KUALA LUMPUR: They have worked as salespersons, factory workers, runners and even quit university – all for the sake of pursuing their dream of building their own business empire.
The saying, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’, fits Joseph Goh Liang Hao, 23, and his wife Debbie Ching Zhee Cheng, 21, to a T.
They may be young and even lack experience but their business skills cannot be underestimated for they are the founders and owners of a peanut butter production and marketing enterprise called Jobbie Nut Butter. ‘Jobbie’ is a contraction of both their first names.
Ever since the couple started their business three years back it has been a roller coaster ride with its ups and downs.
However, their sacrifices and hard work have paid off as their home-made peanut butter has found a niche in the Malaysian market and their business is now yielding a reasonably good profit.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
It all started in 2015 when Goh and Ching first met and fell in love with each other while working part-time at a supermarket here.
“I was 20 and Ching was 18 then. I had just quit my studies in psychology at a local university while she had just completed her SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia),” said Goh, who married Ching in August 2017.
He said they took the bold decision to venture into business although they had no experience whatsoever as they were convinced that they have to start young in order to forge a bright future for themselves.
“We totally started from zero. Neither of us knew a thing about setting up a business but there we were wanting to start our own enterprise,” Goh told Bernama, adding that initially, they were at a loss over what type of business to pursue.
Of course, their parents objected to their business plans as they wanted their children to complete their higher studies first.
“Society often regards young people as impulsive and incapable of completing what they start. But we want to prove that we are not typical youngsters. We want to work hard and prove them wrong,” said Goh.
MARKETED VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
On how they came up with the idea of making and selling their own peanut butter, Goh said he once read an article where the writer asked what kind of food or item one would want to have with them when doomsday came.
“It got me thinking and I chose peanut butter because it was long-lasting and nutritious,” he said. And, that was how the seeds of their peanut butter business “empire” were sown.
Armed with a capital of RM20,000 – comprising their savings accumulated whilst doing a host of part-time jobs – and a peanut butter recipe they got from YouTube, the couple got their business going and produced their own peanut butter, using just an oven and a food blender.
“Initially, our peanut butter’s brand name was ‘Walao-eh’ as it resonated with youths and teens. We started by selling our product at special booths that we set up at shopping complexes, LRT and bus stations, as well as carnivals and ‘pasar malam’,” Ching said.
Business was slow in the beginning but it did not dampen their spirits, instead, they kept on improving the quality of their product and marketing tactics.
Six months later ‘Walao-eh’ was rebranded as ‘Jobbie Nut Butter’ and the couple starting marketing it on social media.
“We did everything on our own – from preparing the peanut butter to packaging, publicising, marketing and delivering the products to our customers’ homes,” said Ching, adding that although they have their own vehicle now, in the early years they had to use public transport to make the deliveries.
Their hard work has paid off as their customer base is growing and they are even receiving orders from abroad.
“Some of our Malaysian customers who reside abroad in countries like Canada and the United Kingdom have also been marketing our product over there,” said Ching.
The ambitious couple is now dreaming of turning their humble peanut butter venture into a thriving business empire.
“Our vision and mission when we started this business were to ‘Think Big’. It is not impossible for dreams to become a reality if we work hard enough and do not give up,” added Goh. -- Bernama