Turning Adversity Into A Sweet & Delicious Opportunity - NTUC
Pengestu Eka Muhammad
Modified 1 Month ago.
Turning Adversity Into A Sweet & Delicious Opportunity
26 Apr 2021Posted in ⟨Stories⟩
Faced with setbacks to her children’s programme due to COVID-19, Rohana Amran made the daring decision to pivot and chart a new path for herself through baking. Read on to discover how she skilled up to achieve her goals.
Since 2008, Rohana Amran has run an educational children’s programme known as the Wunderkind Vorschule Playgroup Programme in community centres. With a background in early childhood education, Rohana brought joy and inspired learning in kids aged 18 months to 3 years old, developing a curriculum that included niche activities such as speech and drama, gardening, baking, and even kids yoga!
Sadly, COVID-19 led to her programme being suspended. “I felt very lost because I had overhead costs I needed to cover. I only did it on a part-time basis – I teach in the mornings and in the afternoons I take care of my family, which worked really well for me as a mother of one,” said Rohana.
Plunged into the Circuit Breaker with no way to operate her educational programmes, Rohana stayed positive and seized the opportunity to pivot her business to something new – baking.
Baking Up a Storm
Kickstarting a home-based baking business had not always been on Rohana’s radar. Truth be told, her inspiration to do it came completely by chance.
“I went out to Geylang and realised that the cookies in stores looked terrible!” laughed Rohana. “I was thinking, how could I buy them for my mother-in-law? So my husband said, ‘why don’t you try baking them yourself?’”
Were her bakes perfect from the first try? Nope. In fact, Rohana’s very first batch of cookies were hard as rocks! “I think if I threw them at a wall, the wall would crack!” Rohana cracked up as she shared.
But Rohana never gave up. After a series of trial and error, she finally arrived at a recipe that worked well for her, and turned out to be a hit in her family. And as luck would have it, it was not long after that home businesses were allowed to resume and Rohana decided to try her hand at selling her baked goods for real.
And so, WunderBake by Wunderkind was born.
Validating Her Knowledge
Knowing that taking a food hygiene course was a requirement to run a home bakery, Rohana turned to NTUC LearningHub to earn her certification.
“Since NTUC LearningHub is under NTUC and in a way related to the government, I felt safer,” she explained. “I have attended courses by private institutions in the past and had bad experiences, so I chose NTUC LearningHub as I felt that I could trust them.”
Thinking back to her experience taking the Follow Food and Beverage Safety and Hygiene Policies and Procedures course (now known as Food Safety Course Level 1), Rohana had nothing but praise for her trainer.
“The trainer was super-duper patient. Even through Zoom, he was very engaging. He was very knowledgeable about the field and enabled us to understand well by breaking down and teaching the content in small sections.”
The course was able to validate my knowledge and reassure me that I was on the right track with what I have been doing so far.
As she has had experience working in the F&B industry in the past, the course was more of a refresher. It gave her the confidence boost knowing that what she was doing had been in line with food safety procedures, and she has recommended the course to her friends as well.
Validating Her Knowledge
From butterscotch cookies to her best-selling double chocolate chip muffins, Rohana shares that business for WunderBake is growing but has its ups and downs. She has her heart set on opening a cafe one day, but with the current COVID situation, it remains a distant dream.
“For now, the goal is to create awareness and grow my brand. When COVID struck I was very unsure about what to do, and it felt like a waste to just close my company. Then this whole baking thing happened, and you could say I have found my calling,” smiled Rohana.
Rohana hopes to pick up new skills and knowledge that can help her grow her company, especially digital skills such as digital marketing and website creation.
Despite her business pivot, Rohana’s background as an educator and passion for helping others still shine through, as she plans to use her business as a platform to give employment opportunities to special needs individuals.
“I realised that there are a lot of special needs youths who are looking for a job, but find it very difficult. So I wanted to create an inclusive cafe where special needs people can have a safe environment to work in.”
Rohana’s road to where she is today has been a long and challenging journey, but her kind and determined spirit is an inspiration to all.
“To be honest, when I started out my educational programme, many people looked down on me as they didn’t believe a boss should be doing so much hands-on work,” Rohana teared up as she said. “I can’t change people’s mindsets but I truly believe that if you can do something, even if it’s small, you are helping others and impacting lives in your own way. That is what life is all about.”
“Do not lose hope,” she advises, to others who might be facing business challenges like her.
“Think out of the box and pivot to an area where you and your business can go along together. Be brave and prudent in your expenditure, and stay humble to do what is right for you. There is something for you out there, you just need to really look and you will find it!”
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