Flour power: Saudi women bakers take Instagram by storm

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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi baker Dareen Shakir, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers. (Photo courtesy: Omaima Al-Shareef @omi_photography)
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Saudi entrepreneurs are carving out a niche in the food business with the help of Instagram. (Instagram photo)
Updated 12 March 2018
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Flour power: Saudi women bakers take Instagram by storm

JEDDAH: There had been a dramatic increase in the number of entrepreneurs in the food business section on Instagram in the past five to six years.
The social media application was always famous for the pictures people took of their meals and uploaded to their accounts. This paved the way for the many talented bakers who had the potential to sell their goods.
They would upload the pictures and interested users of the application would order their required delicacy. The account owners usually take the responsibility of delivering it to their addresses.
These foods are unique, have a better variety and a reasonable pricing scheme. Also, these are perfect for people looking for “the taste of home.”
There are all sorts of varieties from savory to sweets. From having an account dedicated to just one item to an account with a range of products.
As time passes there are more and more accounts appearing, each one introducing a newer, more innovative idea.
There are thousands of such accounts based in Jeddah only, and those accounts have tens of thousands of followers.
@biscotti_ksa, who makes all the varieties of cookies and brownies, makes her own creations and has a following of 93,400, whereas Dareen Shakir, a 29-year-old Saudi with an American mother, who runs the account @dees_cakesnbakes, started five years ago in 2013. She fuses Middle Eastern-style sweets with Western ones and has 23,000 followers.

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“I like doing this because I have freedom, I don’t have to stick to work hours, I can take off whenever I want, and I can travel whenever I want,” Dareen said.
“The competition is high, so I can’t linger on just one type of product for too long. I have to keep renewing my products.”
Walaa Al-Sharif, 23, the Saudi girl behind the account @passionbakety.sa, has 10,200 followers. She has also collaborated with Manuel supermarkets and has a permanent spot on the supermarket’s shelves.
“I started in 2014. At that time there weren’t so many bakers, specializing in cookies,” she said.
“When I started it took me five to eight months to have clients. Also I was a student, so I took many days off, but now I am focusing on this and I hope to have a shop soon.”
The hardest part of starting the business is surely the beginning, to convince people about your product. This was properly defined by Jeddah-based Pakistani Hamna Khan, who specializes in cinnamon rolls. She is just starting out on Instagram with the name @thesugarloop.
She said: “The most difficult part is conveying the quality of my products to the people, especially because it is food. It’s not something I can write features about.
“I strongly believe that baking for people should be done with love and commitment, and I am looking forward to whatever the future holds.”


Startup of the Week: For the love of chocolate

Joudy Delights take part in many of Jeddah’s public events. (Supplied)
Updated 11 December 2018
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Startup of the Week: For the love of chocolate

  • The store offers additional flavors every month for a limited time

The love for chocolates transcends geographical boundaries, ideologies and cultures. Chocolates are considered a must in times of happiness and to express one’s feelings all across the world.
Saudis also share the love for sweets or chocolates with rest of the world. People in this part of the world do not mind trying different kinds of chocolates — from traditional Arab ones to their European counterparts from as far as Switzerland.
Keeping in view the huge popularity of chocolates in the Kingdom, a Saudi couple decided to launch their own business in 2017. Joudy Delights is a local, home-based specialized chocolate brand that is produced with the highest quality ingredients. The Jeddah-based store is run by 25-year-old housewife Wejdan Shaheen and 29-year-old private sector employee Rakan Nejaim.
Due to stiff competition in this business, it is necessary for an entrepreneur to come up with a novel idea so as to gain an edge over his competitors.
The couple, faced with the same dilemma, chose to introduce a delicious dessert in the market.
“Any new idea needs to go through a lot of experiments. We also had to face the situation when we decided to introduce our famous chocoballs. The finalized version of the product took some time. We had to carefully select the best combination of chocolate and suitable stuffing,” said Nejaim.
Joudy Delights offers milk chocolate, dark chocolate and white chocolate that are filled with two types of different chocolates and two types of biscuits which Shaheen calls their “secret mix.”
The store also offers additional flavors every month for a limited time.
“The milk chocolate chocoballs or what we call our original chocoballs is our most popular product,” said Shaheen.
The number of orders per week differs depending on the season, said Nejaim. “But we receive on an average 65-70 orders per week.”
Joudy Delights take part in many of Jeddah’s public events.
“Many of our clients prefer our products at family gatherings like weddings etc.,” Shaheen said.
The store is planning to expand its reach outside Jeddah, and is likely to introduce a delivery service. Joudy Delights can be found at local Saudi talent shop Crate, located in Al-Salamah district.