CEO Series

These M’sian Chocolatiers Have The Numbers To Prove They’re Just As Good As Lindt & Godiva

  • Harriston is a Malaysian brand of chocolates founded in 2005 by S.C. Teng, and is now run by his family.
  • They offer 150 different types of chocolates that include distinct Malaysian ingredients such as durian, curry, ginger, and tongkat ali.
  • To date, they’ve sold to over 8 million customers from more than 80 different countries.

For a chocolate business started in 2005, it’s a bold thing to claim that your products are as good as the ones made by the giants from Switzerland and Belgium. But go ahead and ask Queenie Teng of Malaysian chocolate manufacturers Harriston, and you’ll get a response that’s as confident as you’ll find.

“There’s no doubt Belgium and Switzerland produce some of the best chocolates, and I feel that Harriston’s chocolates are up to par with the best as well,” she said.

Going on a stroll down memory lane, it was Queenie’s father S.C. Teng, a former tour guide who founded the company more than ten years ago out of a huge love for chocolates.

“My father has been in love with chocolates ever since he was a child and he realised from a young age that chocolate made people smile,” she said. “Hence he was adamant on building his very own world-famous chocolate emporium in Malaysia.”

Back then, the brand went by the names Cocoa Boutique and then Chocolate Gallery, and it was only a while later when S.C. decided to name the company after his favourite Beatles member George Harrison.

“Carrying the same energy day-in and day-out, my father decided to name the company after someone that inspired him,” Queenie explained. “So instead of naming the company ‘Harrison’, he took the letter T from ‘Teng’ and incorporated it into Harriston, thus the company was born!”

Drawing The Global Crowd

Today, Harriston is run by the Teng family, with S.C., his wife, and his daughters Queenie and Wei Tzyy all heavily involved in the day-to-day running of the company and over 200 individuals from all over Malaysia involved in manufacturing and sales.

Image Credit: Harriston

But the interesting fact about Harriston is the clientele that frequent them the most—tourists. Queenie explained that so far, there’s been a surprisingly large amount of foreign customers at their locations in KL, Penang, and Genting Highlands, with their customer count standing at over 8 million from over 80 countries around the world.

“A large part of our revenue comes from tourists who visit Malaysia,” she said. “If you were to come over to any of our outlets nationwide, you’ll notice buses of tourists stopping by everyday to taste our unique local creations.”

She revealed that the reason for this was Harriston’s unique and extensive offerings (over 150 different chocolate products to choose from) that include ingredients such as real durian flesh, papaya, curry, and tongkat ali among other things.

“We truly take pride in the creative work being put into the creation of our chocolates where we infuse them with true Malaysian flavours,” she added. “The commitment to bringing authentic flavours has garnered much attention from customers around the world.”

Image Credit: Harriston

Remembering Their Roots

But beyond their popularity among tourists, Harriston also now wants to engage more with their Malaysian audience and to let them know that there’s a great chocolate brand on home soil.

“Previously, our company focused on tourists and they constitute a big portion of our supporters,” Queenie said. “But now, reaching out to locals and gaining their trust is something else we’re currently focusing on.”

“We want to distinguish our brand and quality from direct and indirect competitors within the local chocolate industry,” she added. “In terms of market growth, we’re positive of what will come as we’re expanding our influence and reach each day.”

Ultimately, the end goal for Harriston is to become a world-class chocolate brand, and one that Malaysians can be proud of.

“For us at Harriston, we’re constantly on the prowl to make more uniquely Malaysian chocolates for our people to enjoy and celebrate together,” Queenie said. “But to be more specific, our main goal is to be a world-renowned chocolate maker from Malaysia, capitalising on our country’s position as one of the top chocolate exporters in the world.”

More Than Just A Business

As of current, their business has grown to become more than just a manufacturer and seller of chocolates, with a number of their outlets also offering chocolate related experiences such as educational tours and workshops to get more people to appreciate the art of chocolate-making.

Image Credit: Harriston

“We educate our patrons on the products they consume, and this contributes to the current cultural and societal values of our generation,” Queenie mentioned.

S.C. Teng with his family, including Executive Director Queenie (second from right), and CEO Wei Tzyy (far right) / Image Credit: Harriston

Additionally, Harriston does its part to give back to society by actively contributing to charities. Last year, they collaborated with Kelab Rahman Putra to help raise RM50,000 for orphans from Rumah Anak Yatim Mary, and has also contributed to the Sabah Earthquake Relief Fund, and the Penang Handicapped Welfare Association, just to name a few.

“We participate in quite a number of CSR programs as we see the company as a responsible citizen of Malaysia, too!” Queenie said. “For instance, we donate a portion of our proceedings from purchases of our 80% Dark Chocolates to the Cocoa Horizon Foundation.”

“This is done in hopes of elevating the quality of life for these hard-working individuals and also our way of thanking them for all they’ve done in the past few years—without them we’d not be able to do what we do today.”

Targetting The Top Rung

Looking ahead, Harriston will be looking to solidify their status as a premium chocolate brand both here and around the world, and Queenie thinks that the success they’ve enjoyed so far is a good indicator of how well Malaysia can develop as producer of chocolates.

“I think it’s great that more and more Malaysians are starting to realise that we can compete on the global stage,” she said. “Our chocolates and chocolatiers are really up there with the rest of the world.”

“To have more and more artisanal chocolate makers popping up also gives us great competition and the drive to be even better.”

Proving this point, Harriston has recently managed to form a partnership with international chocolate giant Barry Callebaut to introduce their Ruby chocolates to the local region for the firs time, and they’ve also launched a premium sub brand called Harriston Chocolatier offering more upscale chocolate offerings.

Team member of Harriston and Barry Callebaut marking their collaboration / Image Credit: Harriston

“When we started, people questioned if it was feasible for us to create our own home-grown chocolates,” Queenie said. “We’ve never let those questions stop us—if we can produce chocolates in Malaysia under this hot weather, you can do what excites you, too.”

The newly opened Harriston Chocolatier / Image Credit: Harriston

“Our mission has always been to spread more smiles and we’re glad to know that we’ve reached out to so many people already!”

  • To know more about Harriston and their chocolate products, you can visit their website or Facebook page.

Feature Image Credit: Harriston

 

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