A crafty Singaporean couple has managed to earn SGD $20,000 ($14,435) in one year by making inedible, miniature food in their spare time.
Miniature Asian Chef is the brainchild of Juliana Fan, who started creating miniature food herself when she couldn’t find realistic replicas.
At the time, the young Juliana, however, was embarrassed to share her work for its lack of support. Apparently, her “childish hobby” took off while she “should be studying.”
Then-boyfriend Marcus Lim, now her husband and co-founder of their startup, had no idea what she was up to. He told Vulcan Post:
“She kept it from me and basically only her parents and brother knew. [Only] after a few visits to her house then she finally showed me some of her stuff [and] I was in shock.”
Eventually, Juliana decided to run a business out of her creations, which initially consisted of only miniature food.
Later, Juliana’s line of products included accessories, a step-up to make the miniature food wearable.
“The people wearing my products matter more than the products. I am happy that my creations make others happy, and when customers also share their special memories with me,” she told Vulcan Post.
Creating the miniature masterpieces, however, is not always an easy task. Juliana said that the durian, with its tiny spikes, is the most difficult to design. It took her three days to complete one.
Meanwhile, the easiest for her are the Kueh Lapis Sagu and Kueh Tutu, which she both enjoyed eating. Kueh Lapis Sagu is a sweet, colorful delicacy primarily made of tapioca, sago and mung bean flour, while Kueh Tutu is a round-shaped, roasted rice flour bun that has grated coconut or peanut powder for filling.
Apparently, Juliana keeps her design options open. “The idea can be a crazy one, but it will have to be wearable and sturdy. Usually, I will create a prototype for testing on myself, and if it works, I will launch it as a new product,” she said.
While Juliana remains committed to her advertising day job, she still makes time for their startup every day, creating products and answering emails. Marcus, on the other hand, oversees their social media accounts and helps pack deliverables.
At the end of the day, making at least $14,000 from what started as an unusual hobby is the coolest thing. Juliana couldn’t ask for more:
“Still, I am amazed at the many things I can do in the very short hours I have left for the business every day. I sacrifice things like personal time and sleep, but the job satisfaction I get out of this makes them worth it.”