UNYP alum brings her love of doughnuts to Kazakhstan

Yeldana Batrasheva spent most of her life studying in Europe. Originally from Kazakhstan, her family moved to the Netherlands when she was just 8 years old. She attended high school at Francis Holland School in London, and after that, she came to the University of New York in Prague, where she achieved her Bachelor’s degree in Communication and Mass Media in 2017. Now, Yeldana is not only putting her degree to good use, but she’s also living her life-long dream of running a thriving bakery in her native country. 

“I don’t cook, but I love to eat,” Yeldana laughs. “I have a major sweet tooth and opening a bakery has been a dream of mine for a long time.” 

Yeldana’s multicultural background resonates in her bakery. Krem Alem, which translates to Creamy World, opened its doors in May 2018 in Kazakhstan’s capital city Astana. Although it’s primarily a doughnut shop, it offers a plethora of mouth-watering treats from around the globe, including French eclairs, American cheesecake and even pizzas and paninis for the lunchtime crowd. 

Kazakhstan itself is known as the Land of Nomads, and the young entrepreneur felt she found a culinary niche that would not only be popular with the country’s expatriate community but also the locals. “There’s a lot of bakeries in Kazakhstan, but none offer doughnuts,” Yeldana says. 

Gaining independence in 1991, Kazakhstan’s standards of food service has improved in recent years, but Yeldana felt she had a unique insight from her 15 years abroad that she wanted to bring home. It was in London where she first discovered the American chain Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. “It was then that I decided I’m in love with doughnuts,” she says. When she moved to Prague to study at university, she began trying every doughnut shop and quickly became an expert on the best places to satisfy that fried dough and frosting craving. 

Although owning a bakery has been on her mind for a long time, Yeldana’s original career path was in journalism. When she studied Communication at UNYP, she decided to shift more toward marketing and advertising.

“They give a little bit of everything in Communication and Mass Media,” she says. “Now, I’m quite thankful for those classes, especially the ones in social media marketing.” 

While the bakery employs two baristas, two sous chefs, and one baker, Yeldana handles all the marketing and advertising herself. Leading up to Krem Alem’s opening, she was consulting her old class notes, and she has been able to build a strong Internet following especially on Instagram. Now that the bakery’s been open for two months, Yeldana is very happy with the reception so far. Her days are long. She starts at 6:00 and usually ends at 2:00. “I don’t get a lot of sleep. I don’t get a lot of food,” she says. “I have no idea what a private life is right now.”

Despite the hours, Yeldana already has big plans for the future. She’s registered the brand so she can franchise the bakery and hopes to open several Krem Alems around Kazakhstan soon. “When you open up a business, you have to invest yourself 100 percent,” she says. “I want to put our bakery on the map.”

Follow Krem Alem on Instagram. 

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