Previous to co-founding dessert store Sugar And I, Ilyas had a two-year stint at MMC Gamuda by which he labored as a mechanical and electrical engineer. His job included overseeing the drawings and submissions for the scheduled MRT 2 practice.
Nevertheless, he was not content material together with his day-to-day job as he had plans and visions to turn out to be an entrepreneur.
So, on the aspect, he determined to work on rising his sister’s home-based bakery into a correct brick-and-mortar enterprise.
The opposite half of Sugar And I is Ilyas’ sister, Sharifah, who found she had abilities in baking when household and pals started in search of varied kinds of desserts made by her.
After baking and promoting from house for some time, the duo noticed the potential in taking the enterprise farther.
Therefore, in 2018, Ilyas left his full-time company job and partnered up with Sharifah to formally launch Sugar And I.
At present, Sugar And I serves varied kinds of desserts and pastries—bomboloni, Japanese cream puffs, cinnamon rolls, and various cookies.
Sugar And I’s market validation course of is pretty easy. The workforce makes several types of pastries and desserts after which they distribute them to their family and friends.
Often, the workforce would even name of their most loyal prospects and have them style the pastries and desserts. Then, they might ask for his or her suggestions and make enhancements from there.
In truth, their well-known bomboloni have been derived when prospects randomly inquired about their ideas on making bomboloni.
“When there are greater than three requests for a product, we’d take it as there’s a demand for it,” defined Ilyas.
Apart from taking inspiration from exterior events, Ilyas and Sharifah encourage their inside workforce to give you new dessert flavours too.
You might say that they’ve gamified the method a bit, by turning it into a contest of types.
Workers will conduct their very own R&D course of, arising with potential new flavours which may entice prospects. Then, the complete workforce will get the chance to style one another’s creation and supply suggestions.
There’ll normally be about 10 new flavours which might be produced by the workers, however solely 5 shall be chosen for the subsequent part of the competitors. Every worker that comes up with the very best flavour will get an RM100-200 comfort prize.
Their most loyal prospects will then be referred to as in to style the brand new flavours. Typically, the workforce would even make an Instagram publish inviting folks to come back and style their newly curated flavours.
Armed with buyer suggestions, the workforce will make enhancements to the prevailing product. In complete, it takes Sugar And I about two to 4 weeks to finish a brand new flavour.
It’s a fairly sophisticated course of, however it always challenges the workforce’s creativity and excites prospects, so clearly somethings working.
As it’s with most companies, the most important problem that Sugar And I faces is managing staff. Everybody is exclusive, therefore, not the identical administration fashion works for all.
The answer that Sugar And I adopted was to introduce construction and scope into the enterprise. By way of guaranteeing high quality management, the workforce launched a set of SOPs that staff are required to comply with diligently.
With the implementation of this construction and scope, Sugar And I’ve expanded their attain to Mitsui Lalaport, KL, and Mid Valley Megamall. This has helped with easing supply expenses for the residents in these areas.
“Most of our goal market relies in KL, so once they order from KL, the supply expenses alone can go as much as RM40-50,” shared Ilyas.
Creating and utilising blueprints has helped the workforce slender down the essential features of operating Sugar And I, and Ilyas and Sharifah hope that their blueprints can smoothen the method of opening future areas.
“Earlier than we open up 10-20 shops, I feel it’s crucial for us to attempt to see whether or not it’s doable for us to develop the enterprise and scale-up,” stated Ilyas.
The Subang Jaya outlet opened its doorways in September 2018 whereas Mitsui Lalaport and Mid Valley Megamall’s shops have been opened in January and March 2022, respectively.
Because the model has expanded its attain to 2 new areas, the pastries and desserts are made and produced in a central kitchen, which permits for smoother high quality management.
There have been a number of alternatives that offered themselves when the shops have been launched. As an example, Ilyas and Sharifah shared that many individuals enquired about the potential for franchising Sugar And I.
Although it wasn’t their first possibility for the 2 new shops, they’re not dismissing the concept. Ought to the workforce resolve to franchise although, the plan is to get people who find themselves acquainted with managing companies.
“To start out off every part, we do have plans on controlling most of our shops due to high quality. We’d additionally like to make sure that everyone seems to be on the similar stage,” shared Ilyas.
At a time when dessert retailers are aplenty, each on-line and offline, we questioned how Sugar And I stays related. Having inventive flavours are one factor, however guaranteeing visibility is one other.
Sugar And I retains their technique comparatively easy although, by means of influencer advertising. “The simplest and most cost-effective solution to elevate model consciousness is to only put our product on the market,” defined Ilyas.
The workforce additionally enrolled themselves in programs and engaged with social media specialists who presently run the model’s ads.
With such advertising methods, SOPs, and blueprints in place, it’s probably not a far-fetched ambition that Ilyas shared when he talked about he wished to open 25 shops in 5 years.
“The plan is to have three central kitchens, notably one inside the Klang Valley, one in Penang, and one in Johor,” shared Ilyas.
Moreover, he has plans to launch studio kitchens for most of the people to upskill their baking abilities. The workforce additionally needs to create new flavours for his or her bomboloni that Malaysians have by no means tried.
Transferring ahead although, the principle focus would nonetheless be on making bomboloni, cinnamon rolls, muffins, and extra, all of which Sugar And I’ve established as their strengths.
- Study extra about Sugar And I right here.
- Learn different articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups right here.
Featured Picture Credit score: Sugar And I