The scrumptious finger-licking
Uh ohhhhh allow us to introduce the queen of all plant-based and Danish handcrafted goodness. The girl who makes THE BEST cinnamon rolls (and sticky buns and chocolate brownies and cardamom buns...) in town! Please meet Bianca, founder of the White Rabbit Bakery and in our opinion the best baker nationwide.
Read all about this busy lady, who decided to launch her start-up in the midst of a pandemic, while still working a full time job. She is a busy bee and we are so glad she is, because our taste buds have never been happier.
For our readers who don’t know you yet, tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from and what got you here?
I have always been a creative person in many ways, from practicing my Beyonce dance moves thinking I was going to be a pop-star, to spending many calm hours at my desk drawing, and singing in musicals and small bands. I was very active both in dancing and different sports, mainly tennis that was a big part of my high school years. I’ve also always been a big food fanatic - always cooking, baking and eating good food. Growing up in Denmark with a Danish mother and Mexican father, I naturally also got very much into meeting different cultures and their different cuisines.
While I chose to study business at Copenhagen Business School, I always found ways of keeping my passion for food close. I ended up spending 5 years alongside my studies working as a waitress and event planner at Mielcke & Hurtigkarl (Copenhagen), a gourmet restaurant always included in the rankings of the best culinary experiences in Denmark and Scandinavia. I learnt so much about high quality ingredients and what you can do with them, but also how sensual and mindful the process of dealing with such delicate ingredients is.
My first job in Switzerland was doing IT business development. However, I always found a way to return to my creative activities in my free time and always had entrepreneurial dreams that got bigger and bigger. I was sure that I wanted to end up working with food in some shape or form.
The White Rabbit Bakery is a plant-based bakery. Why the name and when did you first start putting the wheels into motion for your business?
My name “Bianca” means “white” in Italian, and the rabbit is a vegan pet. The rabbit is also often seen as the logo for “cruelty-free” on packaging. And then the combination is fun, memorable, a bit hipster, and something people ask me about a lot! I didn’t get it from Alice in Wonderland ;-)
After moving to Switzerland in 2012, I realized that the cake culture here is completely different to the one in Denmark, where cake plays a huge role in the way people spend time together. It is about “hygge”, cozy moments, showing your love by bringing cake or making cake for guests. Danish bakeries have several (some have up to 15!) different kinds of cinnamon rolls and their shelves are fully stocked with delicious (and creamy) cake. I always wondered why the Swiss bakeries didn’t have that many cakes to choose from (cinnamon rolls were surely nowhere to be found), and when I started being vegan-curious in 2016, I could forget about finding good cake.
During the first 2020 COVID lockdown, I found myself having so much time for all my kitchen experiments. I thought “what’s the worst that can happen?”, so I started my Instagram account, perfected the vegan cinnamon roll recipe, and started posting photos of my rolls and cakes. A month after, I was contacted by my first customer DeviDeli, a vegan deli shop in Wiedikon and shortly after I gained my second and third resellers, Hello Vegan in Uster and Veganitas. My cakes can now be found in several shops, and after the cafés have reopened, I’m now also selling through Kleine Freiheit, Maison Blunt, Samses and Lennox in Rapperswil. I have custom orders every week, I engage in fun collaborations, and now I’m working on some really big projects.
What is something about your work that people don’t know or that surprises them?
Firstly, that I was baking at home for the first full year of my bakery, seriously outgrowing my (certified) kitchen. If you follow me on Instagram, you know exactly how many rolls went through that tiny oven every week - it’s crazy! Secondly, many Swiss people ask if I invented the shape and taste of the cardamom bun. The truth is that this is one of the most famous pastries in Scandinavia and it was simply not known here yet.
Thirdly, that I’m still employed part time doing IT business development while managing this crazy startup.
What’s a mistake you see get made all the time, even by very smart people? What have you learned from that to handle it the right way?
I often see that people spend so much time on coming up with the perfect strategy and plan, perfecting their concept and brand universe, but end up spending so much time on it that they either never launch their business or launch at a time when their product or service is no longer relevant. The other point - which is not a mistake, but something that I always find to be a shame - is that many people don’t believe in themselves or dare to take a chance and put themselves out there. There are so many amazing ideas and projects that never reach the surface due to lack of courage.
When I was in school I rarely put up my hand as I was afraid to say something wrong. However, growing wiser, working on myself, practicing mindfulness, and working for a really inspiring IT entrepreneur all taught me to be more bold and assertive, striving for what I want and trusting that I can get there. Life is really beautiful and fun when you allow yourself to see it. People are supportive when you trust you are worth it. Kindness brings you far. So I am honestly at a point where I don’t waste time wondering or planning too much. I simply put myself out there and adjust and improve as I go.
Your work ethic is incredible – you have a job at an IT company and you are running your own start-up bakery. How do you manage it all?
Haha, thanks! Honestly, I’m not sure how I manage. Home office definitely helps so I don’t have to waste time in traffic every day. That was one of the advantages of baking at home; I could start something in the kitchen before work, then work on my IT projects, whereafter I’d continue baking after work. Today I have much more work and many more orders than last year, but now I have an amazing baker who takes a lot of the workload in the kitchen off of my shoulders. Not to mention the professional kitchen I’ve been renting since a few months, which helps so much as well. I have a lot of spreadsheets, apps and calendars. My big passion for the bakery definitely helps and the feedback from happy customers is everything. Lastly, even when I am behind schedule on everything in life, I know I’ll manage somehow.
What’s one thing you’ve done in your career that helped you succeed, and that very few other people do?
Learning about Agile and Scrum! Traditionally they are IT project management tools, but can be applied to anything in life and basically help you prioritize and structure your work. Further, it teaches you how to adapt to any situation or a change in scope. I am very organized when I have a goal, and I get straight to the point. Despite me being a dreamer and having a very free-spirited way of life, I have always prioritized to cultivate my business mindset, and this helps me now, especially living a bit of a double life between software and cakes.
What is the next big thing you have coming up?
Ok, this is super exciting! I’m actually opening a shop together with my good friend and business partner Britta from Kürzi Kakao. The shop will be called MOON! It will be an indulgent concept store with baked goods and bean to bar chocolate in the middle of Lochergut, Wiedikon. It will be creative, sustainable, plant-based, organic and locally sourced when possible. We are so excited to finally have a space to serve our customers amazing creations, limited editions and seasonal flavors. We will be launching a crowdfunding campaign for MOON next week, so stay tuned for that! We really want to add something new to Zurich’s sweet food scene and we can’t wait to build an awesome community around it.
Zodiac sign: Leo
Favorite Quote: Give me whatever, just don’t give me boring
Currently listening to: Aya Nakamura, Frank Ocean, and my boyfriend blasting away on his guitars.
How to unwind after a long day at work: Bodycombat, cooking, deep house and candle lights.
Ultimate Happy Fix: Best friends and chocolate!
Cinnamon Rolls or Swedish Cardamom Buns? Cinnamon rolls! (but really all the rolls and buns depending on my mood)
Most used emojis: 🥰 🙌😅🔥
Most overrated word: Pivot. Everyone is pivoting their business these days. Be more creative!
Perfect food day; where and what would you eat: I would start at home for a homemade pancake breakfast with maple-tahini drizzle, caramelized banana, apricot jam and a bit of dark chocolate, be in Barcelona for a healthy lunch at Flax and Kale and end with a gourmet dinner at some 3 star michelin restaurant - maybe Copenhagen, maybe Singapore.