17th August 2022 - Where has the time gone?

Its been a while Singapore

The last time I wrote a blog post was before CNY 2022 and we were looking at ushering in the year of the Ox.  Much has happened since then.  I returned to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to welcome in the year of the Ox and see family and friends who I had not seen since CNY 2020.  Two and a bit years later I returned also to see the Bisou Bake Shop team.  There were lots of emotional reunions.

My planned 10 day trip ended up being extended many times, and my stay was lengthened to close to three months.  There were many things to catch up on in terms of work and I was kept extremely busy trying to sort out the issues and problems that had arisen through the last couple of years of the pandemic.

We had lost a number of staff which really upset me.  I felt very sad and quite disheartened as these employees were the team we looked after throughout the Covid years.  Moreover, we were having difficulty finding people to fill the vacancies as many people had decided to move into the “gig economy” with jobs such as food delivery riders and taxi services.

Our kitchen was most affected.   When I arrived in KL, we had just half the kitchen team working during one of the busiest times of the year.  Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day.  They were completely overworked trying to fulfill orders as well as ensuring our stores were stocked with a steady supply of bakes.  My biggest concern was that they would fall ill.  Our immediate action was to stop taking new orders.   An aggressive recruitment drive was needed.  In time we managed to hire new team members to compliment and most importantly to fit into our existing team.

The second major issue we struggled with was a consistent supply of ingredients.  One day it was sugar, then it was cream cheese and Lotus cookies, and the list goes on.  This has really pushed us to our limits.  We have had to find new suppliers, try new ingredients as well as change recipes!!!  Our vegan chocolate cake has been tweaked and tweaked since we were no longer able to get the previous used vegan gelling agent.  We now use agar powder.

The best part of being back in KL was that I was able to not only spend time in our stores with the Bisou team but also our customers.  Oh, and having my forever favourite cupcake Vanilla Sky cupcake!  I am forever grateful to the customers who came back on the day we reopened to see the team and makes sure they were all ok.  Thank you for caring.  Also a big thank you to our customers who supported our business throughout by either buying our bakes on food delivery or via our new online store.  We are forever grateful.

It has been quite a stressful year so far.  I am amazed how the time has flown by and how we are already in the middle of August. I have been travelling often in and out of Singapore and KL to ensure things are continuing as they are supposed to.  Yes,  I would love a holiday but there is still so much to be done.   Now things in KL are settling back into a more predictable flow, I will be spending more time in Singapore trying to build the Singapore arm of the business.

Tomorrow morning, I will be having a brain storming session with Tracy (she is our marketing wizard here in Singapore).  We will be working on ideas for Christmas.  And we have exciting new products which will be launched next month.  But more about that later.

2022 has been a bumpy ride with all that is going on in the world.  I believe we will need to fasten our seatbelts and hold on tight as the rest of the year unfolds.  On that note, I am sending peace, love, health and happiness.  Be kinder, the world can never have enough kindness.

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