Entrepreneur

When A M'sian Ex-Engineer And Med Student Walk Into A (Gelato) Bar—That They Started

This duo had a desire to create their own business and that’s exactly what they did.

The founders of Joy St.—Kuan Lin and Brian—met each other in church, bonded and became good friends. One day, the thought of opening a business together struck them.

They were concerned with choosing the right partners before they even began working on a business proposal and after deliberating, they knew this was the right move.

“We each had our own strengths and weaknesses which were compatible to start a business. Most importantly, we trust each other,” Kuan Lin explained.

It didn’t matter if they were totally new to the business world. “We had our wit and a lot of good help and advice along the way,” he said.

For many entrepreneurs, the most important step is the first.

Both the guys were huge foodies and always knew that if they were venturing into entrepreneurship, they’d head in the F&B direction.

But the main reason that finally narrowed down their decision to become a gelato shop was the joy they received from eating a cold, sweet treat—turning a bad day into one they can smile about.

Image credit: Joy St.

“We knew we wanted a business that contributed some good to the community and what better way to spread joy than through ice cream, right?” Kuan Lin said.

“We both love ice cream and would eat it all the time. It didn’t stop there though. If we wanted to succeed in the business world we wanted to have the best product.”

“After a little research, artisan gelato was the way to go. Gelato is softer and creamier in texture compared to ice cream because it has less fat and less air,” he explained.

And that was how Joy St. became a gelato shop.

Officially launched on the 1st of July this year, the founders hope that their store can be a place where you can experience happiness or contentment after a long day.

The gelato store is mainly taken care of by the two founders but it wouldn’t be operational without some extra hands in the team.

“Aside from the founders, we have a great team that consist of a social media, marketing manager as well as a HR manager, and awesome bunch of part timers who are young, enthusiastic and vibrant! Just the kind of atmosphere we want at Joy St.,” Kuan Lin said.

Image Credit: Joy St.

The founders have little to no experience in the F&B industry—but that didn’t stop them from pursuing their passion.

Prior to opening Joy St., Brian was in the engineering line—working in a boiler manufacturing company—and was required to constantly travel to the outskirts of Indonesia as part of his job.

It wasn’t easy to take such a big step but he was open to the experience as well. “I have always been an adventurous person, always venturing into new territory in terms of work as well as in my personal life,” he said.

Kuan Lin—playing the dual roles of a medical student and a part-time business partner—is currently doing the best he can to balance the workload.

“I guess I’ve always been stupidly optimistic and I believe people can do whatever they put their minds into. Spend less time on leisure and friends for a few months to learn and to start this up,” he said.

“It helps that Brian is full-time on this too. I know I can trust him with anything regarding this business. I personally was looking for a business partner with specific traits before even I knew what business I wanted to get into. It helps that we were great friends before too.”

The store itself is located in Bangsar—the hot spot for cafes and restaurants—and we had to ask why would they venture into what seems to already be a saturated market.

“We chose Bangsar because of our product and brand direction. We believe it was a good place to introduce our product as the demographic there would have probably been exposed to gelato before,” they said.

The current three bestsellers at their shop are the pistachio gelato, Earl Grey gelato and watermelon lychee sorbet. Brian has a soft soft for the Biscoff cookie flavour, whereas Kuan Lin couldn’t choose a favourite.

“I like coming up with new flavours. It’s hard to pick a favourite. My joy is in developing and discovering new flavours and combinations,” he said.

Image Credit: Joy St.

They are already looking ahead for future endeavours.

The founders are also having a positive outlook towards the future of Joy St. with the current pace of things.

“The sky’s the limit, we have some ideas of the direction we want to go despite not knowing how we’ll get there. However, we always have been blessed with family and friends who came in at the perfect time to give us the advice or help we needed,” said Kuan Lin.

They are working hard to achieve their goals and they tackle their challenges head on without fear.

“To be honest, we’re just two guys finding our way through the wilderness. Every day offers an exciting struggle with a high learning curve, but we love it and definitely we’ve been blessed with good mentors and friends that helped us overcome this as well,” he said.

Feature Image Credit: Joy St.