KUALA TERENGGANU: Housewife Chia Siew Hoon has come up with an innovative way to promote her homemade mooncakes.
Siew Hoon, 56, took advantage of the various social media network applications, like WhatsApp and Facebook, to boost her marketing and sales under the ‘Pastry Mama’ brand.
What started off as a hobby to kill her boredom is proving to be an enterprising online business for the mother of three during the ongoing mooncake festival (also known as the lantern festival).
“I began trying my hand at making Shanghai mooncakes ten years ago to celebrate the seasonal lantern festival.
“Initially, it was just for family and relatives.
“But I discovered my mooncakes were being sought after by friends as well, as they considered them tasty and of good quality,” said Siew Hoon, who hails from Pulau Ketam in Klang, Selangor.
Soon, demand was increasing and she sought the help of two of her daughters – Wong Hwee Lyn, 31, and Wong Hwee Ting, 25 – to assist in preparing the dough, ingredients and baking the cakes in conventional ovens.
“It has somewhat now turned into a cottage industry and helps to supplement my family’s income,” said Siew Hoon, who musters brisk sales of 1,000 cakes a month.
Siew Hoon is the wife of Terengganu Buddhist Association president Wong Choon Kheng, who runs his own Winsley Hardware Trading paint shop in Kampung Terbauk, Jalan Sultan Mizan, Bukit Tunggal.
With the assistance of Hwee Lyn and Hwee Ting, Wong, 61, has become an established trader for three decades selling famous Japanese and Dutch paints, its accessories and hardware for homes, factories, hotels, offices and commercial purposes.
The couple also have another daughter, Wong Hwee Yean, 33, who is a music and kindergarten teacher.
She also takes orders for functions and events, while some traders in Kuala Terengganu make bulk purchases for the mooncakes to be sold at shops and markets.
To boost sales, Siew Hoon has managed to pack the square and round-shape mooncakes in attractive boxes for two, six or 12 pieces which make perfect gifts.
They are sold from RM12 a piece onwards, depending on the size, quantity, quality and contents of ingreadients.
“The most favoured ones are with salted egg yoke, while other popular types are with pastes of lotus seed, red beans and tea,” she said.
Siew Hoon is now also making egg and durian tarts to further supplement her income.
Her cottage industry is slowly but surely developing as an enterprising online business for her customers, not only in Terengganu but nationwide.
The mooncake or lantern festival is also known as the mid-autumn harvest festival celebrated by the Chinese on the fifth day of the eighth month of the3 lunar calendar from late September to early October.