Batrisyia Selamat and Badzlena Selamat came up with MeeMaw Bakes, a home-based baking business inspired by the comfort and love of a grandmother’s recipe.
According to the sisters, the term “MeeMaw ” affectionately means grandmother in some cultures, an idea that both sisters are trying to convey in the motto and purpose of the business as it surrounds the idea of baking with lots of love and care for loved ones.
The business first began as a hobby for the 20-year-olds during the second wave of the pandemic to satisfy their weekly dessert cravings.
However, during the pandemic, it was rather hard and costly to routinely purchase desserts and not to mention being isolated at home can be depressing.
So they thought why not try something new to occupy their time and what better way to spend that time is trying baking on their own.
“As of our business journey, we started off with routinely baking at home for fun and sharing our bakes with our family. We received a lot of positive feedback and encouragement to the possibility of selling the bakes,” said Batrisyia.
The sisters took their positive nudges into consideration lightly and started to post photos of their bakes on their personal Instagram accounts with the purpose of documenting and sharing their baking journey.
This then caught the attention of their friends and they began to bake care packages for friends to enjoy during their isolation.
To their surprise, they received more good responses and encouragement to actually start their baking business.
“With zero experience and limited knowledge in business, it was daunting for us to even start one. But with our family and close friends’ support and encouragement, we decided to give it a go,” said the 24-year-old.
MeeMaw Bakes is currently selling Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies, Banana Bread and Chocolate Banana muffins on their menu.
The duo’s love for local-made bakes has inspired them to try out baking at home for the purpose of creating their own version of their favourite bakes, that being the cookies and banana bread.
“Our best seller would be our “Chimmy Box” which is a mix box we curated to incorporate both banana bread and chocolate hazelnut cookies, the best of both worlds we’d say, and equally loved by our customers,” said the home baker.
The prices for MeeMaw Bakes range from $9 to $21 for personal orders whilst pop-up prices are between $1.60 to $5.
There are plenty of good businesses out here in Brunei nowadays having their own flair and authenticity but that does not stop the two siblings from thriving in the small entrepreneur community.
Batrisyia and her sister have put their own personalities into creating MeeMaw bakes, especially with the design feed and illustrations on their Instagram account, which stems from their own ideas.
MeeMaw Bakes has its own mascot or main character created by the two to represent their business called “Chimmy”.
“Chimmy is the face of MeeMaw Bakes where Chimmy would be involved in announcing updates on our account. Creating Chimmy has also made our inner child dreams come to life, as it represents a friendly character that we’d pictured to have around when we were kids,” said the youth.
The business is currently operating both online and occasionally joins pop-up sales and they usually notify their customers through their Instagram @meemawbakes whenever their weekly pre-orders are open or if there is an upcoming pop-up sale.
Along the way of their business journey, they have experienced a fair share of lessons to learn such as buying ingredients can at times be an issue.
Some local stores may have little to no stock of their ingredients or packaging so they would have to search for quite some time to even drive long distances to find their stock.
However, the sisters acknowledge that the experiences shaped them to be more prepared for difficult or unwanted situations and enabled them to act one step ahead.
“We would say that even in these inconveniences, there is always a silver lining to it, sometimes when finding our stock we would stumble upon new stores to actually purchase ingredients or packaging. Everything is always a valuable lesson to learn,” said the older sister.
All in all, the two youthpreneurs are considering expanding their menu in the long run but as of now, they are still experimenting on these potential bakes.
The owners of MeeMaw Bakes will continue to thrive in the baking business community as they put trust in themselves and believe with each other’s support, they can jump through any hurdles that come at them.
Keep a lookout for any pop-ups that MeeMaw Bakes might join in the future by visiting them on Instagram @meemawbakes and in the meantime, order some bakes made with love.
This article was first published on 09 July 2022 in our Weekly Epaper issue 201 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN