Did you know that cupcakes first appeared as far back as 1796 with simple ingredients of flour, sugar, eggs and butter? Today, these wonderfully light and adorable-looking cakes are made with unique and wondrous ingredients that has only fuelled further the cupcake frenzy all over the world! One particular cupcake joint responsible for the worldly mania is wondrous Wondermilk.
Wondermilk first made its debut in the humble home kitchens of its founders before moving to its first hippy shophouse outlet at Uptown Damansara, Malaysia. More than just pretty-looking cupcakes, Wondermilk certainly does not disappoint with its amazing flavours of Signature Foxy Red Velvet, Salted Caramella, Choc Marshmallow Surprise and John Lemon. The bakers at Wondermilk also gives a twist to its local flavours of Pandan Gula Melaka, Gula Hangus and Apam Balik. Its base cake is baked to perfection – chewy, fluffy and moist with flavour on the inside and crisp with the right firmness on the outside. The bare frosting – decorated, sprinkled and topped with its finishing ingredients – is light and creamy. Anyone who have tried Wondermilk cupcakes would know what we’re talking about.
With a flair in creativity and innovation in design and baking, Wondermilk remains a popular choice for a good cupcake fix among Malaysians and Singaporeans.
The six close friends who brought Wondermilk to its feet shares their story behind its successful cupcake business, right from its humble beginnings.
Nothing Like an Adventure
From the pits of boredom and restlessness they were struck with right after graduation, the six founders rose to find themselves with an opportunity; a proposition that was simply hard to resist.
Ifzan Ibrahim, Nurhadzlena and Haliza Halim were graphic designers. Newly-graduated, wide-eyed and eager at the world that awaited them, the trio grabbed whatever graphic design opportunities presented upon them. However, their thirst to learn and gain experience were dampened when they quickly understood the harsh reality of the industry. Clients only wanted designs they found appropriate for their brief. New ideas were often shoved aside. Even when assignments were complete, fees due were paid only after 60 days of work. No doubt, freelance designing was tough.
The rest of the three founders, Fatin Sabrina and sisters Dzurina Dzulkhaini and Dzuriati Dzulkhaini graduated about the same time. Finding their feet in their respective fields of finance, business and accounting, they too grew bored with industry’s expectations.
Luckily for Dzuriati, she was already an avid and devoted baker who worked tirelessly at perfecting and producing scrumptious cupcakes in her mom’s kitchen. With a string of strong blog followers who ordered her cupcakes for birthdays and other celebrations, Dzuriati was the sought-after baker for delicious and freshly-baked goods. It certainly did not take long before her cakes grew in demand and popularity.
Swamped with orders particularly during the festive seasons, Dzuriati soon felt the strain and stress. Unable to cope with the logistics, Dzuriati quickly roped in her five friends. “Just this once”, Dzuriati used to say. With all hands on deck, the six shuffled between baking, logistics, delivery and managing supply of ingredients. Profits made were little but all six were happy with their efforts.
Word about the cupcakes quickly spread. What turned out to be an occasional demand for cupcakes was clearly gaining the appeal of the masses throughout the year. Even the oven broke down several times due to the high demand.
Not a Smooth Operation
By then, Dzuriati’s cupcake proved to be a beacon of success despite her “dysfunctional” team that held no specific roles for each of the friends. “Needless to say, we were running the business like a headless chicken!”
The business further propelled the six friends to think seriously about the proposition to grow the business. “With our background in graphic design and the girls’ baking talents, it was a grand opportunity,” said an excitable Ifzan.
With combined savings and soft loans from family, the six founders rented a small space in Uptown Damansara. There, they decided to pursue Wondermilk on a full-time basis. The space was small and bare but they made do with it. From developing the concept of Wondermilk to designing, baking and delivery of cupcakes, the team of six handled everything.
“The days were filled with a lot of hard work, patience and multitasking.” Essentially, these traits were the defining features that were hallmark to Wondermilk’s success.
Have Fun While You’re at It
Sure there have been many hiccups along the road but the Wondermilk team said taking all in stride with a mentality of creativity and fun amidst the seriousness of the business was an essential part of growth. To illustrate this, Wondermilk pointed an example.
All along, Wondermilk was a bootstrapped project. With a limited working capital, Wondermilk could not afford sufficient tables and chairs for its café since the majority of the funds were pumped into purchasing kitchen equipment and machineries. Old furniture belonging to their family that laid vacant and unused in the attic were finally given a new lease of life when Wondermilk adopted them for the store. Today, the antique furniture that has indeed given Wondermilk an elegant and timeless edge are loved by patrons.
Perhaps one aspect of growing pains which Wondermilk continues to be challenged with is discovering flavours “right” for the market. As the team mentioned, what the founders like may not always be what Wondermilk should produce especially if the flavours does not “fit” the market’s tastebuds. Several months of testing the market has gone wasted when flavours like Chocolate Orange and Lychee Rose grew cold on the shelves. Safe flavours like Vanilla, Chocolate, Red Velvet and Orea though continues to remain to be favourites among the cupcake eaters.
Despite the minor challenges, Wondermilk has strived over the years since its inception in 2000. Today, Wondermilk has three other branches. The team is also involved in the running of two of its other businesses – Hello Deer, a colourful Scandinavian-themed whimsical gift store with some of its home and living products specifically designed by the team. Its latest addition of eatery is Rimba & Rusa, a restaurant that serves delectable Western gourmet fare.
Business expansion also meant delivery of baked cookies and cake loafs to its neighbouring country of Singapore where Wondermilk has always wanted to cater to Singapore’s Halal market.
Wondermilk Muslims founders have maintained that all ingredients used are not only fresh but sourced only from Halal sources. Their Jakim certification might still be in the application process but the Wondermilk team assures they will continue to surprise the market with its flavourful and wondrous cupcakes.
No 41 Ground Floor
Jalan SS 21/1A
47400 Petaling Jaya
SelangorTel: 03-7725 8930
Fax: 03-7728 9931
Shop Hours: 9AM – 10PM
Lot G-48 Ground Floor
Citta Mall Jalan PJU 1A/48
47301 Petaling Jaya
SelangorTel: 03-7831 7296
Fax: 03-7831 7297
Shop Hours: 10AM – 10PM
IOI City Mall
G-77 Ground Floor
IOI City Mall
SelangorTel: 03-8957 7645
Fax: 03-8959 7645
Shop Hours: 10AM – 10PM
7A & 8A Level G2 Ground Floor
Publika Shopping Gallery
Jalan Dutamas 1
50480 Kuala LumpurTel: 03-6211 1092
Fax: 03-6211 1092
Shop Hours: 10AM – 10PM