Sabine Lang’s new gluten-free food business in the Waikato, Lang’s Little Bakery, not only provides for her family’s dietary needs it’s also giving those in the wider community with gluten intolerances a chance to try a range of delectable baked treats.
Sabine’s daughters aged 21 and 17 have health issues, including one having coeliac disease, so in 2022, instead of renewing her contract as an English Teacher, Sabine decided to set up a gluten-free bakery business, with her family.
“Both our daughters’ high health needs led to the conclusion that the best way to support them would be to run our own business,” Sabine says.
Despite running her translation business both in Germany where Sabine is from and New Zealand for almost 30 years and being an English Teacher from 2021 until early 2022, Sabine did not feel equipped for “such a huge task” and the responsibility of running a food business. “I had never before dealt with payroll, GST, food business registration and the like,” Sabine says.
“There was a lot at stake. I am not naturally very entrepreneurial and felt I needed guidance and upskilling,” Sabine says.
“Pulling this off from scratch straight away was too daunting, so I decided to upskill first through Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga.”
Sabine enrolled in online study in the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Small Business) (Level 4) at Open Polytechnic | Te Pukenga in 2022 so she could upskill in order to set up the new business. “They happened to offer a study programme that’s content was a perfect fit for me,” Sabine says.
When life gave the Lang family lemons, they made delicious gluten-free lemon meringue eclairs.
In April 2022, Sabine’s eldest daughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with coeliac disease four weeks into her pastry cheffing degree.
“She was devastated to have to abandon her studies,” Sabine says.
Sabine’s other daughter, Eva, who is 17, has other health needs that also prevent her from working a “regular” job or attending school.
“So, one day, my husband and I simply decided to do our own thing to help both our girls gain employment and learn skills that will enable them to make a living in their futures,” Sabine says. “We are kind of providing them with a stepping-stone into working life.”
Kids Health NZ says that an estimated 1 in 70 or approximately 70,000 New Zealanders may have coeliac disease. These people require a gluten-free diet, free from the risk of being contaminated by wheat, barley, oats or rye.
According to Sabine, the market for delicious gluten-free baking products is “huge”. “We have always loved to bake in our family, including baking celebration cakes for friends and friends of friends for many years, so the decision didn’t seem too out of character for us,” Sabine says.
They started looking for suitable premises for Lang’s Little Bakery, but with lease rates expensive in Cambridge in the Waikato, they decided it would be more viable to buy a custom-made food trailer. “We are beyond excited to have moved into our beautiful trailer recently,” Sabine says. “We had been test-baking in our home kitchen for over a year, and to now bake in our actual commercial trailer kitchen for all our new customers feels great!”
The Lang family has been working hard to find and modify recipes that produce cookies, cupcakes, cakes and other baked treats that are so delicious, people won’t even know they are gluten-free. Sabine is the director of Lang’s Little Bakery. Hannah is the head baker, with extensive baking experience. She is also in charge of the social media marketing.
Eva has also baked from a young age and is learning accounting skills, while also helping out in the kitchen.
Sabine’s husband Oliver works as a Structural Engineer during the week but is keen to help out with Lang’s Little Bakery when he can, including when they go to Saturday markets.
“It’s our ultimate joy when we put smiles on people’s faces with our baking,” Sabine says. Lang’s Little Bakery managed to make someone very happy recently, by serving them a piece of gluten-free custard square. “She hadn’t had one in the 20 years since she’d been diagnosed with coeliac disease,” Sabine says. “Those little moments are priceless, and we can’t wait to create more of those.”
Sabine would’ve never been able to start her business without going through the New Zealand Certificate in Business study programme. “It has given me both the skills and the confidence to make this dream a reality,” Sabine says.
“Studying is incredibly rewarding, and there are countless courses out there waiting for you.”
Keep an eye out for Lang’s Little Bakery at the Saturday Cambridge Farmer’s Market or check out their website at: https://www.langslittlebakery.co.nz/ or on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok: @langslittlebakery. For more information on the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Small Business) (Level 4) offered through online study, visit the Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga website: https://bit.ly/3tXysTL Ends
About Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga
Open Polytechnic is a business division of Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology, together with all other polytechnics, and nine Industry Training Organisations (ITOs) in New Zealand. As New Zealand’s specialist provider of open and distance learning, Open Polytechnic enrols over 35,000 mainly part-time learners per year. The majority of learners are adults, combining work and study.