Home bakers of Tampines hoping for the tide to turn
Bake-and-sell event in Tampines a welcoming sign after past year's struggle
Unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms Kassamanda Octavia, previously a front desk and operations manager at a boxing gym, took a leap of faith and ventured into the home baking business.
Though the sector itself was severely affected, the 33-year-old established Kass.Octavia on Instagram last May and managed to make a living out of her new-found passion.
"I started baking during the circuit breaker and found it therapeutic as I get to express myself," Ms Kass, who has three children aged 14, 11 and seven, told The New Paper.
"Starting Kass.Octavia was a risk that paid off. I am able to support my family (while) doing something I love... I feel there is so much more I can achieve by working even harder."
Ms Kass said she feels fortunate to have gained more than 1,300 Instagram followers despite being new to the baking industry.
She has also decided to participate in the Home Bakers of Tampines Series, an event hosted by Our Tampines Hub (OTH), and which celebrates the spirit of Ramadan and supports home bakers.
The public can purchase homemade goodies including florentines, Nutella tarts and Thai milk tea cookies from more than 20 home bakers either online or at the store at Space on Level 2 of OTH from April 29 to May 12.
Another participant is Ms Siti Norafidah Mislan, owner of Queensbake, which had to cease operations twice during the circuit breaker last year.
Aside from the dip in sales during last Hari Raya, Queensbake has also struggled with the almost 30 per cent rise in the cost of imported ingredients.
Ms Siti's 13-year-old son also requires medical treatment for chronic asthma, adding to her family's financial pressure.
Nevertheless, she has persevered, and in preparation for the Home Bakers Series, has been working hard and stocking up on her signature treats.
Ms Siti said: "I am so comforted to know there are still efforts being made to reignite the nostalgic atmosphere that comes with the OTH Bazaar and Geylang Serai Bazaar that we are all familiar with."