How This Mom’s Online Baking Business Succeeds in a Competitive, Crowded Market

This Women’s Month, we shine the spotlight on the supermom owner of Apron Girl PH, who started her business in the midst of the pandemic and just four months after giving birth.

2020 lives in infamy as the year the COVID-19 pandemic began. At the same time, many aspiring entrepreneurs took the opportunity to start online businesses during the years in lockdown. In fact, according to government statistics, 88,000 new online businesses were registered by the time 2020 ended. One of the online businesses that launched that year is none other than Apron Girl PH. This online baking business is known for offering unique sweet treats, like its Faux Twix Bars that have since gained a popular following. 

In an exclusive interview with The Business Manual, owner Len Ilagan-David shares how she started her baking business during the pandemic, just four months after she gave birth. 

A Knack for Business

Selling sweet treats through her online bakery is not Len’s first foray into business. She actually considers it to be something that she has a knack for. 

“Selling has always been second nature to me; whether it was finding unique items at thrift stores, selling my own clothes, baking homemade cookies, or offering services, I’ve always enjoyed trading,” Len shares. 

After she graduated from college, Len went on to help manage her family’s corporate business. The business, which specializes in customized IT, voice, data, and security solutions for SMEs, saw her overseeing the sales team. This, in turn, allowed her to gain essential skills in sales and building customer relationships. 

“Being naturally outgoing, good at selling, and friendly with customers, combined with my background, made it easier for me to transition into starting my own business,” she says. 

New Mom, New Baking Business

When it comes to starting her own business, Len has always known that she’d go for her biggest passion, which happens to be food. However, while she’s always had a feeling that she’d open a food business one day, she was unsure when exactly it would happen. 

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, she found the opportunity to start her baking business. Believe it or not, the opportunity came just as she became a new mom. 

“It actually happened during a tough time in my life—right in the middle of a pandemic and just four months after having a baby! What a wild ride it’s been,” Len shares. “But I knew deep down that food was my calling, and I believed I could succeed in the food business.” 

However, the experience of starting a new business during a tumultuous pandemic as a new mom proved to be challenging for Len. 

“Back then, my biggest challenge was managing the needs of being a full-time breastfeeding mom to a baby who always wanted me nearby,” she admits. “Trying to bake on top of that was a real struggle.” 

“Plus, I was trying to grow my social media presence to reach more customers, but it was tough competing with all the other sellers out there,” the Apron Girl owner adds. “I felt like I was jumping into the game too late.” 

Putting Apron Girl on the Map 

To stand out, Len took the time to research and brainstorm, and she eventually came up with her business’ signature product, the homemade Faux Twix. 

“Turns out, it was a hit and really helped put Apron Girl on the map,” she says proudly. 

Given the tough competition, Len understood that she had to ensure that her baking business continuously stands out from the rest. In order to stand out, she chose to focus on making things that are different from what can be usually found online. 

“I’m not afraid to try new ideas and put my own spin on old favorites,” Len shares. “Since I’m in charge and I do all the experimenting, I can be as creative as I want.” 

She also works hard to keep things personal, which she says helps people feel like they’re part of a community. According to her, this choice has helped her brand grow. 

“As a small online bakery owner, I noticed most online bakeries stuck to basic treats like cookies and bars, and their customer service felt distant,” she explains. “So, I made a place where customers could share ideas for new flavors or treats through polls.” 

“This let me chat directly with them and find out what they loved,” the 36-year-old entrepreneur adds. “I saw an opportunity to be different by offering special desserts, talking to customers like friends, and making a cozy atmosphere.” 

Achieving Milestones 

Len’s hard work paid off when she noticed that Apron Girl reached 5,000 followers on Instagram. Well-known personalities also began to order from her without having to send to influencers or celebrities for brand exposure. 

Apron Girl reached a remarkable milestone as well when Len was invited on a show on The Filipino Channel (TFC) called Happy Place by Happy Ongpauco-Tiu. 

While the brand has already reached great milestones, Len shares that there is more in store for Apron Girl. In fact, she’s keen on participating in bazaars, which she has never done before. She also plans to expand her product line with a variety of items. 

“I’m particularly interested in adding condiments, sauces, and meal preps,” she reveals. “I used to excel at making these for myself and my family, so it’s something I’d love to explore in the future.” 

baking business

Tips for Parents Aspiring To Be Entrepreneurs 

Len’s journey since launching Apron Girl in 2020 is filled with both successes and challenges, especially as a parent. For her, the main takeaway is to have a solid support system at home, especially as she juggles her full-time job, Apron Girl, and caring for her son. This solid support system is something she considers crucial. 

“Make sure you’re truly passionate about your venture,” she likewise reminds. “For me, my love for food and baking eased the transition into entrepreneurship. When you’re passionate about what you do, turning it into a successful business comes more naturally.”