Entrepreneur

This M'sian F&B Startup Works To Prove That Oatmeal & Quinoa-Based Meals Aren't "Bland"

Wise Crafters is a startup selling healthy foods that was founded in January 2017 by a father-daughter duo, and has since expanded from being an online store to also being a physical oatmeal and kefir bar in Petaling Jaya.

The daughter half of the duo, Samantha Ng stated that many Malaysians don’t have time for breakfast and instead eat brunch.

Furthermore, the foods we tend to eat are less healthy options like nasi lemak and fried bee hoon. Being a health-conscious person, Samantha believes in never skipping breakfast so she made her own oatmeal to bring to work every day.

“Later on, my colleagues saw it and asked if I can make the oatmeal for them too. I thought why not? Because sharing the cost we can have different oatmeal flavours every day, rather than me myself having the same banana oatmeal flavour continuously for the coming 5 working days,” she said. This was where the brand’s oatmeal subscription idea came from.

Image Credit: Wise Crafters

Around the same time, Samantha’s father had just undergone an angiogram operation in Ipoh. Following that, she began researching healthy foods that her father could consume for a better diet and lifestyle.

Her family also wanted him to come to Kuala Lumpur to stay with them, but he found it difficult to adapt as a senior citizen with no friends and nothing to do in the city.

It was then that Samantha thought it might be a good idea to involve him in her oatmeal business, so she began collecting orders from her office and tasked her father with the daily production.

Changing Malaysian Dietary Habits

Ischaemic heart diseases due to narrowed arteries are the leading cause of death among Malaysians, particularly within the male population.

This is why Wise Crafters wants to take on the responsibility of educating and influencing society about healthy eating through their offerings of clean meals and services.

It shouldn’t only be eating less but “eating right”.

They began advertising their business by joining pop-up bazaars in local malls and soon made their own website to sell their products online, providing doorstep delivery to customers.

Wise Crafters’ pop-up store & Oatsome Bar / Image Credit: Wise Crafters

“We set up many pop-up stores in town to let people try our foods, we explain and let people understand that healthy eating can be fun and delicious too,” Samantha said.

“From there, we accumulated some regular customers, and decided to open our first pick-up kiosk in Damansara Uptown, Petaling Jaya. This is the time when my partners—Genie (an ex-healthy café owner) and my husband, Lee joined this business,” Samantha said.

Besides oatmeal and kefir, Wise Crafters also offers quinoa bowls, all of which are available both online and offline at their Oatsome Bar.

Their oatmeal options cost within RM16.90 to RM18.90 while their quinoa bowls cost RM17.90.

Crafting From Inspiration

Wise Crafters works with nutritionists to come up with healthy recipes and meal plans for customers to choose from.

Being healthy eaters themselves, Samantha and Genie often check out Google, Pinterest and various food nutrition sites to explore ideas and create new menus weekly.

“The reason why we keep coming out with new things is because we want to make healthy-eating more engaging, creative and fun,” said Samantha. “Now, we have designed more than 45 oatmeal flavours.”

A quinoa bowl and oatmeal / Image Credit: Wise Crafters

To keep their food fresh, Wise Crafters doesn’t keep ready stock and only crafts meals upon request.

“As everything is made upon request, we can minimise the food wastage and get the fresh stock from our suppliers daily,” she said.

Since starting their home-based business, Wise Crafters has sold more than 30,000 jars of oatmeal.

Despite more health-focused F&B startups popping up in the market and potentially posing competition, Samantha acknowledged that this development is good for the expansion of the market segment.

Once more information on clean-eating becomes available, she said, “people will not only be aware of eating good but also eating right, so they will compare and this is where Wise Crafters’ food quality and convenient services stand out among the competition.”

Accomplishments, Challenges, And Future Plans

With Wise Crafters’ start from home, Samantha said there wasn’t much capital needed for the initial stage. As they grew, they collected earnings from sales to rent a small space in Damansara Uptown, which today hosts their Oatsome Bar.

In July, they celebrated its 1st anniversary. Some of their notable customers since starting up have been corporates like L’Oreal, Tropicana, Samsung and Shiseido.

However, customer acquisition remains a challenge as healthy eating is still considered a niche market in Malaysia, according to Samantha.

“This is due to the people here are always surrounded by over-loaded flavourful foods options such as curry laksa, ayam goreng, desserts and sweetened beverages. Many people might find that this is ‘too healthy’ and ‘bland’ to have oatmeal and quinoa bowl in their daily diet,” she said.

Despite that, their current customers have responded positively to Wise Crafters’ products and service, and Wise Crafters plans to expand their clientele by setting up 3 more pick-up points within the Klang Valley by the year 2020.

They also want to add convenient muesli packs and organic superfoods to their menu, conduct healthy eating workshops and start an online video channel.

  • Wise Crafters Oatsome Bar is located at 48G, JALAN SS21/39, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia.
  • You can find out more about Wise Crafters here.

Featured Image Credit: Wise Crafters

 

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