If you can think of it, keep dreaming of it, then you can do it too. The story of Barking Delight by Anchala Meialagan is a testament to the fact that nothing can stop you if you decide to work on your dream project.
Tell us about your business? When and how did you start? What is your background story?
My business is a dog and recently a cat bakery. We make delicious cakes and treats for both dogs and cats. I started this business in September of 2020, right before I started my semester in university. Before I started my business, I always made mini cakes and treats for my two dogs, Archie and Eleven.
Yes, her name is Eleven, after Millie Bobby Brown’s character from Stranger Things. Right, when we had our lockdown, I was just playing around and just baking to kill time and eventually, it led me to bake many treats for our dogs.
My older brother was the one to suggest that I open a small business to make treats for dogs and that’s how barking delights was formed. People always ask me how I came up with the name and I honestly have no clue.
Finding a name was so challenging because I wanted it to relate back to the dogs, but many other businesses used paws and tails in their name, so I wanted to come up with something different.
It instantly hit me that I should use barking and then delights. Before I opened my business on Instagram in September, a lot needed to be done. I had to come up with a menu and get some frosting ideas and cake designs that people and dogs would like. The hard part about all of this is that there are so many things that humans can have, but dogs can not. Finding and working with ingredients that will be safe for dogs and cats is still an ongoing mission. So far, I feel like we have been doing a great job with it.
What is your role?
It is just the dogs and me. So, I do everything from baking the cakes, frosting the cakes, taking the pictures, handling the barking delights Instagram account, coming up with new ideas, taking inventory answering emails.
It is much work, but it’s worth it. Archie and Eleven are our testers. When we have a new idea, the first ones to try them, they also get the left-over cakes from each order.
Who are your clients?
When we first started, it was people around the area in Scarborough. But since we have gotten more prominent and more people know about us, we have received orders from customers living in downtown Toronto and Etobicoke.
We get a few messages outside of the area asking if we can ship our cakes, like a few from Vancouver and a couple in USA. It’s a dream one day that we’re able to ship out our cakes so every fur baby around the world can enjoy our treats. But right now, we don’t ship any of our goodies. They won’t survive the delivery.
How big is your team?
Just me, Anchala, Archie the golden retriever and Eleven the Great Dane.
What is the impact the community had on your business since the start of the pandemic?
Since we started in September 2020, we were still in a pandemic, so I have no clue how the business would have been even before we were in a lockdown. With the recent lockdown in Ontario, people are still supporting the business in every way they can.
We’re noticing that more people are ordering in the summer, but that’s probably because many fur babies are born in spring and summer.
How has the business changed with covid? With curbside pick up, what all things have changed with your business. Did you struggle or see a decline?
Since we started this business in September, covid was still a problem then. I was able to meet people outside the house still and give them their orders. But now since we’re in a lockdown, people are doing porch pickups.
There are still many people who order cakes and treats and support the business, so I haven’t seen any changes with that. But it has been hard to get some products. Delivery time keeps changing, or the product is out of stock.
What is the major challenge you are facing as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Keeping up with any trends and coming up with new ideas. Since the small business world keeps evolving, we need to keep up with all the new stuff that is going on.
Like making reels and getting good photography of your products. People love how your page looks and depending on that and your product pictures, people will follow the page.
What is your everyday routine like now (in terms of work)?
September – April I was in school. During this time, I would schedule when I can do my school work and when I can bake and decorate the cakes.
I usually tell the customers that they can pick up their cake anytime and depending on that, I would finish making the cakes a few hours before they came. Now that it is summer, I chose not to take any summer courses to bake and decorate whenever I want to. This also means that I can take more orders.
Do you have advice for other entrepreneurs who are trying to start their businesses?
Do it. There are so many people that want to start a business but keep saying I’ll plan it tomorrow or next week, or next month. Well, those days turn into months, and those months turn into years.
I remember when I first started thinking about making this into a business, I dreaded the hours I spent to come up with a menu. I would always say I’ll do it tomorrow.
Then one day, I just sat down and just did it. Even if it was rough and needed tweaking the next day, I still put down all my ideas.
Another piece of advice is that make your business stand out. Put in the extra work and come up with a signature that is related to your business. During Covid-19, many new small businesses have opened, but you can still have the same ideas and find a way to make it stand out.
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Author: Ravleen Bali, Content Writer for Onside Media, Canada. If you have any stories or comments to share, kindly email: –[email protected]