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22Y/O M’sian student starts a healthy mooncake biz, sells out 650 gift sets in 3 weeks

Social media and e-commerce have made it effortless for any Tom, Dick, and Harry to start a business from their homes, and even those with little experience can pick up the basic skills easily.

One such entrepreneur is Lynnneve, a 22-year-old business student majoring in marketing. Along with her partner Scott, they launched lunárr this August to leverage the Mid-Autumn Festival with less conventional bird’s nest mooncakes.

Inspired by modern gifting, lunárr’s Colla-Crystal Mooncake Giftbox is priced at RM128, and the brand has sold out its 650 sets within 3 weeks.

If mooncakes could be healthier

To Lynnneve, traditional mooncakes are aplenty and can be quite unhealthy to consume. She’s not wrong in saying so, as a lotus seed paste mooncake contains 716 calories, and the addition of one salted egg yolk makes it 790 calories while two bring it to 890 calories, based on general calculations.

While data on the calorie count of jelly mooncakes are inconclusive, it’s safe to say that it doesn’t require any oil to make, which can be a culprit of high cholesterol due to its saturated fats.

lunárr’s mooncakes also boast healthy ingredients like bird’s nest. According to traditional Chinese medicine practice, it is said to promote immunity, used to clear phlegm, ease chronic dry coughs, and relieve fatigue.

They look almost like crystals / Image Credit: lunárr

The idea to create a bird’s nest jelly mooncake came to Lynnneve upon realising that she could make a healthier option in a way that stood out. Her Colla-Crystal Mooncakes contain peach gum, bird’s nest, and longan. Roselle and osmanthus are added as natural colourants. 

“I care about health a lot, so I think it would be great if I can provide a mooncake with these ingredients not only for good presentation but also to make people feel healthy when they are consuming mooncakes,” Lynnneve shared.

The due date is the do date

Making the product is a laborious task, where the bird’s nest is soaked one day before the mooncake’s construction can begin. It will then be laid as the first layer in a jelly mould and stuffed inside longans. 

Peach gum, dried longan, and pandan leaves are boiled with jelly powder as a base, which is then separated into 2 pots to add roselle for a natural purple and osmanthus for gold.

The process of making the jelly layers can be time consuming / Image Credit: lunárr

The solution is poured into the jelly moulds one layer at a time, in between waiting for each layer to chill and harden. It’s a meticulous process, made even more challenging as jelly-based mooncakes have a short shelf life by nature.

lunárr could not produce them in large quantities, ​​and Lynnneve told Vulcan Post that making her crystal mooncakes can only happen the night before their dispatch.

“So we can only make it during midnight to early mornings for our next-day deliveries. This is time-consuming and tiring at the same time as we lack manpower,” she shared. “The max we made was 140 boxes (6 pieces per box) in a day and we had to do it in 5 batches.”

A gift of health

Competition-wise, lunárr isn’t exactly in a blue ocean when it comes to healthy mooncakes. Looking at Clean Eating Grocer’s wellness offerings and Teatime_byThien’s Flower Series Jelly Mooncakes listed in our piece on unique mooncakes, these players tend to use similar ingredients as well such as osmanthus and peach gum.

Of course, bird’s nest mooncakes are in itself a rarity, and Lynnneve isn’t just relying on lunárr’s health slant to stand out. Customers could certainly buy her mooncakes for self-consumption, but she’s aiming to target the gifting market. Therefore, she ensures that her mooncakes look presentable, reflected in her product photography on Instagram.

lunárr’s chosen branding of crystal mooncakes also comes off as more premium, in line with Lynnneve’s main goal to position her brand as a modern gift. 

A handwritten note added to the gift / Image Credit: lunárr

Each Colla-Crystal Mooncake Giftbox came with 6 pieces of bird’s nest mooncakes and a handwritten card sealed in an envelope, and had free deliveries. As mentioned earlier though, these were all sold out quickly, with Lynnneve crediting the success to her product differentiation.

Since this venture was meant to only leverage the current season, Lynnneve won’t be reopening orders for her mooncakes. lunárr will also halt operations once the Mid-Autumn Festival is over, as she’s aware that mooncakes will not sell otherwise. 

However, the brand itself will still remain on Instagram, as Lynnneve does plan on creating a different gift set for a different season, and her eyes are set on this year’s Christmas. In the meantime, she will be focusing her efforts on her other startup, TalkCrab, a seafood delivery service that was launched in 2020 with Scott as well.

  • You can learn more about lunárr here.
  • You can read about more Malaysian F&B brands we’ve covered here.

Featured Image Credit: Lynnneve, co-founder of lunárr

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