Sometimes you yearn for a place where you can unwind, seek some peace and quiet – away from the hustle and bustle of the city. A place that is comfy, friendly and has the right ambience to relax in. The one place that immediately comes to mind is *Hetika Bakery and Cafe* – tucked away on a quiet corner just off the highway in Dimapur, Nagaland.
Meet Vekutholu Vero – Baker and Owner of Hetika Bakery and Cafe, in Dimapur Nagaland, as she talks about her venture with our R&L member, Kumti
- Hi Veku, this place is such a charming place! So tell us how and when you started Hetika Bakery and Cafe?
The cafe was launched in mid of last year (in 2016). The sole reason why I started this cafe is because I felt there aren’t many quality cake shops in Nagaland. We do have a lot of great bakers, but very few outlets where people can just walk into – whenever they have a craving for something nice and sweet. That’s where the whole idea to open up a cafe, where I can serve my baked offerings, seemed like a great idea.
It all started when I joined a baking class in Dimapur, after completing my masters, and was wondering what to do next. I really enjoyed the classes, so I went on to join CCDS (Culinary and Cake Decorating School) in Delhi. After that, I guess there was no looking back.
Moreover, baking is one profession I felt, will give me the utmost satisfaction in terms of exploring my own creativity as well as challenging myself . It’s not just the baking but also ensuring that I create a space, where people feel welcomed to come and enjoy my baked offerings.
We serve an assortments of cakes, cookies and other baked delights – Philadelphia cheesecake, Caribbean coconut cake, Macha cheesecake, Blackforest cake, Red Velve – and coffee, of course.
- What is the meaning of ‘Hetika’?
Hetika is a family name – of sorts. For generations, my family had cultivated paddy at Hetika– a small valley nestled in Tizu Area (Phek District). My favourite childhood memories are drawn from this place. For me and my family, Hetika symbolises our identity and a source of livelihood whilst connecting us to our grandparents and the generations to come.
- How did you go about designing the space?
Well, I am a lover of all things vintage, friendly and homely vibes. So you will see a hint of these sprinkled across the cafe. Every detail has been carefully handpicked by me – from the colour and designs of the chairs and tables, to small potted plants, to coffee mugs, etc. The whole focus is on creating a casual and friendly space where people can feel relaxed, meet and get to know each other, or initiate conversation – even with a stranger.
Another important focus is obviously to introduce different types of quality cakes, cookies and other pastries along with good coffee. I believe in creating a positive environment. Everything that we do at Hetika – from the decor, to the food to the ambience are all with respect to achieving that one goal.
- What was/is the biggest challenge and what is the biggest motivator – to keep going?
The biggest challenge I faced was translating my dreams and ideas into action. Entrepreneurship and business was a whole new dimension for me at the time. There was also the problem of not just the introduction of new ideas, but also in creating a menu that people will like.
With limited exposure, I had to rely on internet research and inputs from friends – who shared ideas based on their many travel experiences. Like any business, challenges present themselves often. But my biggest motivation is simply to continue to do what I love doing. Struggle would lose meaning if we stop pursuing something because of the challenges.