What started off as a hobby has turned into a lucrative online business for three friends, writes Izwan Ismail
DURING her 15-stop LRT ride from KLCC to Kelana Jaya, Farah Melissa Zahar kills time by browsing the Internet on her tablet computer. She sees seven new messages on her Raindough Facebook page. Five are compliments from satisfied customers and two are new orders with special design requests.
Farah runs Raindough (www.raindough.com.my), an online cake boutique shop that she set up with her buddies Lynda Hashim K, and Rozzana Khuzae, three years ago while still in college.
It’s quite a feat for the trio who has managed to grow a successful business while working at full-time jobs. Farah is a qualified accountant, Lynda does management construction work and Rozzana is a fashion stylist for a media house.
It started out as a hobby. The trio would meet at nights and weekends to do what they love most — baking cakes. Initially, their customers were family and friends. Occasionally, they would sell the cakes in a bazaar at Cap Square, Kuala Lumpur. Through the social media network, however, the client base grew.
They now have an average of 60 to 80 orders monthly, from both the Raindough website and Facebook.
“We have online clients as far as Sarawak,” says Farah, who now has 1,600 fans on the FB page and 900 followers on Twitter.
Due to her tech-savvy ways, she has been selected by computer vendor Lenovo to use its new ThinkPad Tablet to enhance her business. “It’s great to be powered by technology. I can now design my cakes on the tablet before making them,” she says.
This is especially handy when they make customised cakes.
Customers can request for any design, and Farah and friends will design it accordingly. Customers would give a brief description of the cake design and Farah would make a rough sketch on the tablet and also look up logos, bags, etc online.
Then, she sends the design for approval.
“All these pre-baking work can be done while I’m on-the-go like in the LRT, at the shopping centres or even while watching TV at home, thanks to 3G, smartphones and tablets which have made things easier for me and my partners,” she says.
Among the customised cakes that the trio have made are an aeroplane flying amidst clouds, designer handbags, Inter Milan soccer club complete with goal posts, the characters from Angry Birds and Star Wars, and specialised cakes for bachelor and bachelorette parties.
The cakes are priced between RM80 and RM200, depending on the size and design.
Farah and friends will meet at night and during weekends at her home in Section 9, Petaling Jaya to bake. Orders need to be made at least a week in advance to allow them to design the cake and buy the necessary ingredients for the customised designs.
The cakes take seven hours to complete. The girls normally start early in the evening and work until late at night.
Farah takes pictures of the cakes and posts them on the Raindough FB wall. “These will act as a reference for future customers who may want a similar cake design,” she says.
Their hot-selling flavours are the red velvet, rainbow cakes (from which the name Raindough is derived) and chocolate maltesers and fondant cakes.
“We deliver the cakes by hand for customers in the Klang Valley. This way, it’s more personalised,” says Farah.
With the online success, the ultimate dream is to open a shop some time in the future to complement the cyber outlet.