• Macarons By Madeleine is a solo F&B business run by 24-year-old banker Madeleine Lew.
  • She offers up macarons that are hand-painted and customisable based on the demands of clients, and delivers to central regions of the Klang Valley.

Lately, it’s become common to see young enterprising individuals go out into the world and try to build themselves a successful business creating things that today’s discerning market can appreciate.

From hand-made
leather wearables to goods made from recycled materials to food items
made using high-grade ingredients, there have been an increasing
number of these local brands started by these ambitious young
entrepreneurs.

One such individual
traversing this route is 24-year-old Madeline Lew, a Business and
Commerce graduate from Monash University Malaysia who decided to
pursue a baking career in addition to her weekday occupation as a
banker.

To be exact, Madeleine runs a home business called Macarons By Madeleine that offer artisanal macarons made to order, and markets them to most central areas within the Klang Valley, including Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya, and Selangor.

Her prices start at
RM42 for a minimum order of 12 undecorated macarons, but rise to RM60
for customised, hand-painted pieces. For delivery, she charges a
minimum of RM5, with prices differing based on location.

“I’m still
personally delivering them, so there are limitations on which areas I
can reach,” she explained. “But recently, I’ve been exploring
delivery platforms as I hope to reach a wider audience in the
future.”

Friendly Origins

Madeleine explained
that she got started baking macarons after getting taught how to make
them by one of her buddies.

“I’ve a close
friend—Lynn—who has some culinary skills, and she just decided
that one day we’d meet at her place and she’d demonstrate how to
bake macarons,” she explained. “I saw how she did it, and even
without having any hands-on experience at the time, I thought to
myself ‘hey, this seems pretty easy!’, and that was that.”

Image Credit: Macarons By Madeleine

But for a few months
after that, Madeleine never made moves to use her new-found knowledge
until the beginning of 2018 when she wrote down her New Year’s
resolutions.

“I jotted down in my journal that in 2018, I wanted to bake macarons as birthday gifts for my close circle of friends, because what could be a better gift than something hand-made right?” she revealed.

So after a period of
trial and error—20 tries over a couple of months to be exact,
Madeleine eventually got the hang of macaron-making and proceeded to
create her business account on Instagram in mid-August of 2018, aptly
naming her new brand Macarons By Madeleine.

Madeleine said that
she now uses her businesses not only as an income platform, but also
as an avenue where she could showcase her creativity.

“I wanted Macarons
By Madeleine to be a platform where I present my creativity—art can
come in many forms and for me, it’s expressed through adding some
colours and designs onto the typical meringue-based cookie.”

True to this statement, Madeleine differentiates her offerings from other cafés and bakeries by adding all sorts of designs to her macarons. These designs range from floral patterns and cute illustrations to letter designs and custom messages, and have so far been successful in drawing attention from not only individual clients, but corporate ones as well.

Madeleine explained
that she got educated in beautifying her macarons mainly through
online tutorials and having Lynn give her critique through WhatsApp.

“I did not attend
any proper macaron-making classes, but I searched a lot online for
tutorials on YouTube,” she said. “Trust me, there’s tons for
you to learn—if one video’s method or recipe doesn’t suit you,
move on and try another video tutorial.”

“As for my
designs, I got my ideas mainly from Pinterest and Instagram.”

Any Demand Is Good Demand

One of the concerns
when it comes to food trends like these is longevity, with some
trends able to stay evergreen while much more come and go in the
blink of an eye.

Addressing these
concerns, Madeleine expressed that she felt there would always be a
place for macarons in Malaysia despite there not being crazy hype or
demand for them.

She admitted she
understood that compared to brands such as Tealive, macarons would
probably never hit such levels of popularity—which by all accounts
is fine by her.

Image Credit: Macarons By Madeleine

“To be honest, I
never saw macarons as a huge thing in Malaysia compared to other
famous trends such as bubble tea,” Madeleine said. “I would even
say that there’s a portion of Malaysians who are pretty
health-conscious and deem macarons or any other sweet desserts as
sinful to consume.”

But despite this,
she said there would always be some demand for food products like
hers, mainly due to the fact that people always need options for
special occasions.

“Demand-wise, I
feel there is always an occasion or function,” she said. “I still
get enquiries every now and then, and they’re almost always ordered
as gifts for someone special.”

As proof of this,
Madeleine revealed that on one such occasion, she received an order
from a corporate client for 1,000 boxes to be used as door gifts for
their event.

“It wasn’t an easy order for me, but I’m truly grateful for the help I got from my friends, and especially my mom since she helped me from the start.”

Steps To Expansion

Looking ahead,
Madeleine is currently facing two distinct challenges in trying to
grow her business—labour and logistics.

For labour, she
realises that eventually her business will need more hands on deck,
and as such is considering bringing in another individual to help her
manage growing demand and expectations.

Image Credit: Macarons By Madeleine

“In terms of
labour, you don’t hear the term ‘freelance baker’ in the same
way other industries can easily hire freelancers to complete a job,”
she said. “For bakers and bakeries, you usually need to hire
someone permanently to grow your business, which I’ll definitely
consider in the future.”

As for the logistics
portion, Madeleine hopes to be able to expand her delivery reach to
accommodate larger orders during high seasons and also extend beyond
the Klang Valley to perhaps places such as Singapore.

“For 2019, my
plans are to overcome the challenges mentioned above as well as to do
more collaborations to boost brand awareness,” she said. “I enjoy
meeting other talented local entrepreneurs—getting to understand
and be inspired by each brand’s story is also one of the fun
elements whenever I approach them to collaborate.”

  • To know more about Madeleine’s business, you can check her out on Facebook or Instagram.

Feature Image Credit: Macarons By Madeleine

The post Meet The 24-Year-Old M’sian Who’s A Banker By Day, And A Macaron Painter By Night appeared first on Vulcan Post.