vanilla Miel is not only to provide the best cakes to the customers but also create a space for women in the F&B industry.’
The demand for bread and the use of baked foods has increased with the fast changing lifestyle of the average Indian, and this has made bakery products indispensable at the breakfast table increasing the demand for varieties of bakery products. However, catering to the demands while maintaining quality is not easy.
According to the Shetty sisters, getting hold of authentic products is a tough deal. Choosing the right vendor and determining the material quantity is an integral part of the bakery operations. Maintaining the right conversation and a proper relation with the vendor is very important because if a product is not correct and the supply is messed up, the entire process and quality of the final product would go down. So, your suppliers are critical for the success in the market and profits; they’re the heart of any organization’s processes and activities.
Fluctuation in order value is another glaring problem, add the Shetty sisters. ‘Vanilla Miel is a new venture but the amount of orders we receive is quite substantial so handling all these in a small kitchen is a tough job. But we have resolved the issue as we keep the kitchen organized and clean so that the work is done rapidly.’
The Shetty sisters conclude by saying, ‘The most important thing while starting a patisserie or any brand for that matter is to figure out your strength as there is a lot of competition in the market. So it is important to realize what your customers really want. Apart from this, it is imperative to maintain a positive work environment as the restaurant industry has a high attrition rate. Vanilla Miel is like our baby, and for us, it is an ever-evolving enterprise, but we are soon planning to open a virtual outlet for it in Mumbai.’