- Zeenath Gunawijaya on her home baking business and more
Zeenath Gunawijaya, the founder of Magical Desserts (@magicaldesserts on Instagram), is a young, strong, and independent individual determined to grow her home-based venture into something loved by everyone. Growing up around a circle of women who have always been passionate about baking and cooking, she’s now working on her own flavour of magic.
Brunch caught up with her for a chat on her home business, as well as her insights on sustaining a small business during this crisis. Here’s what she had to say.
How did you get into baking?
Magical Desserts was launched on 9 June 2020 during the first lockdown in Sri Lanka.
Covid-19 was an opportunity for many bakers like me. With the extra time on our hands during lockdown, we’ve bonded with our kitchen adventures, playing around with ingredients to bring out the best for our customers and launching new products with new flavours. Magical Desserts has helped me connect with amazing people who I’m yet to meet with in person.
I launched Magical Desserts just like any other “pandemic business”. However, it grew to receive positive responses and encouragement from family, friends, and customers, who drove my business growth.
What inspired you to start your business?
My grandmother and mother who also put their heart and soul into cooking inspired me to pursue my passion for baking.
What I give my customers is truly a piece of my magical skills with a touch of love and passion!
What are some of the products you offer?
Magical Desserts offers a variety of desserts including èclairs, tres leches cakes, brownies, cookies, donuts, profiteroles, and cheesecake that make it to our list of best-sellers.
Do you have a particular best-seller? Which product is your personal favourite and why?
Our most demanded desserts are eclairs with our signature flavours of pastry creams and tres leches cakes with cashew topping.
Magical Desserts is also renowned to have launched the first batch of Fancy Eclairs in Sri Lanka, which is also my personal favourite!
Our desserts can always be customised according to our clients’ preferences.
What challenges have you faced along your journey?
Operating during the pandemic and amidst travel restrictions has not been easy. The biggest challenge was sourcing ingredients, especially considering our need for perfection and high-quality ingredients.
However, we found a way to source our ingredients. Over time, most ingredients were available online making it so much more convenient.
How did you sustain your business with the recent restrictions and shortages?
Sri Lankans as a whole, including businesses like Magical Desserts, were affected due to the situation in the country. The economic crisis in Sri Lanka this year has brought forward a number of challenges for Magical Desserts as well. The rising cost of living has forced us to increase our prices over the course too.
However, we are determined to work hard to provide the best products at the most reasonable prices to our customers. We persevered and managed to keep our small cloud kitchen running with whatever we had available.
What are your plans for the future?
We are planning on launching a website for orders and expanding our customer base.
We would also increase our pop-ups to meet and interact with all the lovely people who enjoy our products.