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Growing up, Shane Khaw’s father, who has a background in biochemistry engineering, was often the chef of the family, frequently plating up lunches and dinners. For the longest time, he had baking as a hobby.

“During Chinese New Year, for example, he would bake his very own pineapple tarts in a flowery shape and keep them in a jar for visitors to eat,” Shane proudly shared. “There was a time when his cravings would take over him and he would have to bake a random cake every week for the entire month!”

While baking his assortment of pastries, Shane’s dad would frequently ask him whether he thought the pastries could sell.

“And after years of hearing the same question, I finally had enough and decided you know what? Let’s do this,” he said.

Image Credit: The Baking Chemist

Given his father’s background in chemistry and his passion for baking, they decided to call it The Baking Chemist.

Together, Shane and his father launched The Baking Chemist in January 2024.  

Cooking it up with cookies

Right now, The Baking Chemist is primarily focused on offering cookies. Specifically, English-style scorched butter cookies.

Compared to the more conventional butter cookies, these are less starchy.

Flavours include Original, Butter Coconut, and Choc Chip. Prices range from RM32 to RM35. Customers can opt to buy a larger box that features all three flavours at RM60.

There’s also a unique “The Cookie Blind Box” product (RM45) that features exclusive flavours such as Original, Matcha, Early Grey, Coffee, Lemon, and Mystery. Purchasers of this will get two random flavours.

Image Credit: The Baking Chemist

According to Shane, their scorched butter cookies involve a strenuous process of browning French butter, enriching the intensity of the flavour and creating a nutty aroma.

In any case, the older Khaw seems to have the baking process down pat. What about their entrepreneurial chops, though?

Shane revealed that his father actually has had experience starting and growing his business before. He has also managed a couple of factories in the past, which has helped in optimising the baking process effectively.

The duo is occasionally joined by Shane’s mom as well, who would help with packing the cookies.

Image Credit: The Baking Chemist

“As for me, I wanted to be something more, expanding my skillsets and experience in an entrepreneurial way,” Shane said.

When The Baking Chemist initially started, he was still working a job in digital marketing. While his father focused on baking, he would be the one handling the social media and receiving customer orders.

For their social media content, Shane is aided by his partner.

“Since she does digital content planning for a living, I was able to learn a lot more about managing the social media content and especially shooting to create content,” he explained.

Now 25 years old, Shane himself boasts a business degree from Monash Malaysia. After graduating, he picked up a job in digital marketing but has since seized the opportunity to venture into The Baking Chemist full-time.

Slow and steady

With a minimal budget to work with, The Baking Chemist is rather small for now.

Image Credit: The Baking Chemist

“Starting the business we had little to no funds except for a few hundred from our pockets that were invested into the packaging,” Shane elaborated. “Once we had things going, we set aside some money to reinvest back into the business to keep things running as well.”

For now, the operations of the business are home-based, as they have yet to hit a ceiling on the production capacity.

Since the inception of the brand, the father-son duo has sold more than 250 boxes. Their biggest order was from a digital media agency for the purpose of corporate gifting, involving 120 boxes of pineapple tarts for Chinese New Year.

Image Credit: The Baking Chemist

The bootstrapped business has even shipped their products to customers in Sarawak.

With this promising start, Shane revealed that they do have plans lined up for The Baking Chemist going forward, specifically involving a wider range of new products. But the duo has chosen to keep mum about this for now.

A family that bakes together

So far, the biggest challenge for The Baking Chemist has been keeping up with the quality.

“We try our best to make sure every cookie leaves a good first impression on people’s taste buds,” Shane said.

Of course, not everything can be perfect as taste is a very subjective thing. Still, the father-son duo aims to offer the best products they can, since their proudest moments come from raving reviews.

Image Credit: The Baking Chemist

Running a business with family isn’t always easy, though. But to Shane, the experience has been quite positive.

“Honestly, it has been fun especially once you understand each other,” he said. “Disagreements would turn into discussions with logical arguments that spearhead decisions moving forward. We naturally draw a line between family and work which I think would be a positive vibe to have.”

It’s inspiring to see Shane taking the initiative to share his father’s talents and bakes with the rest of the world.

Whether they end up keeping The Baking Chemist small or scale it to something bigger, the baker finally has his answer—yes, his pastries can indeed sell.

  • Learn more about The Baking Chemist here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about Malaysian startups here.

Featured Image Credit: The Baking Chemist

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