Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Managing Staff

I love my team at Double A because they're one of the many reasons Double A is where it is today. Their motivation and creativity sometimes are just so out of this world, you feel so proud they are a part of you in building the brand. But of course reality check, not all are the same and some are obviously just there for the sake of getting a pay to pay for their expenses. We've always wanted to build a family in Double A, empower people and allow them to run it like their own as well, so Managing staff is often our biggest challenge thus far.

We've had those who stepped all over your head before running back to you to ask for help. We've had staff who cheated. We've had staff with discipline problems. We've had some bad apples who did not have any chemistry with the rest of the team.

The problem is, when your start up is small, one little negative vibe will spread so quickly that it does not become so enjoyable for some.

Recently, we had to terminate a staff after multiple warnings. So he has not been coming in, nor has he been providing legit reasons for not turning up. How do you tell someone to leave without him feeling like we've destroyed his future when it was his own fault to begin with? We tried, we gave second third fourth tenth chances, but there is always a limit to everything. I've learn that if something doesn't work, you find a solution for it, execute and move on. In the process, explain to him what he did wrong and how this was not a good trait to be carrying not only at your work place but in any work places for that matter.

It's a business you're talking about and if it is affecting your day to day operations, then you don't need to feel kesian for the individual. Bigger picture is, the problem is solved, people are happier, mood is lifted back up and there are many other opportunities out there for that person who was let go. Being an Entrepreneur means you need to be very firm with your decisions because otherwise a lot of time will be unnecessarily wasted.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

You are a CHAMPION with a heart of GOLD!

You are a OUR CHAMPION Datuk Lee Chong Wei!

The whole country felt you, through your eyes, throughout the journey that you've shared with us. Having been in a competitive sports myself, I couldn't help but shed tears watching him fight his way till the end in his last game. He's tired, the whole country was watching him, and he indeed felt the pressure to bring home Malaysia's first ever GOLD. 

He may not have brought home that piece of Gold medal, but his spirit and act were GOLD. 

Please don't cry for you have done more than you can ever possibly do and you have nothing to apologise for. No one will ever know exactly what you feel, but do know that each and everyone of us Malaysians have you to thank for. 

At least if you retire from this, you know that you're retiring at a high - having beaten Lin Dan AND was in the running for a GOLD MEDAL!  You will forever be everybody's CHAMPION!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Remember that question HR/Interviewers like to ask when you are in the midst of applying for a job - "Where do you see yourself in 5 years and what do you see yourself doing?"

I'm exactly at that stage, doing something I like and contented.

You know that feeling when you feel like everything is going your way? Recently I was telling Aiman about how I really love what I do at work and that I'm so thankful I have great teammates. Who you work with and who you surround yourself with are very important especially when it is something that you have to do every single day. Sleep. Work. Repeat.

...And then someone mentions "Man, I really don't like my job". 

Just like that, you feel like the luckiest person to have the best job in the world. Or at least that feeling. May not be completely on point in totality.

It got me thinking: What is it about the job that you don't like? Is it the job, or the people? Really, it is so important to differentiate these two. If it is the people, then why do you continue staying where you are? Why not seek for opportunities with people you may potentially be able to work with? Don't like what you do, then why stay where you are? Don't like the brand, then don't be selfish and stick around.

But never blame a brand because it is not a living thing. People are what represents a brand.

I guess I've been very lucky to have been able to be in situations where I love what I do and it is a big enough reason to make me feel happy and grateful. Why situations is because I have served 8 departments in my 6 years (1 year of Masters) with the firm so far. Some things that I realize would help:

  1. Trust - Be honest in your work and work hard in every single thing that you do. No matter how small the task is. Building trust amongst your colleagues should be the first thing you do. 
  2. Respect - I believe that you need to respect in order to gain it too. Discuss rationally.
  3. Be honest - This is so important as you would not want to end up doing things that are wrong or things that you aren't sure about. Ask if you don't know and express your opinion (in a polite manner) if you have ideas. In the working world, everyone is an adult, everyone (maybe not all) should be able to have mutual respect in everything that they do.
  4. It's OK to make mistakes - How else are you gonna learn otherwise? Better to make a mistake than not to have tried at all. 
  5. Positivity - Make friends with everyone in the firm. It is just a job at the end of the day. It shouldn't be something that kills you nor should it take all your happiness away after work. Do not bring work stress home. If you are not happy, evaluate and speak to your bosses about it, everything is figureout-able remember? And no issue is life's biggest problem. Be grateful for all the good things, it will take you a long way!
  6. Learn to compartmentalize - Do not waste energy on things that may disrupt your work. Divert your focus and attention away from negative vibes at all times. 
  7. Treat everyone equally - Does not mean if you are an executive officer, you are any higher than the tea lady or the drivers or even the security guards. Spend time with them too, go out for lunch with them, play sports with them. You'll be amazed at how inspiring some of them are! I love them all, always giving me smiles everytime I come to office!
These are obviously just some of the factors, but the few that have given me a really good experience :)) Take one day at a time and you'll realize that as much as good times come to an end, down times do come to an end too!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Best F&B Set Up Award at the Young ASEAN Entrepreneurs Award 2016

Last weekend was definitely a weekend that the team wanted to remember forever and ever!

Just a week before, Aiman and I had one of those moments when we realized we had a bit too much on our plate and started reminiscing those days when we were sleeping in on weekends, travelling on our off days and had ample free time to do whatever we wanted to when we're not at work. Today, weekends are like any normal weekdays, and there's clearly no such thing as sleeping early every night. Unless except for when we fall asleep without even realizing it haha!

This is why we should never forget that God hears us, at all times. Great times, down times, ANYTIME! Allah probably heard us and gave us this Best F&B Set Up Award at the Young ASEAN Entrepreneurs Award 2016 to remind us that we are actually doing pretty ok, Subhanallah such a miracle! One phone call and our moods were lifted up sky high! We totally did not see this coming at all!
The past year has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride for us, having two jobs to handle - occasionally having a lot more down times stressful moments at both work and cafe but guys, one thing that definitely kept us going was to stop, reflect and divert all focus on the good that had happened instead of the down times. Knowing that Allah is with you at all times keeps one very sane when running a business. It is so very powerful because you know He would never put you through something that he knows you cannot handle.

At the end of the day it isn't the end of the world, no customer feedback, staff issue nor shutting the freezer switch OFF (remember that time when all my ice cream melted guys????), no struggle should drag you down and demotivate. Take it with a big smile, improve and move on. Everything's figureout-able if you take one step at a time :)

Alhamdulillah for all the ups and downs that have brought us all to where we are today, and definitely for the supportive family, friends, customers and my awesome team who had worked with us for without them, we would not have won the award. This award is not just for us, but for everyone. Here's to more ideas to improve and expand!!

Friday, 5 August 2016

CIMB ASEAN Scholarship Boot Camp

CIMB ASEAN Scholarship is the first ever that was introduced by CIMB Group earlier this year and whoa!! Thousands...yup, THOUSANDS of applications came in from all applicants across Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia, Indonesia. If I could, I would've applied for myself too (now that I've completed my bond you know, haha. Love this company don't I?)!

I was very privileged to have been picked to become one of the Assessors during their 5th round of assessment which was the Bootcamp. We had to interact and understand the applicants' characteristics, identify their strong traits and I am amazed that they are only 18 or 19 or some 20 but they're all so academically intelligent, driven and know what they wanted in life. Some are already in their first years in Cambridge, LSE, Imperial you name it!

What was I doing at 18? Still lost trying to familiarize myself with London city and was forever homesick. Haha, gooood times!

What was great about this ASEAN scholarship was that successful applicants will become both Scholars AND Employees of CIMB, how awesome is that? You go to Uni knowing that you have a company to come back to upon graduating. Reminded me a bit of my Masters days being both a Scholar and Employee of CIMB. Good times too, I would want to go through it again and again if given the chance. Especially loved seeing so many non Malaysian applicants who had made it to the 5th round too, I know for sure they'd make a good additional to our ASEAN offices in the future. 

Made so many new friends, and obviously they made me feel 10 years younger! Totally needed that young driven positive energy vibes :))) Made assessment for me a little tougher since I wanted all of them to proceed to the next round! Hehe!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Ending it with a High

30th June 2016 - Probably one of the best days I've had for a while. Totally exhausted and worn out, yet a very satisfying productive day. The project team have not slept for the past 32 hours and was already running on reserve adrenaline rush. 

We've just signed a deal and announcing to Bursa was the last task of the day. Didn't think an announcement was gonna stress everyone out since we signed at 1.35 and had to finalise the announcement and press release before 2pm (Man bila puasa time  moves slowly. Suddenly now it's zooming towards 2!). We submitted at 2.03pm guys...Phew luckily Bursa was nice to us. 

Only hours later did I realise that hey, today is also my final day of bond with the firm. Did 3 years go by THAT fast? 3 years and 3 different departments later I still am very much in love with my job. God has been so Great to me making it easy for me, giving me teams that I love and can work with. Giving me a smooth landing in KL after coming back from London (though I used to hate being back in KL for the first 4 months, culture shock), I couldn't have asked for more. All the ups and downs that came with it were well worth it!

Indeed He is the Best Planner!

Friday, 13 May 2016


I can't believe Double A is almost a year now! If it's a little baby girl, it has probably started walking awkwardly by now :')

I must say the past one year has taught me so so so much that no paid job could ever give me. The struggles of growing a brand that nobody knew of, no one has heard of and really, just trying to build it up from scratch. We had our good times, we had out challenging times. 

The one thing that has made me learn so much was indeed the whole process of managing people. Working in a place where I have a great team dynamic and good chemistry, you'd think it would be easy to re-create that in a new business. But truth be told, unless it is your company, everyone is really just there for the money. One thing that you'd have to do is to make sure you have a goal and target that you want to achieve and make sure you focus and stay on course or otherwise the struggle would consume you overnight. 

Well, we survived a year without killing each other so that's good right? Phew! Hehe!

This year, to celebrate Double A's first birthday we wanted to do something a little different and give it back to a charity. So we're planning a charity bake sale this Sunday for everyone! All our previous/existing suppliers are joining hands to deliver cakes onto our counter for all our customers. HOW AMAZING IS THAT!

12 different bakers with almost 30 different types of cakes on the counter this Sunday, it'll be the biggest partnership we have had so far! BE. EXCITED!

All the day's proceeds will be channeled to Red Bubbles (click here!) :)

So come on over to Double A this Sunday everyone!
10am - 11pm!

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

God sent

They say rough times don't last, neither do good, great times.

A few years back, I met a person who had probably influenced me in so many ways. In so many good ways. To be a greater person, to always be kind, to always be calm, to never miss prayers, to stay very very humble, to put family first at all times and to always remember Him in everything that you do.

He probably does not know that he had influenced me in such a big way (even Aiman feels so!), but I guess in a way God may have made us crossed paths so that he could rub off these great traits that I should have scrambled to master. Why I say 'should have' was because I never thought God would end that great time unexpectedly.

If there is ONE thing that I am really bad at, is to learn to let go off people I've come to enjoy being around. In a way, I feel very very blessed and thankful for being given the opportunity to have met such a great person :)

Most people say we will always see them again, but let's be honest, I once said the same about my colleagues back in the London office, but who are we to kid. We've all definitely got our own lives to get through with, it would be pretty difficult once everyone has their own schedules to attend to :)

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Double A - What is it?

Ok, like seriously?! Where HAVE I been?

So many things have been happening lately that I get so exhausted by the end of the day, but then I have an idea and just suddenly I have the motivation to stay up and work on something. I look at myself and be like "Come onnnn! Really? Now? Motivated? Can't you keep it for tomorrow?"

Taking many steps back, I've been getting a lot of interview questions on how did the idea of Double A come about?

When Aiman and I first started Double A, we had no background whatsoever in F&B. Our education for sure did not prepare us for this having graduated in Financial Engineering and Aiman in Computer Science - the only one thing we had in common was the love for eating. We used to love going cafe hopping just for the sake of trying that new thing we saw on instagram! We realise that there were so many people who were doing the same and thought hey, people are so willing to travel to get their hands on food! What if we were to house everything-good under one roof?

Unable to bake professionally, we set out to replicate a multi-label model of an online fashion retailer. I remembered telling Vivy "I wanna be like a FashionValet, but for food!". Double A strives to become a one-stop platform that carries outstanding home grown brands that are mostly home based, without a physical shop and does not sell cakes by slices. Collaboration is what we work very hard on! I totally bought this business model and it seemed like many others did too, Alhamdulillah! 

The Cafe was 80% up and running within 6 weeks with 3 local cake brands and a local coffee selection! I remembered we used to open only up till 6pm because the lights were not fully installed yet, so we had insufficient amount of natural light to operate at night. Challenges will always be there, we've had some good times, we've had major load of challenging times. In the beginning, it was about getting the words around! How do I get people to come to me, am I not just like any other cafe that sells cakes and coffee? NO. I keep reminding myself that we had an mission to achieve which is to be able to provide a space for customers to come and have amazing cakes from great bakers all around KL! Let us bring to you great cakes in slices! 

In this kinda space, we had to work doubly hard to stay relevant because cafes are just mushrooming everywhere. I always emphasis that customer service is THE most important tool we could have an edge on. Know your customers, know their favourtie cup of coffee and have the biggest smile during that 10 hours of working. No matter what you do, customers are always right. Honestly, it's easier said than done.

Close to a year later today, we have a lot more to learn and even more initiatives and campaigns to do! Totally learning a lot from all of these :)

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Welcoming 2016

Every 1st day of each year, it's a little special for both Aiman and I - just because we got married on the 1st of January. Lol! Eversince we got married, we've always wanted to go for Umrah as husband and wife, and Alhamdulillah He had invited us late last year which was just the perfect timing for us.

We've probably been so buried in work and the cafe the whole of 2015 that this Holy place we were going to step foot in would let us forget all worldly things for a good while. Met so many Malaysians whilst we were there and it was a really different experience going as husband and wife compared to my other two times I've been to Mekah and Madinah. Was a bit like a holiday for us because after prayers we will go out on food adventures late at night and scout for ice cream at the stall next to the mosque or even go the extra mile to look for their infamous fast food Al Baik and Al Tazaj.

It was such a calm and peaceful journey because all we did was eat, pray, sleep (we ate damn a lot of Shawarmas alright!). Literally. Whist I was there I realise that only if you drop everything that you're doing would you then be able to fully please Him! Not a single prayer time did we miss over there nor did we pray a minute too late (how could you, you go down to the mosque 30-60 minutes the prayer time). Kalau kat sini, 2 minutes before the next prayer time only would you start panicking, sometimes making invalid reasons like "how can you excuse yourself, it's a meeting with XYZ's CEO".

Just the other day, I overheard at a talk: "Everything comes from Him. The hardships, the wealth, the health etc. If He has written hardship for you throughout your whole life, you will experience only hardship no matter how you try to turn things around. If He has written continuous wealth for you, all those wealth will indeed be yours. At the end of the day, all of this are Rezeki from Him and the One who you should depend on is indeed Him"

So here's to a better 2016! For work, for the cafe, for our little family unit and being a better person :)
Oooh, have you gotten your duck planner yet? If you've not, you'd better hurry!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

On and Off

Ok I gotta clarify, I know everyone thinks I'm ALWAYS happy but really, which human is always happy all the time. Hehe!

Believe me, Aiman is probably the unlucky privileged one who gets to see every side of me. When I'm the happiest, extremely happy sampai Aiman cannot tahan also, when I'm the saddest, when I'm just really furious with work, he has seen it all. By nature, I'm impatient. Yup that's right, super duper. My poor staff, must think I'm a crazy tiger boss!

Having a day job means I rely a lot on my phone to get my message across to the Double A team and I'm always expecting them to reply to me within seconds. One minute passes by and I'll feel fidgety like "Mannnn how long is it to count that slice of cakes?". If I say we meet at 8.30, I expect for everyone to be there by 8.20.

In all honesty, having your own business you tend to want your business to run independently and efficiently. So our usual chat would go something like this

"Guys, why is the cake placed there instead of here?"

1 second

2 seconds


4 seconds


5 seconds

6 seconds


Man, I fear for my own future kids. Haha! Well to be fair, they're kinda used to me now, so they still take their time sometimes. Grrrrrrr.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Customers are always right

Working in a client-facing customer-servicing job, I've had to apologize to (potential) clients for slow systems or failed transactions due to down times and ATM machines that does not work or even for not being able to promise things that may be impossible.

Why? It's because I know what the problem was and given all information you would need to be able to manage customers. Yes, even if it isn't your fault (may be the system connections that a human cannot solve), I would still willingly apologize because customers subscribe to a certain product and brand for what it can do and never for what it may not be able to do. Managing client is priority because we are expected to provide them with whatever they need. Customers have the right to ask for what they want, and with that said if what they requested for is not available, it is also our duty to properly and clearly explain it to them. Yes, these are all my duty because I am client-facing and at customers' service and you should be protecting the brand that you work for.

At the end of the day, customers are adults and you know that they would be able to understand when explained to clearly.

What I have just experienced recently was pretty terrible. I've had to approach a party (on behalf of Double A) whereby I was the customer. Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say that in an organization such as theirs, they had this fear of cc-ing bosses or letting superiors know of how they work - to me, if you have not done anything wrong, you should not be afraid. In fact, you would want your bosses to acknowledge it in order to gain visibility.

Long story short, he explained A to me which I needed further clarification on. Instead of further explaining, (on a different day) he tells me he has 3 minutes to listen to me and that was all the time he had for me as a customer. Which client-facing person would in the right mind tell customers that? Explained all I could in 3 minutes, he left. Weeks later he called to tell me that I need to explain to him again because his Boss asked him but he did not know how to answer. Come on dude, you told me you had 3 minutes, now you're panicking when your Boss ask you to explain the product that you are selling to me.

So I came over to the office to explain but instead of listening, he said to me "Actually I don't understand coffee. Maybe you can do a presentation to our committee straightaway". Bravo to people who cannot be stretched in their jobs. So I proceeded to table my presentation (on behalf of him) and got everything sorted. Came in to sign papers and was told that when they explained A to me earlier, they actually meant B. Tried calling him to clarify, but never once did he pick up his calls, so in instances like this you naturally would write in to the Boss (who was the other person on the deal) to clarify.

What happens next? He went ballistic because we communicated with the Boss directly. My simple question to him was "but I thought you said you did nothing wrong, so why so scared?". In fact, he went up to my Manager and said "your bosses have made it so difficult for me because they communicated directly to my Boss. But this stays between the two of us don't tell your bosses". Again, if you had not done anything wrong, why then inform only my Manager and made her promise to keep it between the two of you. I hire people who work and would protect the good name of the company, you may have picked the wrong person to share secrets with.

It's puzzling  to see how certain organizations are so hierarchical that one would not speak up when questioned by the Boss but would instead relay their frustration to someone who know nothing about the situation to gain sympathy and votes. Come on Malaysians, we need to have more integrity in the work that we do! Long story short, he told our Manager a lot of things off the records that I would indeed make this known to his boss, only because I wouldn't want another customer to get into the same situation as I did. Customers are always right, unless and until they ask for the stars and the moon.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

The earth stops for 10 seconds

Coming from a family of doctors, you tend to be that over paranoid "patient".

Recently, I've been having this back problem that everyday that I get up it hurts so badly. When I am about to sit down i'd be moving a speed of a snail or like those egg-on-a-spoon game last time when you had to make sure you don't spill any onto the floor do you remember?

Reached my limit when the other day, I sneezed and whoa! There was a sharp pain right there at my lower back, I almost couldn't walk for a few seconds. It's like that one sneeze has locked my back. Couldn't walk, couldn't sit. I just stood still for a moment.

My cousin has advised me against lugging heavy things like my laptop around (especially on weekends when I need all my Double A laptop/notebook/chargers/USBs etc in one bag) nor carry my nephew/niece for along period of time. Yup, I have this habit of picking them up when they cry. Breaks my heart seeing them cry, I cannot even imagine my own kids in the future. *cringe*

Anyway, I really hope that this nerve problem gets better or my (very awesome) colleague may need to continue getting my prints from the printer and Aiman would have to carry my bags in the future #justttttkiddingsayang :D

Thursday, 15 October 2015


Past few months have been filled with so many events and so many happenings. So many things to be done and so little time to fill it up! But if there is one thing constant about the past few months, it would be experience.

  1. For a start, professionalism is something that you should be expecting not only in professional jobs, but in everything that you do. Sadly, it is the one thing that you can no longer expect from mankind. Why I say this is because I've spoken to people who continue on doing their work without looking you in the eyes, and I find this extremely rude. And this is the simplest thing in carrying yourself professionally. You may be smart. You may be earning big buck, but hey you're plain rude.
  2. You think you're too good for the job you have. A mistake that many people do. If you're not learning or you're not contributing to the brand you represent, I don't believe you should even take up the job in the first place. A job description is there to guide you, but it was never meant to be too rigid that you choose not to do certain things because it was not listed in your JD. If it requires the extra mile to complete the task, then do it for the brand you represent.
  3. Power hunger. Many a times I see people making comments about others behind their backs with hopes that this would gain them points with their superior hence a faster promotion up the ladder.
  4. Point 3 said, who you know trumps what you know in this world. So there are also incidents whereby one is favoured more than the other because of petty reasons eg he looks more good looking than you or he knows her sister who knows your father who is some big shot somewhere. You get what I mean. 
  5. People don't love what they do. The main reason why someone can say nonsense like "you do it since you're paid more" - when in fact it is their job to do it.
  6. The higher rank you are, the more you think you could do things your way. Even if it is the wrong way.
  7. People don't ask. Instead of asking, they find ways to avoid doing the job completely. That is just beyond me. You will never ever learn how to do it then. Which brings me back to you shouldn't be taking up the job in the first place.
  8. You do not want to be pushed outside your comfort zone. So I say pluck those apples, and unless you climb up the ladder and make shift something long to reach it, then why don't you just wait for someone to donate you a helicopter to get up that few steps higher than your head. Yet you ask for a pay much higher than the mountains.
  9. You don't feel the need to fight for your brand and find solutions for people know your brand. 
  10. You think your job is always more difficult than the rest of the world. That's exactly when you've just destroyed your life.

What I've pen down here are all my own personal thoughts based on my own personal experience :)

Friday, 11 September 2015

Double A Cafe KL - dUCkie Hour!

We believe that Coffee and Writing go hand in hand like lychee and tea - at least for us!

Starting this weekend we will be introducing dUCkie Hour at Double A! Yup, you can now purchase these beautiful notebooks at the cafe. During dUCkie Hour, every notebook sold comes with a complimentary paired soda to match your choice of dUCk!

Also, one lucky customer who makes an order over the counter every weekend (for the next 4 weekends) will be entitled to receive a complimentary dUCk Kaleidoscope Notebook for free.Winner is required to post a photo with the notebook with hashtags #doubleacafekl and #duckstationery - and hey, you will be able to claim a complimentary drink at your next visit.

Quack quack!