Who would have expected an entertainer to become a cookie baker? Quite unlikely seeing as those are two entirely different industries. Even Ainul Aishah, a commercial model, local actress and singer, shared with us that her cookie business was started accidentally and unplanned.
Self-Taught Baker And Her Accidental Cookie Empire
It all began in 2012, when Ainul put her acting career on hold to venture into her family’s business. While learning how to start a business, she found time to pursue her culinary passion.
Ainul described that her passion for baking and cooking is overwhelming. “Because I can watch cooking shows all day everyday. That is when I realise I’ve this strong passion for baking and cooking. And I still do now. I watch cooking shows till late. Usually till I fall asleep. It’s like boys watching football, you know,” said Ainul.
First off, she began with watching YouTube tutorials and did some hands-on learning by trying to cook different dishes. Then she got bored, thus leading her to try something else—baking desserts. Ainul shared, “I was just browsing through YouTube as usual and I saw an M&M cookies video there. Took me a minute to actually decide to bake it. I hurried out and bought all the ingredients to bake.”
One day, her friend saw the picture of her cookies on Instagram and texted her to join a bazaar where vendors were selling clothes and food. Ainul felt a bit obligated and hesitated to join, regardless, finally she decided to join her friend in the bazaar.
Ainul said no one was buying the cookie initially. “Of course no one knew about the cookies as it was hiding somewhere on a small little table filled with other desserts and obviously no one was buying it,” said Ainul. At the end of the bazaar, there were leftovers even after distributing some cookies to her friends and family, she decided to snap pictures of the cookies and posted it on Instagram, telling her followers that they can have it for free.
“They started contacting me back to ask for more and started to tagged me on their Instagram accounts and their friends of friends of friends wanted a taste of it too. So the rest is history,” said Ainul. Following that, many local celebs including Fasha Sandha, Maria Farida, Emma Maembong, Erin Malek, Betty Rahmad and more were contacting her for cookies.
“I was still hesitating to make it a business that time but my friends kept telling me to just do it. And so I did.”
Founded in 2013, Ainul A. Cookies began with zero intention to commercialise, but eventually it became a business. “I only use this really little tiny oven I bought at Tesco and ended up baking it till 3-4am waiting for all the cookies to finish baking.” Ainul said when she started receiving bulk orders, she had no idea what she got herself into.
“But all I know is that I’m happy doing it and I want to serve my customers and make them happy. I remembered joining a bazaar and I came late everyday to finish up the orders and people were already queuing for the cookies, waiting for me to open the booth. It was a super amazing and great experience to me.”
Transition From Bazaar Booth To A Real Bakery Business
To-date, the sales of Ainul A. Cookies have steadily increased. To cope with the increasing amount of orders, Ainul said that they actively looked for solutions. “We now have workers to work for the company and also a baking house to operate with bigger machines, bigger space and few workers to assist my business,” said Ainul.
Ainul is ambitiously targeting to make her business go global by supplying to Singapore first.
“Everything is actually on the midst of slow execution. I am looking forward to this. We are also looking for distributions to countries like Brunei, Indonesia, Middle East countries like Qatar, Dubai, Arab Saudi, Australia, Sri Lanka and Korea,” Ainul told Vulcan Post.
Believe In Yourself
There are many obstacles when starting a bakery business because it’s not solely just about baking and selling. “It’s a big challenge for me because sometimes my oven doesn’t work well or sometimes the cookie dough is ruined because we took too much time to bake it properly, etc. One more thing, to train my assistant bakers aren’t easy too. They have different skills and some don’t have skills at all. So monitoring them to make sure the cookies are in good hands is also a big fat challenge for me.”
Compared to being an entertainer, Ainul said it’s definitely more challenging as she started her business from scratch. Although she almost decided to give up and wanting to stop, she still chose to hold on to it by using a lot of courage and believing in herself.
“Especially to sustain the business and expand it to bigger scale, I read a lot of motivational self help books to keep me going and read a lot on Google too. I even make friends with business people who are much older than I am to seek for their advice and help.”
Ainul A. Cookies have come long way since it was founded. They have been actively promoting their cookies on different social media platforms. “We are slowly building up our marketing strategies and game plan again since April so that’s why you too got to know about the cookies,” said Ainul cheekily. Plus if anyone who is interested to sell cookies part-time, they can also contact Ainul A. Cookies for more information via email@example.com or WhatsApp them at +60129359324.
A commercial model turned actress and singer, and now businesswoman who bakes and sells cookies, Ainul sure is inspiring!