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The transition of a home-based food business from an online platform to a physical storefront tends to make for an inspiring story. Such is the case with Basket Break Bakehouse.

Daphne Ng was well-known on Instagram for her “sourdonuts” (sourdough-based doughnuts that look similar to bombolinis), which she started as a COVID-19 pandemic hobby.

However, initially, when she created Basket Break’s Instagram account to showcase her hobbies, it was “never fully about breads and doughnuts”. It was about her DIY projects ranging from embroidery to baking.

The name “Basket Break” reflects this eclectic mix: “Basket” for all the DIY items she could fit inside, and “Break” to reference taking a break from work.

The COVID-19 lockdowns gave her the push to start something new, driven by her passion and a rise in demand for homemade baked goods.

“It was only natural to start a home baker business during MCO,” she said.

Image Credit: Basket Break Bakehoue

A journey of self-taught mastery

In 2021, she transformed her online business into a beloved neighbourhood bakery, located in the basement of Seventeen Mall in Seksyen 17, Petaling Jaya.

With a background in writing, media, and digital advertising for five years, Daphne had no formal business training or extensive F&B industry experience—just six months of waiting tables during her university years.

Image Credit: Basket Break

Her baking journey was one of “intense hyperfixation” and trial and error. Over three to six months, she honed her skills entirely on her own.

Daphne’s confidence to venture into “sourdonuts” grew from seeing a gap in the market. At the same time, there was a clear demand.

“Bombolonis were not a big thing then compared to now. When I realised I could make the same amount of money (not counting labour of course) from baking compared to working corporate (and after a lot of encouragement from family), I made the leap,” said the founder.

Image Credit: Basket Break Bakehouse

Meeting market demand with unique offerings

Basket Break Bakehouse’s humble beginnings were marked by creating cream-filled “sourdonuts”.
The first flavours—vanilla creme pat and lemon curd—were inspired by friends’ suggestions and market demand.

Her knack for perfecting the balance between fluffy sourdough doughnuts and creamy fillings quickly gained her popularity.

While “sourdonuts” has been a cornerstone of Basket Break Bakehouse’s offerings, the bakery has expanded its menu.

Image Credit: Basket Break Bakehouse

She also offers sourdough rolls, sandwich loaves, sourdough cookies, and more, in her bakery.

In March, she launched cake cups for their Mother’s Day special. The focus on using the natural sweetness of fruits has resulted in a variety of tarts and fruity flavours like lemon bostock, pink guava vanilla, and mango shortcake—appealing particularly to the elderly in the Seksyen 17 neighbourhood.

“Initially, our target market was just foodies in general. When word spreads on Instagram, people tend to want to try the latest thing that everyone is talking about,” Daphne explained.

Image Credit: Basket Break Bakehouse

Today, Basket Break Bakehouse caters to a mix of families, neighbourhood residents, and foodies, with occasional tourist traffic.

Despite inquiries about expanding with additional branches, Daphne is cautious. “We’d like to have a central kitchen and tiny takeaway shop lots to reach more people in high-traffic areas,” she said.

Besides, the basement location in Seventeen Mall, while not ideal for foot traffic, offered a financially safer starting point.

Image Credit: Basket Break Bakehouse

Building a community & future plans

Running Basket Break Bakehouse is a team effort. Initially struggling to find the right fit, the team now consists of Daphne and two bakers.

“Day-to-day operations are handled by the bakers, while I manage stock, unorthodox requests like events, and catering fulfilments that require capacity planning,” Daphne shared.

One of the biggest lessons Daphne has learned is the importance of letting go.

“As a build-from-scratch business owner, I couldn’t let go of a lot of things in the beginning. You have to sacrifice time, money, ego, and a balanced life. Pick and choose what you’re willing to let go of, or not,” she said.

Image Credit: Basket Break Bakehouse

Daphne also emphasised the value of a good front-of-house team and building relationships within the industry.

“Make friends in the industry. This can lead to alternative ways to compare and source your ingredients. Treat your staff like how you’d like to be treated. And though it may sound obvious, factor in your labour cost,” shared the founder.

Looking forward, Basket Break Bakehouse is exploring partnerships, particularly with coffee vendors, to complement their offerings.

While Daphne has yet to find the right cafe partners for their “sourdonuts”,  they currently supply longer shelf-life items like cookies, marshmallows, and non-filled doughnuts.

Image Credit: Basket Break Bakehouse

A little-known fact is their collaboration with Japow, an ice cream shop upstairs, to provide fresh cookie waffle cones.

With a loyal customer base and growth plans, Daphne’s bakery is poised to become a staple in the community, bringing joy one “sourdonut” at a time.

  • You can learn more about their business here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: Basket Break Bakehouse

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© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)