Her small home oven became inadequate for growing business

Ms Corine Yeoh used to sell cakes from home before renting a kitchen co-working space. This eventually gave her the confidence to scale up her business and open a shop.
Ms Corine Yeoh used to sell cakes from home before renting a kitchen co-working space. This eventually gave her the confidence to scale up her business and open a shop.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Bakery owner Corine Yeoh, 25, used to feel "slightly guilty" when customers asked her where she made the customised cakes and cupcakes that she sold online.

Her business, Corine and Cake, was initially based at home when she started last year. As her customer base grew, however, she found it increasingly difficult to accommodate their requests. "There are also too many distractions at home if I'm trying to bake," she said.

She considered setting up shop and applying for a National Environment Agency food shop licence to comply with regulations, but found it a daunting prospect.

"There were certain rules about pest control or the layout of the kitchen space that were quite strict," said the former magazine editor who quit her job to focus on the business full time.

She came across a kitchen co-working space this year, and rented a space from January to September. She pays $660 a month to work in the kitchen for 30 hours, which has become a solution that is much more cost-effective.

"I could make around one cake at a time at home, as I had only a small oven. But having a commercial oven means that I can bake around nine at a time," said Ms Yeoh, who fields around eight to 10 cake orders a week.

She also got recommendations from the kitchen's owner on where to get baking supplies, such as chocolate, milk and cream, at good prices. "Things like these are quite important when we first start out in the industry," she said.

She decided in mid-September to set up her own retail shop in MacPherson.

This would also allow her to devote more time and space to her business. "Working in the rented space for a few months gave me the confidence to scale up in the end," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2015, with the headline 'Her small home oven became inadequate for growing business'. Print Edition | Subscribe