Age-old recipe for success

Rizal Faisal

An increasing number of young adults are diving into entrepreneurship amid the job market’s heightened competitiveness.

The key is to stand out amongst the sea of new entrepreneurs offering a slew of products; and one pair of siblings – 26-year-old Rabiatul Nadhirah and 20-year-old Aqilah Balqis – understands just that.

It all began with their grandmother, who wanted to pass down a family recipe for penyaram to her children. The offer was declined at first because they were not confident they could do it justice, on top of holding full-time jobs while raising children.

However, upon repeated requests, they caved and learned the age-old way of making the traditional kueh.

Now that the sisters have inherited the recipe, not only have they successfully replicated their grandmother’s penyaram, they have attracted a horde of loyal customers who can’t get enough of what they affectionately called ‘mini penyaram’.

Yan Matahari founders Rabiatul Nadhirah and Aqilah Balqis showcases their best-selling traditional cakes: PHOTO: RIZAL FAISAL

With limited opportunity to go to college, Aqilah decided to start a business with her older sister Rabiatul, who was at the time working in the private sector.

With no culinary or business experience, they decided to take it slow and steady, offering favourite fares, such as shepherd’s pie, begedil daging, baked potatoes and mini chicken pie.

They would send freshly prepared food items to convenience stores that allowed them to display ready-made meals for a fee.

A few months into the venture, their mother dusted off the family recipe for penyaram and shared it with them.

The sisters also took advantage of the advent of social media to increase exposure of their business, Yan Matahari.

It’s been four years since they dived into entrepreneurship. To them, the success they are enjoying today can be attributed to the hard work, commitment, sacrifice, perseverance and most important, support from their parents.

“If it wasn’t for our parents’ support, both emotionally and financially, it would have been an even more challenging business venture,” the sisters said. “They were there when we almost gave up on our dream.”

One of the important lessons they have learnt in their journey is to keep an open mind.

“In order to improve ourselves, we have to accept both positive and negative feedbacks,” they said.

They added, “We are honoured to have inherited a recipe from our grandmother, who learned it from her mother, and share it with our customers.”