93A Club Street
While most of her peers are asleep at 1am, Agatha Xavier is huddled in her kitchen in a shophouse baking.
Xavier, 35, runs Lucia Cakes, a mostly online cake shop, with a small shop front.
What you get here are not mass-produced cakes, but each lovingly made by Xavier, who used to be from the banking sector.
“Having worked in banking, the intention with the online platform is to bring about convenience and quality for the busy executive, who requires a fuss-free solution for something they will need time and time again, be it to get their husbands or wives an elegant birthday or anniversary cake, or ordering brownies for their children’s birthday party dessert tables or for their team at work, or simply bringing a box of brownies to a colleague’s BBQ or dinner party,” she says.
Cakes have to be ordered a day in advance, subject to availability. Xavier sometimes gets early-morning calls from customers wanting to place orders.
The menu here is kept small – there are four cakes to choose from, and two types of brownies. Cakes such as the chocolate fudge and avocado lime cheesecake cost from $45 while brownies are priced at $35.
On her choice of offerings, Xavier says that brownies are a no-brainer, “as they are universally loved”.
The cakes were decided on after trying several out with her family and friends over a couple of years. “I wanted to have a couple of the classics – chocolate fudge cake and carrot cake. I also wanted a couple that were a little more interesting. Hence the avocado lime cheesecake and the ombre berry cheesecake,” she explains.
Xavier works alone, although she plans to hire help soon. “The kitchen and operation are small, and it is intentionally small as I wanted something I could run predominantly on my own, almost emulating baking in my home kitchen,” she reveals.
The cakes can be delivered for a fee, or collected from the Club Street shop.
Since she was a child, Xavier had already been learning to bake. First from her mother, and also from her grandmother and aunts. “I still have the notebook I used to write down all the recipes I learnt from them,” she shares.
Xavier later did a basic patisserie course for three months at Le Cordon Bleu London.
She says that baking has always been a passion, which was why she decided to quit banking and open Lucia’s Cakes, named after her maternal grandmother, Lucy.
Her decade-long experience in banking helped shaped her business model. “I wanted something that is fuss-free and provides convenience and quality to the end-user, with products that speak of understated elegance,” says Xavier.
She adds that her banking background also helps in terms of her ability to do financial planning, setting up spreadsheets for business projections, risk assessments and stress-testing the business model.
“It has also provided the business with a network of contacts who all buy cakes from me now, and the store being located in the CBD makes it quite convenient for them to drop by and pick up cakes.”
Adapted from The Business Times.