December 3, 2023
Baking A Success Story
Young Turk

Baking A Success Story

Jun 27, 2022

Co-founder and Managing director of The Baker’s Dozen (TBD), aka Croissant Loafer, Sneh Jain’s family hails from a small village called Birami near Pali in Rajasthan. After his grandfather shifted to Mumbai, the family embraced the city as their home. Jain’s parents are doctors, his mother being the first Jain woman in the community to complete MBBS. In 1982, they started their clinic in the then underdeveloped Navi Mumbai area and have since become pre-eminent doctors in the city.

Entrepreneurial spirit

Sneh was in Standard 11 when he decided to study MBA at one of the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM). So, after an engineering degree from UDCT, Mumbai he earned an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. Thereafter, he worked with McKinsey and Co as a consultant for nearly three years. A few years down the line, however, his Marwari entrepreneurial spirit motivated him to start his own business in a “touch-and-feel product”.

In 2012, Sneh decided to start a bakery along with his wife Aditi Handa, aka Fourgrain Fanatic. Aditi who comes from a family of entrepreneurs and freedom fighters had met Sneh in 2008—around the time she was completing psychology studies in England and Sneh was in his second year MBA. They hit it off instantly, their common love and passion for entrepreneurship setting off enthusiastic conversations.

The Baker’s Dozen was thus perfect for both their aspirations. The idea was to combine Aditi’s passion for food with Sneh’s passion for creating a brand. The result is a label that serves daily essentials while drawing attention to the age-old goodness of sourdough bread. Aditi decided to learn baking, to bring the sourdough and its charm out of the elitist closet. Towards the end of 2012, therefore, The Baker’s Dozen began its journey as an artisan bakery, offering an exquisite variety of bread and bakery products—sans chemicals or preservatives.

The concept was simple: to serve high-quality, freshly-baked, authentic European bread and bakery products.

Four Grain Sourdough from The Baker’s Dozen.

Growth spurt

Soon, a small 1,000 sq ft kitchen manned by four bakers was set up and the first standalone store commercially launched in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi area. This gradually grew to seven standalone stores across the city in 2014-15, followed by a 5,000 sq ft kitchen in Navi Mumbai in 2016-17. The Baker’s Dozen also extended its reach to Bengaluru and Ahmedabad through modern trade partnerships in 2017-18. The growth chart moved further upwards in 2019 when they commissioned a new 25,000 sq ft factory near Ahmedabad.

Over the last two years, they have grown five times, crossed the milestone of selling a million sourdough loaves in 2020, and now proudly claim themselves as the only artisan bakery brand to be present pan-India. Further, their bootstrapped start-up has grown by 500 per cent over the last two years, with annual revenues increasing from Rs 6.5 crore to Rs 30 crore. “We are aiming at a Rs 100 crore top line by FY24,” says Sneh.

Fresh loaves anytime, anywhere

A digital-first brand, The Baker’s Dozen is India’s only bakery that serves fresh loaves anytime, anywhere. The team solves the shelf life issue by innovating on its packaging. They are the only bakery brand in India that uses a unique FreshLock European packaging technology which has enabled them to expand pan-India. They are one of the strongest brands in the bakery category for both retail trade partners such as Nature’s Basket and also new-age e-commerce partners such as Swiggy, Zomato, Swiggy Instamart, Big Basket, MilkBasket, Supr Daily, and others.

Artisanal products are difficult and time-consuming since they are handmade. Their manufacturing cost is also generally higher than most mass, machine-made products. However, to keep their products affordable, the Jains source most of their raw material from local farms. This ensures that while keeping prices competitive, they do not compromise on quality.

Fresh Lock European packaging technology to keep products fresh to expand shelf life.

Matching abilities

The couple divides their responsibilities at the company based on their expertise. While Sneh looks after the brand’s front-end operations, sales, business development and finance, Aditi is Head Chef and Co-founder at The Baker’s Dozen. She bakes and curates most of the products and is also involved in innovation, developing new products and hiring and training enthusiastic minds who add value to the brand. Apart from that, she is also the face of the brand and is actively involved in all marketing activities.

Sneh Jain and Aditi Handa with their twin sons.

Future plans

The brand’s future plans include expanding to Tier-I and Tier-II cities in India, exporting to markets like Dubai and Singapore and making TBD India’s largest D2C bakery brand with the strongest digital presence. “I believe if we treat our product with love and honesty, our customers will happily be with us for life,” concludes Sneh.