February 11, 2015 Leave a comment

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Categories: Miscellaneous

Guess whos back?

November 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Its been awhile since the last update, hasn’t it?

The official reason is that we did not want to hamper the migration process of the blog to our newly minted official website http://www.merely.com.sg.

Given that the only time I get to use the PC (yup, old man here still prefers facing the dreaded BSOD rather than the spinning colour wheel) is often only after 1am, its a no brainer that I choose sleep over blogging.

Well well, now that the website is finally up and running, theres no excuse reason for me not to blog anymore. Besides the WordPress app is working like a charm on my new iphone5 *smug look*, so here I am typing this post on a cold
and wet Deepavali afternoon.

Speaking of the website, do spend some time reading it, especially the About and Products pages. The former spells out our beliefs that define our products while the latter features writeups on most of the flavours that we sell. Don’t worry, 9gag.com won’t run away if you stop reading it for 15 minutes.

If the some photos on the Products page looks ugly and amateurish, it indeed is. Consistent with our no-frills and miserly approach, all the photos there are taken by ourselves. Call it a labour of ugly love, if you will.

Alright, all these typing on the iphone is giving my thumbs cramps. Till the next time I blog then, I promise it won’t take longer than the previous hiatus.

Categories: Miscellaneous

Of Newspaper, Waffles and EURO2012

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

After three weeks as a full time ice cream man, I’m glad to say that all my fingers are still intact, neither harmed by stray knife cuts nor frostbitten.

The past three weeks had been pretty eventful. For a start, I got my ugly mug printed in a Business Times feature on young entrepreneurs. I received plenty of encouragement and some good natured ribbing from friends and ex-colleagues, but sadly no attention from the opposite sex yet. Putting that disappointment aside, friends have been suggesting that we plaster that newspaper article on our shop window as a way to publicize our brand. I’m a bit iffy on this one, but if it helps to get us noticed, I’m all for terrorizing passerbys with my ugly mugshot.

Last week also saw us finally launching our waffles after two months of intensive research. While Chief Craftsman’s role during the research phase was to tweak with the receipe until we find THE one, my role was much simpler and primitive. It simply involved opening my mouth and shoving truckload of waffles into it. As most of our waffles research take place mostly after 11pm once we have closed for the day, one can imagine the relief and elation that my tummy felt when we finally launched the waffles. Speaking of the waffle launch, we are currently running a promotion for the waffles, details can be found here.

Of course this period also see sixteen footballing powers (I am using the term loosely) from Europe battling  for bragging rights and also the right to possessing the gigantic gold plated water mug. After having to miss a good part of EURO 2008 and World Cup 2010 due to reservist training, I finally get a chance to catch the matches. One thing about being self-employed is I get to watch football matches in the wee hours without risking the wrath of my boss when he catches me nodding off the following day. Unfortunately while the mind is willing, the body clock often refuses to function at 2:45am as I often dozed off much to the aghast of my mum when she finds the television set still powered up the next morning.  If you are wondering what is the link betweenEURO2012 and the ice cream business, it is because WE ARE RUNNING A EURO2012 THEMED COMPETITION. Hope that caught your attention. Being the football crazy nuts (we named our holding company after the once popular football game Winning Eleven), we decided to roll out a contest that rewards customers who correctly predict the winner of the EURO2012. I won’t bore you with the mechanism of the contest, you can find out more here.

All right, I’m signing off.  Remember, when you feel stressed out, keep calm and eat ice cream.

First week as a full time ice cream man

June 4, 2012 2 comments

Update: Apparently Victor’s Kitchen isn’t closing down after all. They have pasted a notice saying that they will reopen on 20th June. Good news for all of us.

Here I am, on a Sunday night recapping the week that has gone by. It isn’t any other normal week where each day comprises of dragging myself to work, boot up the PC, thrash emails, ponder on what to have for lunch, go for an extended loo break and sneak in a game of Words with Friends or Draw Something while at it, wait for 6pm to arrive, mutter some expletives when I am still stuck at my desk at 8pm. It is the week where I finally leave the shirt and pants behind and fulfill my full time duties at Merely Ice Cream.

If anything, the fact that I get to wake up later, get a seat on the MRT and not getting shoved into someone else armpit already justify my decision to leave the corporate world and be my own paymaster. Always prone to random acts of stupidity, I have decided to celebrate the occasion by doing a tongue in cheek obituary poster and post it onto our facebook page. Thank goodness my mum only knows how to use facebook to ogle at pictures of my niece or else I would have gotten an earful from her.

I hope my presence in the shop didn’t put off any customers who were accustomed to seeing sweet young things behind the ice cream counter. Even if it did, the customers certainly hid it well! Jokes aside, being finally able to put faces to the regular customers who have been propping up our sales all this while, I hope that we can build up a long lasting relationship Merely Ice Cream can provide a cosy environment to satisfy their sweet tooth. We are into the second month of the school holidays, which means business is still kind of stop start without the support of the nearby students. NAFA, LASELLE and SMU KIDS, COME BACK SOON! WE MISS YOU AND YOUR $$!!! Given the slow activity in the mid afternoon, it can get kind of boring at times. To keep myself busy, I have decided to embark on a new DIY project for the shop. Saddled with egg cartons plus the fact that I have one less bar stool for my pallet counter, I am going to emulate what these guys did and turn the stray egg cartons into a bar stool. I probably need another 100 of those egg cartons before I can get down to work though…

The week ended with the bombshell that the building’s de facto anchor tenant, Victor’s Kitchen, is calling it quit and bringing his dim sum across the Causeway. Their non-opening for the entire week has already caused some murmurs among the tenants at Sunshine Plaza, with rumors going round that they have flouted some laws in relation to the employment of unregistered foreign workers at their premise. I finally got the confirmation from the owner himself that he is pulling out for good. He is increasingly finding it difficult to sustain his operations with the restriction in hiring foreign help to cope with the overwhelming business and came to the conclusion that the only way is to pull out from Singapore and relocate to Johor Bahru where the labor cost is lower and locals are more willing to toil the long hours. With Victor’s Kitchen gone, it is certainly going to bring us some bother as majority of the foot traffic to Sunshine Plaza are from customers who make the trip down to savour their Dim Sums. Oh well, this is really unexpected but then again, it is out of our control too. We just got to buckle down, continue to churn out delicious ice cream and raise  the awareness to our product and branding and hope the crowd starts pouring in.

Time to sign off and start my Diablo 3. Chill folks!

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

The weeks ahead

May 17, 2012 Leave a comment

To continue from where I signed off from the previous post, the FREAKING SIGNBOARD IS FINALLY COMING. LIKE THIS FREAKING FRIDAY. Unless of course it gets delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.

Again.

I digress. This post is more about the plans that we have lined up for Merely Ice Cream once I go full time on 28th May. For a start, there will be greater engagement and interaction with the customers, and a greater quality control over the ice cream sold. And to be frank, ever since the tertiary institutions started their summer break, the plunge in sales is second only to the free-fall of the JPMorgan counter after they announced their two billion losses. Clearly something needs to be done to drum up awareness of our shop. And doing a cross promotion with Strand Hotel and Hotel 81 is not an option..

Thanks to a friend’s hook-up, I have the privilege of getting interviewed by Business Times for a Young Entrepreneur feature that they run every Monday and the publication date for my write-up is on, you guess it, 28th May. What an impeccable timing. This serves as a nice form of publicity and also removes the item, “Get Featured on Newspaper other than the Obituary” off my bucket list.

To ride on this well timed newspaper feature, we will be running a week long promotion tentatively named the Proprietor Week Promo, which is simply a narcissistic attempt to celebrate my freedom from the corporate world thinly disguised as an awareness drive.

So what are in store for the customers during the Proprietor Week? Of course that will be discounts and offers, the detail and quantum will be revealed on our Facebook once we have finalized it.

For those who have been returning for our ice cream will be happy to know that we are launching a loyalty program. We have tie up with Perx, an app which comes in both Android and iOS versions, which allows consumers to collect loyalty stamps on their smartphones via the scanning of QR codes. We will make your while worth it if you accumulate enough stamps on your app.

During this week, we will also be launching our waffles. Oops, think I miss out the word finally in the previous sentence. The reason why we are taking donkey years to roll out our waffles is simply that we don’t believe in selling something that we don’t find delicious. Rather than taking the easy way out through the usage of premix, we choose to experiment with various recipes to come out with a waffle that we can’t resist munching on. At this stage, we are just a slight tweak away from that irresistible waffle.

If all of the above doesn’t interest you, you can always drop by to ogle at our beautiful signboard, or mock us if the signboard still doesn’t show up by then.

(Ps: I could do with more love on our facebook page, that’s part of my KPI after all. Share it with your friends)

 

Categories: Miscellaneous

Updates – a month on

May 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Oops, it has been over a month since our last update. One can imagine the whirlwind of events that have transpired since the last update; a mad rush to get the clearance from NEA, malfunctioning central airconditioning system, opening the shop without a signboard after being played out by the supplier, grappling with an overheated kitchen comparable to an inferno, dealing with an unexpected demand in the opening weeks thanks to the support of the nearby tertiary students and an expected fall in intake as the same group of students go off for their summer break. And all these happened while both the Chief Craftsman and myself are still juggling between our day job and the shop. Thank goodness for caffeine.

Despite all the challenges, it was a thoroughly enjoyable first month of operation (my enjoyment level may go for a toss once we finalized the P&L). Ice cream is a happy food, and we are extremely humbled that our creations are able to put smiles on faces of those have tried our ice cream. And for us to be even able to scoop our ice creams to our customers, we owe our friends, relatives, happy staffers, designers and suppliers for all their help in turning that bare shop unit into an ice cream parlor, patronage and  publicizing our existence through word of mouth and through the social media. Thank you!

So long folks, I promised the next post won’t take another month to materialize. It will either be when the blue moon rises or when our signboard finally goes up, whichever happens first.

Categories: Miscellaneous

The pallet table

March 7, 2012 Leave a comment

It all started in front of the PC. An idea and google led me to this. Armed with a rough concept, we approached several pallet makers and one of them, Lee Wung took up the job. After several trips to the factory and numerous revisions later, the tables finally arrived at our shop over the weekend. Looking at the pictures below, it vindicates all the effort expended to piece this one together.

 

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Categories: Miscellaneous