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By Rohana Nasrah
KOTA KINABALU (Bernama) – Six years ago Salfizah Mohd Ismail quit her job to become a full-time homemaker. She then decided to start a small home-based business to earn some extra money for her family and set her sights on baking.
Today, the 34-year-old mother-of-two has her own line of brownies and cakes called Mamasal and has a loyal customer base not only in Kota Kinabalu city but also in surrounding districts and even as far as Sandakan and Ranau.
Salfizah, who lives in Putatan, here, said she never expected her “experiment” to bake and sell brownies to turn out to be a success. Starting with brownies, she has now added marble cake, cheesecake and burnt cheesecake to her range of products.
Indeed, it is an achievement for someone who had to learn to bake from scratch. Salfizah, who has a degree in business (entrepreneurship) from Universiti Malaysia Sabah, said she chose baking because she loved eating cakes and also due to its business potential as there were not many bakeries specialising in cakes in Sabah then.
She picked up cake-making techniques from Facebook, Instagram and YouTube videos.
“I experimented with brownies first and gave them to my family and close friends to sample. Based on their feedback, I focused on improving the quality of my brownies,” she told Bernama, adding that after she mustered enough confidence and got the green light from her “jury”, she started to take orders for the small pieces of rich chocolate cake.
Using a capital of only RM50, Salfizah produced four boxes of brownies which she sold for a total of RM200.
“After my customers gave the thumbs up to my brownies, I gained the courage to take more orders,” she said.
Her success also prompted her to try her hand at baking other types of cakes and that led her to add marble cake, cheesecake and burnt cheesecake to her range of mouth-watering offerings.
She has customers not only in Kota Kinabalu and Putatan but also in the nearby districts of Tuaran, Membakut and Papar. She even receives orders from Sandakan (about 332 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu) and Ranau (about 106 km away) and uses the express bus service to deliver her cakes to her customers there.
Her cakes are priced at between RM35 and RM60 each, depending on the type of cake. To maintain the quality of her products, Salfizah uses only premium ingredients.
She promotes her products on Instagram and only takes orders on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She receives an average of 20 orders a week which generate a sales revenue of RM1,000.
“Sometimes, my sales reach up to RM8,000 a month,” she said, adding that she gets a lot of repeat orders and that her cakes are also available at certain cafes, restaurants and kiosks here.
Last year, due to the restriction on movements following the enforcement of the Movement Control Order in March, Salfizah used her free time to update her skills by attending online cake-making classes.
“I learned to make different types of cakes such as marble cake which many people like as it looks nice and tastes good too,” she said.
On her future plans, Salfizah said she hopes to open a small factory to enhance her productivity, as well as provide job opportunities to youths.
She also hopes to appoint more agents to market her Mamasal range of cakes. Currently, she has two agents, one each in Kota Kinabalu and Membakut and will appoint two more in Tuaran and Papar.
Her husband Zabidi Zainun, 38, who works in the civil service, gives her his full support and encourages her to expand her business.
“I want her success to inspire other women who wish to start their own home-based businesses. I also help her by guiding her on marketing strategies,” he added.
Translated by Rema Nambiar