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She taught herself to bake, now she helps stray animals

By Pallavi Sinha
Last updated on: January 20, 2015 18:45 IST
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Simran Multani is a self taught baker, an independent HR professional and a mother.

She started Ovenderful in 2011 and soon started raising funds to support social and humanitarian causes.

This is her story.

Simran Multani, founder, Ovenderful

While the fancy and decorated theme cakes are the vogue today, here's a story of a home-baker who bakes for a social cause that is also very close to her heart.

She puts her passion for baking classic bakes in raising funds for animal NGOs -- organisations that help abandoned and maltreated animals.

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication," says Simran Multani, founder of Ovenderful.

She believes that bakes are not about fancy cakes for big occasions but about small moments of life which just pass by without us trying to make the most of them.

The experience does not end with cutting a birthday cake, but continues on a day-to-day basis with our regular conservations over tea or coffee.

Coming from a traditional Sikh family, Simran Multani is an economics graduate with an MBA degree in Human Resources from the Goa Institute of Management.

Prior to being a baker, Multani was an independent HR consultant.

She has served large firms like Hewitt Associates, Hay Group and PwC via freelance projects primarily in the area of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Though Multani spent almost 11 years as an independent HR consultant, baking classic bakes drive her.

"Being an HR consultant provides the financial stability to some extent whereas Ovenderful provides the inherent sense of fulfilment of pursuing what I really want," she explains.

Ovenderful started in 2011 as a baking blog for Simran Multani to jot down her baking recipes and experiences while baking goodies for her family.

As her passion started gaining momentum, Ovenderful started becoming an entity in itself.

"Starting and growing Overderful is really about creating an extension of me that resonates with my overall goal in life," adds Multani.

Ovenderful derives its concept from the essence of "home-baked, freshly-made, no-frills, classic bakes" -- bakes that are healthy, made of alternative flours, free of artificial colours and kid-friendly.

The start-up got impetus with Search Years, a Gurgaon-based NGO, which took vocational training classes for village girls.

Here, Multani volunteered to take weekly baking classes for 12 girls from nearby villages which in return taught her baking with limited resources which led to trying out alternatives.

Thus Ovenderful gives option of going beyond egg-less and nut free, to being butter-less, organic with ethnic grains and vegan.

Simran Multani finds her soul attached to the abandoned and ill-treated animals. She helps animal NGOs raise funds every year through her bakes.

At present, she is in collaboration with three animal NGOs -- Indigree Angels Trust, Help and Heal Animal Trust and Precious Paws Foundation that provide home and proper health care facilities to abandoned, injured and old animals.

These bake sales not only increased her confidence and sense of pride, but also gave her two beautiful 'indie canine' kids from one of these NGOs.

"Ovenderful started growing beyond the regular circle of family and friends in a sudden way by word of mouth," says Multani.

Also a mother of a two-year-old boy, Simran Multani currently reaches her audience widely through social media and indirect word of mouth.

After receiving a particular order, she bakes, packages and delivers it herself within a given radius.

For distant orders, she partners with a local logistics company.

Multani is also in collaboration with a play school and an organic food restaurant to provide them with their requirements on a daily basis.

Run by 'a one woman army', Ovenderful is self-funded.

"For home baking ventures, revenue is linked to the time spent as well as the quality of ingredients used.

"Getting people accustomed to these factors as essential parameters that need to be paid for, takes time.

"I make sure that there is staggered investment at this stage so that I can continue to break-even before I move up to another level of investment," Multani explains.

An entrepreneur with a toddler and a full-time job, Multani comes across some challenges.

Managing pricing of her products and understanding her targeted audience are a few such hurdles. But Multani aims Ovenderful to be a sustainable venture extending beyond its current form.

She also hopes it to become more inclusive in its targeted products and services.

Being an optimistic woman entrepreneur, Simran Multani points out a few immediate plans for the future.

First and foremost is to tie-up with relevant partners. She also plans to create an Ovenderful membership model for regular clients and identify a rental space with facilities such as pick-up point/take-away for regular bakes.

In the next two years, she wishes to establish a mountain artisanal cafe in Bangalore.

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Pallavi Sinha