Published: 21st July 2021
Young in years and huge at heart, this 16-year-old is churning out delicious cakes to serve a cause...or two
Ishvi Mathai’s cakes have been bringing smiles to more people than just those who eat them. Cooking for a cause, this teenager is divvying up her proceeds from her business between multiple causes
Ishvi Mathai’s love for baking found its root at a young age, when she watched her mother, Divya, bake wholesome goodies for her. During the lockdown, Ishvi, a Class XI student of Oakridge International School, tried baking regularly at home. With her friends and neighbours locked in their houses and a melancholic mood sweeping her hometown of Hyderabad, she decided to spread some sweet joy. Starting off with a handful of people on a WhatsApp group and a small menu of the things she could make, Ishvi began selling these baked goods. “It saddened me to see that people weren’t even able to celebrate their loved ones’ special days because of the lockdown. I just wanted to spread some cheer,” says the 16-year-old, who has named her business Ishvi’s Baking Charity.
What started as a mission to lift the spirits of those she knew, soon turned into a much bigger cause. “I started earning a decent amount of money and I realised I could use this for something better. I started donating the proceeds to the Miyapur Police Station, who used the money to provide kits to stranded daily-wage workers. I would read news on how the lockdown was affecting them and I just wanted to do my part,” says Ishvi.
Her business continued to grow and she started donating to a few NGOs in the city, such as Seva Bharti and Round Table India, who were creating digital classrooms for government school children. “I stumbled upon the idea of teaching kids baking and I requested my videos be included in the curriculum,” Ishvi adds. The idea was to empower kids to be able to support themselves. The videos included not just baking tips and recipes, but also sessions on her business model and on how to use social media to its benefit. She is also looking to collaborate with the Smile Foundation and Each One Teach One.
"I would like to make an app that helps home bakers calculate the price of their cakes. I learnt that it is an extremely complicated process, factoring in the diverse ingredients and the cooking time"
Ishvi says that she faced the issue of procuring ingredients for her delicacies during the lockdown and taming social media was a learning curve. “I wanted to get better with each cake, but keeping up with the workload was challenging sometimes,” says the teenager. This is where her mother stepped in, helping with the logistics of planning and scheduling recipes and acquiring ingredients so that Ishvi could focus on the baking. “We sourced multiple vendors for all ingredients and planned and ordered much in advance and in bulk to make sure we had resources,” says Divya.
For Ishvi, the best part about the experience has been the realisation that one person can make a difference in a pandemic that is ravaging each and every one of us. “The reach is exponential. I have been getting orders from other cities and have been making enough to be able to donate to multiple charities, and take care of causes that are at the heart of the pandemic scenario,” she says, adding that watching other kids enjoy her sessions and wishing to replicate her business is overwhelming.
Banana Apple Oatmeal Muffins
The oatmeal replaces maida, the sweet banana and apple replace sugar, no butter or oil, making these muffins a wholesome and guilt-free treat
Reach out: Instagram: @ishvibakes