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!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Double A Cafe KL - Think before you say something

Gosh, I've been feeling sooo tired that I've to battle between my excitement to go to work with my very tired body. Sometimes I wish I could stop the time, just so that I can recharge and then resume back life once I'm energised. Technically, I've been working 7 days a week with a full on standing job on weekends ever since Double A opened. 

But truth be told, there is nothing that I want to change about it. 

Ever since Double A opened, Aiman and I have both been stretched out of our comfort zones with multi tasking skills. I've finally had to read the Labour Law from start till the end to make sure our staff are paid correctly on public holidays, Aiman as CFO had to make sure all our accounts tally with our Point-of-Sales system, I had to learn how a grease trap really work because it decided to overflow...twice, Aiman had to handle a kitchen door that fell because apparently the initial contractor did not use heavy-duty tools for it (how can right?!), as COO I'm constantly looking out for new things to do for Double A and yeah of broken frames, fallen steel and what have you. Again, there is nothing we want to change about it because it have all built us to become stronger and more resilient (but less tolerant to stupid comments like "oh you don't look like the kind who cleans, how come you guys need to clean kitchen so long"). Read: a commercial kitchen is nothing like a home kitchen dude.  

We started Double A because we wanted to bring the good-quality-coffee culture to KL as opposed to the cool-cafe-lifestyle that most people go for. It wasn't easy of course. We have had customers who say that we don't have enough seats at our shop, not using nice colour combination, customer who tells off our Barista because our coffee is a little bit more bitter than his usual sweet one and that it doesn't taste anything like McDonald's coffee (Yeah right, why don't you then go to McDonald's). But moving on, we later introduced food to Double A and subsequently brunch since last 2 weekends. 3 and half months old and this Double A baby of ours has grown up quite a bit and I cannot ask for anything better than what we already have now - the ups and downs, Alhamdulillah. 

If you think being an entrepreneur is all about glam and fame and appearing in magazines and papers, fuuuuuuuhhhhh I then welcome you to give it a try. I once had a customer who said "you're lucky, cause working in a corporate world is wayyy tougher than you serving cakes behind the counter". Can't help but to blurt out, "really? Then you just don't know how to manage your time properly because I'm still alive working in both places" before he realised that "S***, she works in the corporate world too". Haha!

Some people really need to think before you say something.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Double A Cafe KL - Switched roles

When we started Double A, staffing was one of the biggest challenges we had but Alhamdulillah after all the chats and interviews we managed to build a team! And my major love for the team, you have no idea!

Having a cafe with a goal to introduce home grown local brands and promote the taste of local specialty coffee, some of the biggest problems we've had were whole cakes falling flat onto the floor (right before the shop opens) and a switched that was turned off which led to the death of our premium gelato. Or maybe that dripping water from underneath our coffee machine which we could not identify where it was coming from.

But more importantly, I learned to cut cakes perfectly and ensured that these cakes stood tall on plates for people to take photos.

Fast forward to 4 weeks after, request for hot food came flooding in and we decided to take that leap since the demand for food is there - why not we bring forward the plans for kitchen from 6 months after opening to a month after! We were prepared for the stress, we were prepared to miss our Raya this year eventhough it was our first as husband and wife. Tip: Make sure you marry someone who wants to chase after the same great things. Together.

Many people warned us about not understanding that we needed to be more prepared than we think we were at that time. But I guess you can never be very prepared for anything can you? 2 weeks in and we had one of our busiest week night last week. Customers were streaming in and we had some crazy orders going out and everytime this happens, I thank Allah for giving us such a great crowd! But of course we all went back tired. Happy, thankful and tired.

Tired that two of my boys were on EL the next day. Superteam was down by two and for a moment I sat down and thought gosh, they did so well serving our customers yesterday that they must have been very very tired.

Were we ready to not have chefs for 2 days? No, of course not (are you crazy! Will people buy what I cook? AM I ready to serve a lot of customers?). But we had no other choice but to step into those roles.

So what happens next?

I became chef for 2 days!

Thursday, 30 July 2015


Sometimes you see truth just through common sense. Sometimes it needs to be investigated because it isn't as straightforward and involves more than just one possibility.

And when things need to be investigated, you (should) take out all subjects related to the investigation, out of the deal - mainly to ensure that a clean investigation can be carried out. Integrity is something I learned to understand when I started working, today it is something I strongly believe in.

Why? Because when I graduated, I started working in a bank. Money deposited from customers aren't the Bank's. The Bank is trusted to keep it, secure it and invest it. People trust you, hence why they put their hard earned money with you.

Asking for integrity and honesty from (all) leaders these days can possibly be an impossible demand.

Nonetheless, through my religion I truly believe that God will see what we cannot see - even the smallest things.

Friday, 17 July 2015

first raya

as husband and wife and as Double A.
Selamat hari raya maaf zahir dan batin from the Syed Aiman Kiflis! :)

Celebrating it back in KL together this year and InsyaAllah will be exploring Perak for Raya next year instead. 

We seek your forgiveness if we have done any wrongdoings or said anything that may have offended you. Zero zero ok! :) Travel safe and make sure you stop for a piece of cake or a cup of coffee if you feel tired on the road ok?

Much love,
Double A

Thursday, 16 July 2015

awkward bump

I've been trying to encourage Aiman to lose weight because believe it or not, he has put on quite a bit of weight. His body structure isn't big, but the tummy somehow finds a way to grow forward I don't know how.

Doesn't help of course that he has a wife who loves eating. 

But anyway, I was telling him my concerns. Plus you know, a tummy at his age....think we could wait a few more years. So the other day I told him that I think he should start going for cross fit or training under a personal trainer like he used to before we got married. 

His reply: "Well, tummy means prosperity. And in the corporate world, a little bit of tummy could work sometimes"


Well, not if he worked at Top Glove. They'd give you a personal dietitian!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

that annoying switch

Running a cafe with everything being prepared behind the bar can be a little complicated because you have wires running everywhere! And believe me, they all look the same!

So the speakers' wire may run on top of the chiller's which is resting on the other chillers' plugs. You get what I mean.

So basically, as we were preparing for orders the other day there was this one order for an ice chocolate float - chocolate drink with milk and gelato ice cream. When I flipped the cover of the gelato open, to my horror it was more like Vanilla DRINK. My heart somersaulted, dropped, rocketed back up and roller coasted back down.


I looked up and the switch was...OFF. Who switched it off? Seriously?

Haih. We're so labeling each and everyone of the plug heads after this.

Premium gelatos guys....premium.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

We're only human

Sometime last week I had this conversation with Aiman about human being. Everyone of us are leaders at different point in time. Why? Because we need to make a decision sometimes.

I recently read an article explaining about the leadership of our Prophet Muhammad SAW and how we could learn a lot from him leadership and decision-making skills. Two main points mentioned were 
  1. how he kept his words and was trusted by all.
  2. how he used his time with focus and self-discipline. He was a leader without a title, in today's world that speaks volume. 
Leader in today's context may carry a few meaning i.e. the head of a team, owner of a business, teachers, CEOs, someone you report to, a manager etc. As long as you are in a position of making decision, you need to practice both good decision making skill and leadership skill. That includes (and not limited to):
  • how you communicate: with people older than you, lower rank than you, your peers, colleagues, clients
  • having a transformational instead of transactional leadership style. In today's workforce, you may see leaders being paid a premium but you may not see the agreed business plan materialise
  • a listener and is able to accept dissent. We humans cannot hear the words "You are wrong" when in fact, different/fresh ideas are what makes a plan more interesting and sometimes work 
  • exemplary EQ which was something very apparent in our Prophet. In accomplishing his mission, he never gave up, instead persisted and never lost hope. Patience higher than the sky!
I felt the need to pen this down today because I don't think speaking to another human would help. In fact, being human, the person I speak to may even interject and not listen but instead think I'm preaching for no legit reasons. Sometimes I feel a little frustrated reading the news about unnecessary problems in this country that should not even have happened in the first place, and then you look closer to small ecosystem like in an organisation or even a business, believe me a lot of petty unnecessary issues.

We have one too many (wannabe) leaders shouting different things. No one willingly backs down and that is the reason why a problem does not get solved. Because we are human, and it is like a second nature for us to not back down. Instead you will want to shout louder to make sure your point is heard. We also have the 'I'm the head so you listen to me' leader.

I keep reminding myself not to fall into this trap of fighting back because there's really no point, especially with humans who want to hear what they want to hear - that it's always better to be the bigger person, because even though what you say mat be right, sometimes one may just refuse to listen. 

Instead, pray that Allah SWT will open the hearts of His creations including me to look at things positively and may he give his creations patience :) On a lighter note, my colleague just made me Ice Shaken Lychee Tea!! Gosh, I really have it going for me huh, a lot to be thankful for!

Monday, 29 June 2015

Double A Cafe KL - What next?


We've only been running for a month now and I realise that having your own business means you're always working! In the shower you'll be thinking about that cake you really wanted to do R&D-ing, and then a customer calls just when you're about to take a 2 minutes nap to ask if Double A is open and sometimes in the midst of movie a supplier calls to ask if I need extra supplies. 

Yup! Sometimes (if not all the time) I have a customer calling, colleague updating about what's happening at the cafe and on both hands I'm managing supply for the weeks to come and discussing on new collaborations. It's tiring that I just want time to pause for a little while whilst I take a really long shower. Needless to say, it has been a very exciting journey and Aiman and I only have our customers to thank!

So when we first opened, we knew we wanted to create a leading platform for cakes that cater to local and international taste buds carrying the best of homegrown brands! As we further innovate, develop and add on amazing brands onto Double A's counter we have decided to start working on our





Yup, that's right, we're bringing it forward from 6 months-from-now to let's-hack-it-right-now-shall-we? So we've got our hands full with equipment hunting, food R&D-ing, cutlery shopping. 

So that's the cafe, the supplies, the equipment hunting, the kitchen and Aiman and I are in the midst of working on a loan/grant pitch. Fuhhhhhhh my oh my Aiman and I have never ever treasured sleep this much! So exhausted, but really so worth it!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Double A Cafe KL - Like an online fashion retailer

When Aiman and I had the idea of opening up Double A, we had limited knowledge in F&B. The only thing we were really good at was EATING (who's not come on!), and agreeing on what was good and not to our taste buds. Aiman was passionate about coffee, able to differentiate between good and bad coffee and I was just that love-to-cafe-hop kinda girl who used to do it every other day whilst I was working in London previously. 

Unable to bake, I thought why don't we replicate those multi-label fashion online retailer where a variety of designer brands are offered under one roof - just that instead of fashion, it would be desserts. For a start, we plan to stock local dessert brands especially of those from homebakers that do not have physical shops and do not sell their cakes by slices. Thought hard about it and I decided that hey, why don't we create a go-to platform for Malaysians to get their favourite desserts - clearly a gap that we saw still needed to be filled here in Malaysia. I remembered sometimes scheduling our weekends before to make sure we get to try a few cafes in a day, so having a few brands under one roof was clearly a great idea to me. 

I had a vision for Double A and wanted to create a cafe that customers can pop in to grab well known desserts and best sellers of a few home bakers at once, carry their best sellers and cater not only to local taste buds but also for foreigners and tourists visiting Malaysia.

Aiman left the cake operations to me (jokingly calling me CCO, Chief Cake Officer or Cake Boss) and right then I realised that it was not easy to ensure which brands do we engage. From doing my research, getting in touch, pitching the idea, sampling and making a final decision. It really felt like the job of a head buyer at a fashion store!

Double A opened its doors to public on the 16th of May 2015 (and we did this to celebrate our monthlyversary which we no longer celebrate like we used to before we got married lol!), 3 months after the idea hit us! Some said for an idea to spark, planning, renovation and having onboard brands for the soft launch in 3 months we were considered very fast. Aiman and I are very impatient like that sometimes haha! I even offered to paint during the renovation but Adrien said "no" for fear I might create a mess instead, ho well more rest time for me then :D 

We started off with 3 great brands - Sugar Rush, Gulabakery and Gateauxlicious and Alhamdulillah today we are carrying 8 amazing home grown brands! Yup, EIGHT and even I can't believe it sometimes! Managing supplies can be quite a challenge having to match demand from customers and supplies from our partners but it has taught me a lot of things that no book can ever teach me, but thank God for amazing partners I'm working with :) So, what are you waiting for, drop by Double A if you would like a slice from all these amazing bakers! 

Sugar Rush
Cake Jalan Tiung
That Last Slice
The Kitchen Guardian
Frost & Flourish