On top of being a wife and a mother of three boys, 30-year-old Siti Nuraziemah binti Emran also juggles being the owner of a home-based food stall.
Siti Nuraziemah (Aziemah) is a graduate from the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) who earned a National Trade Certificate 2 in Professional Cookery and Services in 2012. She also had experience through work attachments at restaurants and trained in professional cooking. As soon as she graduated, she wanted to have her own food-related business.
Despite being aware of the challenges faced by many home-based entrepreneurs, Aziemah started her own business focussing on home-cooked meals – Aniraas Foodstall, knowing that the extra income will be beneficial to her family.
“I discussed with my parents and family members my plan,” she said.
“The response was overwhelming, as my parents told me to go ahead and do it, as at the end of the day, ‘You will be the one who is going to taste the satisfaction in what you believed’. In July 2019, my husband and I set up Aniraas Foodstall.”
“At the beginning, I was mentally and physically exhausted,” she said.
“Initially I thought the business would run smoothly but we faced many obstacles, like customers cancelling orders at the last minute.” Aziemah said there were also times when customers were not satisfied with the food and some copied what they were doing and offered cheaper prices. “These made me want to give up,” she said.
“However, for the sake of my children and the endless support by my husband, I decided against it.”
“I also sought for advice from my friends engaged in home-based stalls for years. I asked how they managed all those challenges and, more importantly, being persistent in what they were doing.
“I learnt a lot from them and I made plans to ensure that I was on the right track.”
Aziemah started to do promotions among family members and then slowly promoted in social media. “My husband also helped in marketing and encouraged me to improve my cooking. I also sent my food to retail and cube stores, as well as providing take-way and deliveries to our customers.
“Slowly I started to feel satisfied with what I achieved. I never thought that I might be where I am today in the beginning.”
Speaking on the current business climate, she said, “With the current situation of the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the Sultanate, our business has also been affected and is quite slow.
“However, we just take this situation as a challenge that requires us to work harder than before. I am offering several types of cuisine for our customers so that they have plenty of choices.
“In this month of Ramadhan, we also offer more than one type of food at affordable prices for our customers so that they can have their sungkai (breaking of fast) without the hassle to cook.”
Sharing advice for those who want to have their own business, she said, “We need to have strong minds and be able to face all challenges. “Having a business does not promise you a lot of money, but the satisfaction that comes with it will make you happy and keep on going. I dream to open up a restaurant, I will make it into a reality someday.”