While many businesses are struggling to make ends meet, Kylie Moppert, a 57-year-old independent artisan baker, says the COVID-19 pandemic has been good for her business.
Kylie’s Slow Dough relies on customers who are willing to come in during the morning and pre-order baked goods, and more people are now willing to do this, Ms Moppert says.
“For four years I’ve been running this business thinking ‘why have I created this business that can’t even sustain itself’?”
“But along came COVID and suddenly quality food mattered to people and they were prepared to pay for it and they were prepared to order and wait for it.”
Most of Ms Moppert’s bread takes around 48 hours to make, but the name Kylie’s Slow Dough is actually a pun about not making money.
“If you want to make money, it’s better to make something that’s not artisan,” she says.
On a Saturday, her busiest day of the week, Ms Moppert makes around 160 loaves of bread.
Having worked professionally as an accountant for 25 years, Ms Moppert says she always wanted to set up her own business.
She works long hours, from early in the morning to late in the evening.
“It’s been really hard but it’s really nice having my own business.”
Ms Moppert’s baking business has continued to grow since she began it as a 21-year-old.
When she fell pregnant with her first child, she began baking bread and sold it at local markets in New South Wales. When she moved to Christmas Hills in Victoria, Ms Moppert’s husband modified one of the rooms so she could run her own business from home.
“I used to drive to the fire brigade and leave loaves there and I delivered to people’s homes, it was a very small business,” she says.
Around four years ago she left her marriage in Christmas Hills and moved to Melbourne, where she now lives alone on the second floor of her bakery.
“I thought I needed to stop being married.”
Ms Moppert says she was too focused on being in a relationship, which didn’t leave her room to explore other things.
“Once I got to sort of [age] 50 and the kids were grown up, I felt like I really needed to focus on myself and that I couldn’t do that when I was in a marriage.”
She was recently forced to close her business for three weeks due to a motorbike accident that left her with a broken rib.
While the bakery was closed, she spent time with her grandchildren, wrote some of her novel and worked on different projects in the bakery.
“I am an itchy feet person,” she says.
"I am looking for the next project. I think I have always done and I’m still doing that. It’s remarkable for me to have been running the bakery for this long.”