Wednesday February 27, 2013
From banking to baking
By YVONNE LIM
PETALING JAYA: What do cupcakes and gymnasiums have in common? Ask former financial adviser turned baker Lim Jo Weng.
Lim, 26, who took time off from a promising career as a financial adviser in an investment bank, is baking a range of “guilt-free” cupcakes for a popular chain of gymnasiums here.
“The cupcakes are made from low-fat ingredients such as brown sugar, vegetable oil and wholemeal flour,” he said, adding that these were sold to fitness enthusiasts in the lounges at these gymnasiums.
Lim's career took a 180° turn when he embarked on his dream to start his own cupcake company.
“I felt that if I did not do this now, I would never do it. It's now or never,” he said.
“Although I really enjoyed what I was doing at the bank and a lot of opportunities were given to me there, it has always been my dream to start my own company.”
Currently operating from his own home, Lim said baking and cooking had been a hobby since he was a boy.
“No one else in my family bakes. I just picked it up from recipe books and cooking shows.
“I sometimes try out my own recipes and test' them on my friends and family who seem to enjoy them,” he said.
Lim, who has a degree in economics and finance from Melbourne University, said the cupcakes were a “springboard” for him to grow his company.
“I'm also looking into opening a cafe by the middle of this year.”
Lim recalled how some people felt he was foolhardy to venture into the business as novelty cupcakes were not a new thing in Malaysia any more.
Undeterred, he soldiered on. He put all his savings into buying a semi-industrial baking oven as well as building his brand JOW Creations.
Now, four months later, he said he had made enough to cover the initial start-up cost of about RM30,000 and is currently earning a monthly profit on par with what he was earning at the bank.
With the number of orders growing, Lim said he might have to hire a helper soon.
“From the baking and decorating to folding boxes for cupcakes, designing the brochures, setting up a website, I've been doing it all by myself.
“It has been crazy, but this is something I am passionate about and therefore I enjoy it,” he said.
On average, he gets orders for about six to seven dozen cupcakes a day. During peak seasons such as Christmas, orders went up to 25 dozen cupcakes a day.
Lim's cupcakes are priced at about RM4 for each cupcake.
Special seasonal cupcakes cost between RM5 to RM7 each, while cupcakes with customised designs cost about RM6 per piece.
“I took a big risk to do this. But I feel fulfilled, because this is something I'm passionate about,” he said.