In Good Taste: Elaf Patel, Founder, Sugargram
Founded by Elaf Patel in 2019, Sugargram offers bite-sized cupcakes that showcase both flavor and, wait for it, personality.
This article is a part of In Good Taste, a special feature built for the August 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Middle East showcasing 10 of the UAE's most promising homegrown food brands.
As hard as it may be to believe, I’ve come across people who don’t like cupcakes- but even they couldn’t say no to the miniature forms of these confections as presented by the Dubai-based delivery-centered bakeshop, Sugargram. Founded by Elaf Patel in 2019, Sugargram offers bite-sized cupcakes that showcase both flavor and, wait for it, personality- that’s right, these delectable creations have been bestowed names like Fudge Judy, Jelly Jennifer, Oreona Grande, Sasha Speculoos, among others. Fun, sweet, and just plain tasty, these cupcakes have helped Sugargram make its way easily into people’s hearts.
“I think we tapped into something incredible with Sugargram, where we consistently delivered something delicious to our audiences,” Patel says. “What really sets us apart is how much love and care we put into building a personality for our cupcakes, and ensuring every bite is perfectly made with the most luxurious ingredients. A lot of people relate to food very emotionally or personally; so, I think that’s something that really got people into the brand with the special cupcake personalities, and the enthusiastic ways we celebrate every occasion. Since it was the first pastry brand to really do that in Dubai, the following grew fairly organically.”
The response Patel has seen for Sugargram explains why consumers have been cheering the brand on as it launched new concepts like Candygram and Cookie Papi. However, growth hasn’t come without pains, with Patel acknowledging encountering issues along the way- including seasonal ones. “Currently, the biggest issue we are facing is the heat,” she says. “While we sorted out a way for the cupcakes to be delivered without melting, we’ve stopped deliveries in the afternoon, so our drivers miss the worst of the summer afternoon. Another thing that is never fun is being out of stock, so that’s something we’re extra vigilant about now.”
Of course, the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 also caused Sugargram some trouble- but Patel notes that the period did bring it with some silver linings as well. “The way the Sugargram team came through during lockdown is one of the things I hold really close to my heart,” she says. “People were looking for a way to feel more connected to their friends and family, and they really depended on the brand to ‘send a little sweetness.’”
According to Patel, the very fact that people use Sugargram for their celebrations is in itself extremely gratifying for her as an entrepreneur. “On a really personal and emotional level, we’ve seen people use Sugargram as part of their weddings, proposals, baby announcements, graduations, etc.,” Patel says. “And it’s just so great to be part of something so momentous in anyone’s life.”
Aby Sam Thomas is the Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East. In this role, Aby is responsible for leading the publication on its editorial front, while also working to build the brand and grow its presence across the MENA region through the development and execution of events and other programming, as well as through representation in conferences, media, etc.
Aby has been working in journalism since 2011, prior to which he was an analyst programmer with Accenture, where he worked with J. P. Morgan Chase's investment banking arm at offices in Mumbai, London, and New York. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York.