Entrepreneurial Pâtissier wins market niche
Business is booming at Le Cordon Bleu Diplôme de Pâtisserie alumnus Klemen Popit’s wholesale business De Toni Pâtisserie & Bakery, having grown from one to thirty-two staff, he is relocating to a larger premises to cater for an expanding clientele.
Before pastry became his passion, Klemen was a qualified chef from Slovenia with a hotel business. Moving to Australia to study Diplôme de Pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney in 2010, he discovered a growing trend with businesses outsourcing pastry items. Seeing a potential market niche, Klemen decided to open his own wholesale pâtisserie business, while still studying at Le Cordon Bleu.
It was definitely the right decision to study at Le Cordon Bleu and start my own business, although it’s challenging and my workload never ceases, I love it!
Filling the market gap for high-end pastries, in the early days of his business Klemen got the word out by door knocking on coffee shops and local businesses. Macarons used to be his most popular item (producing 4500 macarons per day), however his individual desserts, French tarts and custom made desserts are fast growing ranges. His first big customer was ANZ Stadium, then Sydney Showgrounds, and it grew from there.
Today, new customers come entirely through word of mouth. “The biggest challenge so far has been the continuous growth of the business - keeping pace with demand, outgrowing the kitchen space, and then having to reinvesting all the money back into the business for relocation.”
Product development is a major part of Klemen’s business, he travels overseas three times a year to learn about the latest techniques and trends. Transporting pastries Australia-wide is particularly challenging, as glazes must stay shiny once the item is thawed out.
In response to emerging trends, his business now offers a vegan, gluten and dairy free range. Supplying to 7 airlines - British Airways, United Airlines, Japan Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin Airlines – he must meet the growing demand for special dietary requirements, saying: “To stay in the game, you must keep learning all the time, take courses and read books. If you want to be at the top of your game you must keep your knowledge up and keep abreast of trends.”
Klemen offers the following advice to those looking to follow in his footsteps.
CRICOS 02380M / RTO 4959
The secret to its success is quality and attention to detail, absolute commitment to excellence and devotion to the highest standards.