If the pandemic hadn’t happened, Rozaimi is certain his current dessert business wouldn’t exist.
Previously working in an Australia-based offshore platform service, her visa was temporarily terminated as border closures continued to expand from the pandemic. Hoping to be able to return sooner, Rozaimi relied on his savings to weather the storm.
But as the nationwide lockdowns continued, he and his wife, Intan, had to find another way to generate income. Witnessing the rise of home catering businesses launched amid stay-at-home orders, the couple thought it would be worth exploring the same path.
“When we were looking for ideas, we tried different types of recipes such as cakes, pudding, jelly, etc.,” Rozaimi said. Then he recalled how much he had loved a specific dessert prepared by a chef during his time off the coast. So, they decided to give it a try.
After validating their product with family and friends, the duo introduced their dessert to the market in November 2020, calling it Fruit Cheezy Milk (FCM).
It’s all in the name
If the name of this company turns you off, you are not alone. When our team first heard the words fruit, “cheezy” and milk strung together, you could tell it wasn’t well received either. “The product is exactly what it looks like,” I told them.
Made with fruit, coconut nata, jelly, cheese and milk, Rozaimi admitted that it was initially quite difficult for them to come up with a suitable name for the company. This was all the more true as the dessert did not fit into any category of pudding, fruit cocktails or jelly.
In the end, being literal with it was her best bet. This worked in their favor, as the brand name also generated enough curiosity among customers who saw the ads on social media. Rozaimi explained that the target audience would then reach out to learn more about the dessert, which ultimately converted them into paying customers.
“The second reason (for the name) is that we want to directly inform the market about the main content of this product, as there may be potential buyers who are allergic to milk or cheese and certain types of fruit,” Rozaimi added.
Curious myself, I ordered 2 boxes (10 RM each) from FCM. As soon as he touched my palette, I finally understood what Anton Ego felt when he ate Rémy the rat ratatouille. There was something nostalgic about his taste; after forgetting the name of the brand, I was hooked.
There was a layer of red jelly on the bottom that tasted like the jelly you would get in kids party packs, and the white layer on top tasted like condensed milk. The latter is where the milk and cheese were mixed, hence the slight salty element. It wasn’t creamy, but milky, which describes the Fruit Cheezy Milk name perfectly.
FCM’s dessert reminded me of my mom’s jelly topped with liquid condensed milk that she used to make in her spare time as a quick and easy dessert. Of course, I paid my compliments to the chef.
Learn the ropes of social media
Being in their 40s, starting their online business was a challenge as they had to learn the ropes of promoting FCM online. “We have to learn how to create coils and use TikTok which is the latest trend among them because we see that the market on this platform is large,” Rozaimi said.
“We also needed to increase our marketing knowledge through YouTube sources, watching videos from marketing experts and other reading sources. In addition, they participated in entrepreneurship workshops offered by the government.
With limited capital, they were selective in choosing which platforms to advertise on. In addition to using social media ads, Rozaimi and Intan have found profitable methods in Facebook groups and free posts offered by online influencers.
Additionally, their niece helped them market FCM to attract a younger segment of paying customers. Since its launch, FCM has sold around 1,000 jars of its dessert and targets 15-30 year olds, with 50% of customers returning.
There is always room for more
Even after the pandemic is over, Rozaimi hopes to continue and expand FCM. If the couple’s plan works as expected, they will also open a physical store for their desserts with more varieties of products.
To achieve this, entrepreneurs are ready to deepen their knowledge and work with government agencies to help FCM evolve.
If they do launch a physical point of sale for their desserts, their product is likely to be the least of their concerns. Granted, they’ve already built up a pool of familiar customers who may choose to visit the outlet, but in order to attract new ones they would need to have a store that looks attractive.
Since they are targeting younger people with their current marketing efforts and getting sales, FCM could perhaps consider designing their store to have Instagrammable aspects as well.
Take for example how Licky Chan, a tattoo parlor and ice cream shop, does it. The store’s appeal doesn’t just come from its interesting concept, but how every corner of the point of sale is also Instagrammer’s paradise. When customers pass by, you’re guaranteed to see an Instagram story or a post from them, tagging Licky Chan.
It’s free marketing that’s spreading fast, and it’s something FCM should definitely be leveraging with their future store.
- You can read more about Fruit Cheezy Milk here.
- You can read more about the other startups we’ve covered here.
Image Credit Featured: Rozaimi and Intan, Co-Founders of Fruit Cheezy Milk
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