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Sisterly venture

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The online baked goods business Bake Hub was started by two sisters, Cecile and Ciarra Gattoc, in 2012. Getting into business, and into that particular kind of business, seemed fitting: Cecile was a fresh hotel and restaurant management graduate when Bake Hub was launched, while Ciarra was an undergraduate studying entrepreneurship. And Cecile knows baking; she even enrolled in a culinary school later on to hone her skills.

Given that they were fairly equipped, opening an online business, which is relatively easy, was a possibility they thought was worth exploring. “It’s not that risky compared to opening a [physical] shop,” Ms. Ciarra told BusinessWorld in an interview. “The capital is also little because everything is pre-ordered.”

Bake Hub has become popular for its rainbow-themed cakes and cupcakes, as well as its chocolate- and red velvet-flavored goodies. “I guess we’re one of the first in the market to sell rainbow cakes and cupcakes,” Ms. Ciarra said. The multicolored treat even won Kris Aquino over when she got the chance to taste it while featuring online sellers in her now-defunct show, Kris TV, in 2013.

Ms. Ciarra said that TV exposure had a big, immediate impact on their business. But Bake Hub has managed to outlive the hype, something that some online businesses fail to do.

The quality of its products has a lot do with it. “When they tried other shops and bakeries,” Ms. Ciarra said, referring to some of their customers, “it was really hard to find something that looked good and tasted good.” If Kris Aquino is any indication, Bake Hub’s products have something else to offer other than their tempting looks.

Bake Hub has another draw, one that must appeal do-it-yourselfers and the artistic types. “One of our key selling propositions is ‘Design Your Own Cupcake’,” Ms. Ciarra said. “It’s all about selling the experience.” A basic DIY cupcake pack contains the cupcake itself, unembellished, a small plastic icing bag and a choice of topping, like sprinkles.

One can place an order for any of Bake Hub’s ready-made sweets, which include cookies, by visiting its Facebook page and leaving a message there, contacting the number displayed on it or sending the store an e-mail. For customized cakes, there is a need to send a photo of a chosen design and await word from the sisters if the design is doable or not.

There are three ways to get the ordered products. One can pick them up at the Gattoc family’s private residence near Visayas Avenue or arrange a meet-up with the proprietresses. The most convenient method is to have the products delivered.

“We’re still looking at opening a shop because it’s every online seller’s dream,” Ms. Ciarra said. The Gattoc sisters had already tried setting up a stall in a Quezon City mall, but it only lasted about a year owing to the costs of occupying the space and paying someone to man the stand. (Both she and Ms. Cecil have day jobs).

Ms. Ciarra said that they are also planning to forge partnerships with coffee shops so that they can be their supplier of cakes and cupcakes and other sweets.

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