Two students' online business, which had a humble beginning as a stall on their campus last year, has grown to become a six-figure business
Speaking to Bernama, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK) graduate Wan Azehan Helmi Wan Abdul Halim said he and his partner – final year student Jibril Mohd Nasir – ventured into selling oden paste after being inspired by a well-known Japanese convenience store franchise.
24-year-old Wan Azehan told reporters of their humble beginnings when met at their King Oden shop in Kota Bharu.
The duo began their business in early 2020 on their campus, selling oden to fellow students.
They used to sell oden — a Japanese one-pot dish — using their self-prepared recipes for the broth and served with fish balls, crabmeat, sausages, and more at a stall on their university's campus.
"At present, we have 500 agents nationwide, and there is demand for the paste from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia," Wan Azehan said
He added that the idea to expand their business emerged when their oden stall on campus became a crowd favourite among UMK students.
However, the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic last year had caused a sharp drop of students on campus. Hence, they started selling the oden paste online in April 2020.
"Our online strategy using Facebook and Instagram paid off when we were able to get about RM500 in sales in a month at that time as we were only processing the oden paste manually without a machine at home," Wan Azehan explained.
The business partners used several marketing and sales techniques, which also included hiring around 10 UMK students as product agents. This move indirectly cultivated a side income for those students involved.
Currently, the business boasts 500 agents around the country.
Wan Azehan and Imer Jibril are now owners of a processing plant in Bachok, Kelantan
The processing plant started operating in March 2021.
"To meet customers' demand, we are also able to produce and market 30,000 to 40,000 packs of oden paste a month," Wan Azehan added.
He explained that there are three flavours of the oden paste to choose from, namely natural, spicy, and asam laksa.
Each pack is sold for RM10 and has a shelf life of up to eight months.
The business graduate mentioned that their target is for sales to reach RM1 million by the end of 2021.
"We hope our success will inspire more people to venture into business," he said.