Lockdown Success Story: How Heidi Dempers Launched Yum Baker After Salary Cuts

For the most part, many great ideas are born out of necessity, after covid-19 badly affected the tourism industry, Heidi Dempers was unable to make ends meet from her job, that was when she took it upon herself to hone her talents in the kitchen and started her business, Yum Baker.

Heidi Dempers, founder of Yum Baker

Today she supplies vegan treats to over 40 Checkers supermarkets in Johannesburg and has also developed an exclusive vegan festive range for the retailer.


When Heidi Dempers’ salary in the tourism industry was cut, she started her own baking business to make ends meet. She got in the kitchen and baked confectionaries at night after work and on weekends.

To sell her products, she approached a butchery in Centurion, and enticed the owner with the idea of supplying them with her home-baked goods. Luckily, the owner agreed.

She later started Yum Baker, an online business delivering baked goods around her neighbourhood.

Heidi didn’t initially sell vegan-friendly bakes, but through an encounter with a vegan friend, she soon realised there was a gap in the market for vegan sweet treats.

“I had a coffee with vegan friends one night and asked what they missed from a vegan perspective, and they said one of the things they really miss is fudge, and that contains animal by-products,”

After cracking the vegan code, she invited her friends over to find out what they thought of the vegan product that she came up with.

“It worked, and soon our little online shop was busy. The next thing I had like 15 vegan items available,”

In April 2021, she started supplying one Checkers in Johannesburg. A year later, Yum Baker’s range has expanded from 15 to 19 product lines which are available for delivery via Sixty60 as well as more than 40 Checkers stores in the Johannesburg area, with plans to supply more stores before the end of 2022.

“It was so refreshing to learn that a big corporate like Checkers still fosters small businesses. Every little thing that comes from Yum Baker has come past my hands and Checkers has ensured that home-baked vegan treats are more accessible to thousands of consumers through its retail footprint.”

What can we learn from this?? Well everything happens for a reason, getting a salary cut was a blessing in disguise for Heidi Dempers, she now makes way more than the salary she was getting.


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