Entrepreneur

She Started By Selling Cakes In A Studio Apartment, Now Owns 2 “Rival” Cafés In Bangsar

  • Jaslyn started her career in her student days, selling baked goods out of a tiny studio apartment in London. 
  • This led her to finally opening her own café in Bangsar in 2014, where she had to hustle every day to do everything from baking to serving customers. 
  • Now, Jaslyn serves as more of a facilitator and recipe creators. She has even launched another dessert store that runs next to her first one. 

When Jaslyn Rangson launched her first restaurant in 2014, it was only her and her then-boyfriend running the entire operation—from baking to handling the front of the store.

“I have always loved baking and cafés, and owning a bakery was something I had wanted to do for a long time.”

In her final year of university reading Economics in 2010, Jaslyn started selling cakes, cookies and bread from a tiny studio apartment in London.

Her interest in desserts brought her to a year in a few culinary internships, including a few cafés, a hotel, and even one Michelin-starred restaurant when Jaslyn was still a student in London.

It was in these stints that she learned not only how to make desserts, but also the crucial business side as well—particularly in café operations and baking style.

When it came time to start her own business however, Jaslyn still had to start from scratch.

Jaslyn Cakes was a newbie on the scene back in 2014, and we had to do everything on our own; the working hours were insanely long and gruelling.”
– Jaslyn Rangson, founder of Jaslyn Cakes

Image Credit: Jaslyn Cakes

This was all in service of a simple goal: she wanted Jaslyn Cakes to sell homey flavours with a more rustic appeal, like butter cakes and cookies, displayed with only a minimal flourish, and wooden colours abound.

And she wanted all of this in a café that oozes coziness and comfort, so that patrons can gossip, catch up and just chat over plates of simple, yet indulgent cakes.

Since its launch, Jaslyn Cakes has launched the founder herself into something of an influential entrepreneur among F&B operators, and Jaslyn Cakes is a well-known staple among Bangsar foodies.

Jaslyn attributes their popularity to simplicity—a down-to-earth style that customers can relate to.

Then, an opportunity arose.

Image Credit: Dew

When the neighbour store moved out, Jaslyn saw an opportunity to sell the kinds of delicate pastries that she couldn’t under Jaslyn Cakes.

So they bought the neighbouring space, but instead of expanding Jaslyn Cakes, they launched a different type of dessert store altogether, selling more “refined” and petite delicacies.

“We wanted to create a sweet, little secret oasis in Bangsar, tucked away behind a florist,” said Jaslyn. To that end, the design of Dew was heavily inspired by nature—with green colours, natural terrazo stones, and greenery all around.

“This is reflected in our cakes and drinks as well, and our patisseries often include fresh elements of herbs, flowers, fruit and minimal colouring.”

Many are surprised to discover that the two “competing” dessert stores next to each other are owned by the same woman / Image Credit: Jaslyn Cakes versus Dew

“To be honest, I’ve never been not much of a planner! I do things that feel right and I go with the flow,” said Jaslyn.

Unlike the homemade appeal of Jaslyn Cakes, Dew serves as a bit of a pet project for Jaslyn and two other friends—giving off a more floral, Insta-happy space full of lush greenery, and desserts with lots of colours and natural flavours.

Image Credit: Dew

Since her earlier hands-on startup days, Jaslyn, now 28, serves as more of a facilitator these days.

Instead of busying her hands with day-to-day operations, she is able to spend extra time developing and researching new recipes and flavours to introduce in her two stores.

“Our bakers, baristas, managers, front-of-house team and even part-timers are the real wheels that keep this train moving! I’ve always said this but I always feel extremely lucky that we have such a great team, and the main challenge now is to keep everyone motivated and feel appreciated for their work,” said Jaslyn.

Apparently, running one store is not so different from running two.

The teams of both Jaslyn Cakes and Dew / Image Credit: Jaslyn Rangson

“Perhaps the one thing that most strongly ties them both together is they are both small businesses that are trying to achieve greater things in their respective fields. I really do strive to push them both to be their best, creatively.”

But sometimes, it hits Jaslyn that “I have two shops. How did that happen?”

In the end, Jaslyn feels like running two stores simultaneously comes naturally, especially since they have the same suppliers, and the two baking teams are familiar and friendly with each other.

“And physically, the shops are right next door to each other! I am able to be present at both, and I am also lucky to have a great team who are understanding and also independent,” said Jaslyn.

Other than that, she’s your average F&B entrepreneur.

As such, the usual difficulties apply: balancing cash flow, staffing, and customer service.

But this is in part due to Jaslyn’s zeal for getting a “great team together”, and keeping them happy.

I’ve always said this but I always feel extremely lucky that we have such a great team, and the main challenge now is to keep everyone motivated and have their work felt appreciated.”

Like any other entrepreneur, running her stores is always on her mind, even when Jaslyn isn’t in the store—what they need to do next, what’s the next event, or the upcoming festive occasion, among other considerations.

But it never really feels like I’m on the job, I’m just thinking about cakes all day? I suppose I can’t complain!”

  • You can find Jaslyn Cakes at the below address, with Dew just next door:
    7A, Jalan Telawi 2, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur

Feature Image Credit: Jaslyn Cakes 

 

Subscribe to Vulcan Post Newsletter

Stay updated with our weekly curated news and updates.