As a video producer in TV and advertising, Khris developed an instinct to create things that people craved, and when she left her job, this gave her the confidence to start a business with her partner, Raph. Together, they launched Halo Doughnut.
“This whole project has actually been in the making for almost 2 years. We took a doughnut-making class together in 2018, but work always got in the way and our dough wasn’t great,” Raph told Vulcan Post.
“Things clicked for the first time after Khris took that class again in January 2020, and we sold our first doughnut on March 28, 2020.”
Before starting Halo Doughnut from her mother’s home kitchen, the entrepreneur had quit her job just 2 days before the MCO was announced due to the toxic work environment.
Well aware of the effects the pandemic would bring, Khris merely assumed that she’d have no trouble finding a new job. In the meantime, she kept herself busy by baking and posting pictures of her creations online which were then sent to friends who thought they were delicious.
“Friends of friends wanted some too, so Khris started selling them and more people kept coming,” shared Raph.
The birth of Halo Doughnut was coupled with Raph’s knowledge in the startup scene. The two foodies had been dancing around the idea of starting an F&B business together for the longest time. After crunching some numbers, they eventually decided to advance Khris’s skills into a business, spending RM25K as startup capital that came from Raph’s savings.
Taking the next step
Perhaps all that investment was worth it, as Halo Doughnut’s business grew faster than they’d hoped. Raph credits this to Khris’s creativity, and what he thinks are the best doughnuts he’s come across; he’s never liked doughnuts or desserts before this.
While Khris was able to hone her skills in baking, her knowledge of bookkeeping and math wasn’t on par. “She was undercharging people by 25% on average and was mixing orders up,” Raph chuckled.
“My nerd power came to the rescue here and I built a Halo-tailored POS for her which we still use to this day.” And that’s why Raph prides himself on handling all things nerdy for Halo Doughnut, from accounting to IT services and email interviews, he joked.
Khris’s experience in the media industry also guided her in the business’s social media presence, which worked in their favour especially in the beginning. Raph also made sure to point out that the whole “support local” movement played its part in helping them attract customers too.
Having to manage a menu of 50 flavours that changes every week, it took them a few weeks to get into a rhythm of handling larger volume orders. The team also realised it was unsustainable to keep running Halo Doughnut from Khris’s mum’s kitchen if they wanted to scale.
Hence, they moved in as one of Cookhouse’s first tenants as soon as the cloud kitchen opened in June 2020. By using the proper equipment, they were able to make production times more predictable, where delivery orders would go out by 12.30PM daily.
Raph thinks that moving to a cloud kitchen was an invaluable stepping stone for the business, as they couldn’t afford their own storefront. However, the couple is looking to set up their own store in the future, but not until next year.
An outlet for creativity
While Raph prefers not to go into detail about Halo Doughnut’s revenue, he instead shared that they’ve sold about 17K doughnuts to date.
He proudly added that their business is bringing in enough money for the couple to keep going and be filled with optimism. Although, it’s not enough yet that they can afford for Khris—who wakes up at 5.30AM to make the doughnuts—to sleep in, or to have their own shop yet.
In spite of this, Khris can no longer go back to being an employee after dipping her feet into the world of creative freedom and having executive power in a company. “The hope is that this pay cut is just a short-lived speed bump,” they said.
This year, the couple will focus on expanding Halo Doughnut’s team and its reach so that Khris can take a step back from production. Once that’s achieved, Khris will be focusing more on the business’s R&D and social media content to grow the company into a food empire selling much more than doughnuts.
- You can learn more about Halo Doughnut here.
- You can read about more Malaysian startups we’ve covered here.
Featured Image Credit: Khris and Raph, co-founders of Halo Doughnut