Five amazing women, five inspiring stories. For our New Year issue, we decided to get together the strongest (and coolest) women we know, to share their struggles. For these women, 2015 was about facing their fears. So how do muster up the guts, and the confidence, to start your business at 25? Just ask Bani. The young entrepreneur started her own pastry brand MIAM last year, and she's already knee-deep in macarons (that's her speciality BTW)! So we caught up with the young and fun pastry chef to talk business, baking, and being independent!

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"2015 Was the Year I Chased My Career Dream"

Bani Nanda

Pastry Chef, MIAM

What would make you quit a job as a pastry chef at one of the most luxe hotels in the city? For Bani, it was the dream of starting her own pastry brand, MIAM. "I don't think it's ever too late or too early to start your own business. I'm very intuitive as a person, and as the days passed by, I was convinced it was the right time to take the plunge."

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After clocking in long hours with her colleagues in a job that didn't pay well, the decision was obvious. "Honestly, I felt I deserved better. The Indian hospitality sector demands long, strenuous hours, but isn't willing to pay well. And the support of my parents really helped me."

Bani's commitment to her dream is also why you'll never find just another pastry on MIAM's menu. "I want people to try new flavours and textures," she says. With exotic fruits and ingredients like cocoa nibs from Costa Rica and the hand of Buddha from Vietnam, Bani's creations are unique. And the difference is hard to miss. "If you visit Paris, you'll see that pastries are seasonal; it's like fashion. I love that and I want to revolutionise it here. Yes, it's hard work, but when I wake up to messages from clients the next morning saying that I made their day special, it makes it all worth it."

Photograph: Anand Gogoi; Styling: Samar Rajput

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