When the salted egg yolk became a phenomenon many f&b owners introduced new menus such as salted egg yolk spaghetti, salted egg yolk croissant, salted egg yolk chicken to name a few. This genius guy, Ivan Lim came out with a brilliant idea to introduce salted egg yolk crisps. Have you heard about it? Let’s hear his story
1. There were no major players in Kuala Lumpur
For Ivan Lim, he realised there were no major players in Kuala Lumpur. Hence, he thought why not try to enter the market? That’s exactly what happened to Ivan Lim when he decided to co-found his gourmet snack brand Hou Sek a year ago along with his co-founder Su.
Another reason why he wanted to start his own gourmet snack was the exorbitant price tag from other sellers in the market. The treats range in price from RM 40 to RM 50 for one or two packets. He was thinking of how to provide a cheaper alternative for the mass market.
2. Ideally, he was doing it for fun
As a Gen-Y who is still young, Lim said that he initially did it only for fun. But who knows from a side hobby, it turned out to be a source of income that ballooned 10-fold in profits.
Ivan shared that when he first started the business, he was targeting to maybe sell 100 packets a month and it would be quite an achievement to have an extra RM 500 monthly allowance. He never thought that Hou Sek will become a major player in the market.
3. Surprisingly, they hit five figures in just a week!
Funny thing was, in just a week, Hou Sek hit five figures. The response was very good and perhaps the execution was done right. It came as a surprise when they ended up making RM 50,000 within three months of business.
According to Ivan, they spent an intense period of research and taste-testing to develop the recipes for the snacks. He together with the co-founder went on to try out every single salted egg-flavoured snack in the market and tried to create something better.
4. They received 500 packets orders but something happened out of sudden…
Within the first week of starting out, Hou Sek was blessed with 500 packets orders. Unfortunately, they faced a problem. Their suppliers couldn’t supply them with the ingredients. So, they used a replacement and prepped at least 100 packers but it didn’t taste as good.
As a good entrepreneur, they never sold those 100 packers and being honest with the customers. For Ivan, quality is important. It was a blessing in disguise as the customers willing to wait and the request was increased since then.
5. Selling snacks is not his only side hustle
Ivan is now a full-time digital product specialist with a bank in the city centre. His average day begins as he starts work at 9 AM and returns home around 9 PM to 10 PM. Then, he sits down to plan his business. Besides having a permanent job, he is also a tutor.
It was often a struggle to run his business alongside his other endeavours. But he has no intention of stopping until he achieves his personal goals – which is to make Hou Sek on par with other global competitors in the market.
6. Hou Sek has received an offer to set up shop in Sarawak
After a year running the business, Hou Sek is expanding positively. Recently, they received an offer to set up a shop in Sarawak. Ivan is also looking into selling his gourmet snacks at high-end Singaporean outlets as well.
The snacks are using Halal certified ingredients, but to tackle the halal market, they are in the midst of getting halal certification. He emphasised that the kitchen based in Bangsar is 100% pork-free.
Hou Sek has three products available both online and in supermarkets in the region: the Golden Salted Egg Fish Skin (125g/RM22), Golden Salted Egg Potato Chips (125g/RM20) and Crispy Original Fish Skin (60g/RM9). The products can be purchased via their website and offline through pop-up stores and partnerships with a number of vendors around the Klang Valley.