A ‘stubborn’ baker in an ‘unfriendly society’
Dimapur, July 29 (EMN): Many women in Nagaland who wish to follow their aspiration have to be ‘stubborn’ to overcome the struggles of being independent entrepreneurs. In a field dominated by men, the refusal to quit their entrepreneurial pursuits may be what defines some women who engage in business activities.
One such woman is Ajung Imchen, whose childhood passion was to bake. She refuses to give up on it today.
Calling the society ‘unfriendly,’ Imchen told Eastern Mirror that women in Nagaland struggle to succeed because it is more often than not that a person’s capabilities are undermined.
Imchen grew up in a family of bakers. She said to have found a love of baking from her grandfather. Although her grandfather had given up baking as a profession, her love of baking was passed on to her courtesy Christmas visits when the grandfather used to bake cakes on his customised oven made of tins.
Her grandfather is said to have learned baking from the British rulers.
Imchen is a daughter of a retired government employee, and the fourth of five children. While all her siblings are married, she said that she was married to her job and was nurturing a dream ‘to prosper and achieve bigger and better.’ She describes to be a ‘stubborn person’ and has no plans to give up on her passion ‘no matter what.’
Ajung Imchen started a home-based baking business a decade ago. Realising the ‘need to have a name and a brand identity,’ she opened an outlet called ‘Grand Baker’ at Notun Basti in Dimapur in April this year. With the money she saved, she took a baking course in Singapore in 2011.
The baker entered the baking business during her early 20s. Interestingly, Imchen is not a big fan of cakes. She spoke about starting her own diabetic-friendly ice cream production in few years. Her dream, she said, was to become an independent entrepreneur and not a government employee unlike many Naga persons who dream of having government jobs.
Life was not always a bed of roses for Imchen. While there were always ups and downs, the hardest blow came when she was diagnosed to have ‘pituitary gland’ in 2012. For Ajung this left her shattered.
Pituitary gland is said to be a tiny organ, the size of a pea, found at the base of the brain that causes hormonal imbalances. And because of this, she said, she gets weak and exhausted after work. Although the case is not malignant, Imchen is said to be under medication.
Commenting on the current enforcement steps being taken by the food safety authorities of the Health and Family Welfare department, Imchen proudly said that the kitchen at Grand Baker was open to all customers who wish to pay a visit.
Grand Baker has a five-member team with Imchen as the cake designer and her niece, Awoli as the baker. She credited Awoli as the backbone of her accomplishments. Awoli is also said to have undergone a baking course in New Delhi.
With the products ranging from INR 50 up to a few thousands, Imchen said that her products are of good quality.
Interestingly, Ajung Imchen said that she was not into competition but has plans to go with market demands. Admitting that the response has not always been positive, the baker still is optimistic. ‘One learns from mistakes and failures,’ she said.
Grand Baker has tied up with a Dimapur-based home delivery app ‘Food Safari.’