The Mid-Autumn Festival typically falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese lunar calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar. This year, it falls on October 1.
Marking the end of the autumn harvest, the Mid-Autumn Festival is traditionally a time to give thanks to the gods.
It is also the time of year when the moon is at its brightest, which is why lunar legends have always been attached to the celebration.
This is also the reason why mooncakes are the main highlight of the festival, which is a symbol of reunion and happiness.
Today, you’ll find mooncakes in many varieties, from traditional flavours with lotus seed paste and egg yolk, to snowskin versions filled with everything from chocolate to champagne truffle.
For homegrown brand Golden Moments, it pioneered durian mooncake in Singapore.
From Three To One Founder
Established in 2017, Golden Moments was founded by three friends — Josiah Jeremy, Leon Chan and Samuel Ow.
However due to a “conflict in business perspectives”, the latter two co-founders have sold their shares and decided to part ways.
Leon in particular, has went ahead to start up his own durian mooncake brand called Chng Kae.
In an interview with Vulcan Post, founder Josiah shared that it was “disheartening” to see his business partner turning into his competitor, though he stressed that they are still good friends.
There are always ups and downs in the corporate world and the differences in business perspectives led to the split.
Competition is inevitable and (even) if Chng Kae (was not) our competitor, it would probably be someone else. Nevertheless, we take this as a learning experience and wish him all the best in running his new brand.Josiah Jeremy, co-founder of Golden Moments
He added that since the founding team started out as a group of friends, boundaries often got blurred and disputes occured.
They had to lay out proper and clear SOPs and business frameworks for corporate governance to help them build a strong foundation for growth and sustainability.
Customers Are Valuable And Deserve ‘Gold’
Recounting the early days, he shared that Golden Moments was simply built upon the idea of bringing together families and loved ones through the love of durians.
That was also how their brand name came about: they wanted to advocate the brand essence of “treasuring ‘golden moments’ and celebrating relationships.”
At its core, Golden Moments aims to serve customers with the best durian experience.
“We value our customers because they deserve the best and deserve gold,” said Josiah.
This gold that he refers to comes in the form of the golden yellow flesh from the King of Fruit. In fact, all the Mao Shan Wang durians that they use in their mooncakes are of “unparalleled AAA grade”.
We work closely with our durian plantation partner in Malaysia so that we can source the best durians. Ultimately, we can guarantee that every bite of our mooncakes is pure durian luxury of the finest quality.Josiah Jeremy, co-founder of Golden Moments
Most Expensive Mooncake In S’pore
With such high quality, it’s no surprise why Golden Moments charge such high prices for their mooncakes.
The price of Golden Moments mooncakes start from S$88.80 for a box of four.
This year, it partnered homegrown goldsmith jewellery brand SK Jewellery to launch a limited edition 24K Truffle Mao Shan Wang snowskin mooncake that costs a whopping $888.
Each set comes with a 24K gold bar, which serves as an impressive gift for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
According to their marketing research, this limited edition set is indeed the “most expensive mooncake in Singapore and probably in Asia.”
While Golden Moments specialise in durian mooncakes, it never failed to innovate and have come up with new, unique flavours such as Docello Hazelnut Chocolate Mao Shan Wang and Lychee Martini.
For these new flavours, Golden Moments conducted surveys and market research to find out what “excites the palates of Singaporeans”.
They then spent eight months of intensive R&D to get the recipe right and manufacture it.
As a relatively new startup, innovation is wired into our DNA and we aim to be vibrant and trendy. Also, the food industry in Singapore is extremely fast-paced with consumers having short attention span.
Hence, we seek to constantly innovate to produce artisanal durian treats that aren’t fad foods, but constant craves.Josiah Jeremy, co-founder of Golden Moments
It’s clear that they are always pushing creative boundaries in their pursuit to produce the best product and customer experience.
Josiah added he envisions Golden Moments as the “next durian revolution”.
“We are constantly at the forefront of product innovation, and aim to set the benchmark of creative and high-quality durian treats.”
Besides mooncake, some of their other durian offerings include Mao Shan Wang durian puffs, dehusked Mao Shan Wang durians, Mao Shan Wang ice cream and Mao Shan Wang macaron.
S$1.5M Sales Revenue In A Month
Golden Moments’ initial funding amount is a six-figure digit, and it took them only three months to break even.
Since its inception, their sales revenue has tripled over just three years.
The COVID-19 crisis does not seem to be posing a threat to its business, although Mid-Autumn Festivals have had to take a backseat and forced to move online.
In previous years, we had 20 to 30 booths, but now we have a mere five and (have had to) pivot to focus on online sales strategies.
However, the positive spin on this is that our operating costs have been greatly reduced so we see a higher profit margin. We (have also) collaborated with many partners, and this has bolstered our overall sales to be higher than last year’s.Josiah Jeremy, co-founder of Golden Moments
That said, being an online-only brand with a strong social media presence have helped them thrive during this pandemic as they don’t have to bear the sunk costs of retail outlets.
During the circuit breaker period, they pivoted their operations to provide same-day delivery within three hours, and had an average of 300 to 400 deliveries per day.
At its peak, they had 600 deliveries per day.
For this year’s mooncake launch, they have hit a sales revenue of S$1.5 million in just a month.
“This puts us on track to hit our sales target of S$3 million revenue for the Mid-Autumn Festival season,” said Josiah.
Growing The Business
According to Josiah, the biggest business challenge for him is bringing Golden Moments to greater heights — and this “requires the right people with the right ambition and vision.”
With the fallout of his fellow co-founders, Josiah has had to do a company reorganisation at the start of the year to reset the working culture and foundation of the company.
Initially, I overtook all aspects of the business from marketing to production, logistics and operations, customer service, inventory and business development.
I personally conducted over 70 interviews with 10 interviews a day consecutively for a week to hire the right people for the team. It was very taxing and I felt burnt out.Josiah Jeremy, co-founder of Golden Moments
His saving grace was his faith in God and his mentor Ivan Lee, who is also the founder of the Thai Express group of restaurants.
“Thanks to his guidance, I managed to stay positive and pull through this difficult time. We managed to streamline and improve the business, increasing daily revenue from four-digit to six-digit sales,” he said.
Besides being his mentor, Ivan is also his investor. Back in August 2018, Golden Moments secured a S$1 million seed funding from him.
With the then-fresh funding, Golden Moments planned to expand to Indonesia, Thailand, China and Hong Kong following the rising demand from these markets.
When asked about the current status on these expansion plans, Josiah said that they have already executed the plans but have had to put them on hold due to the pandemic.
Likewise, other “exciting plans” in the pipeline have also had to come to a standstill, but he hopes to resume them once the COVID-19 situation improves.
Featured Image Credit: Golden Moments