Risk It All
21-year-old Tay Ho Min is fearless when it comes to her own business
written by charmaine chong | photos by chan yinh
Sleeping at 4am and even foregoing sleep at times, is nothing unusual for 21-year-old Tay Ho Min. Ho Min works harder than the majority of her peers to ensure her business, Avomin, runs smoothly.
Avomin is a dessert business that specialises in guilt-free brownies. The idea of substituting butter with avocado in brownies first came to Ho Min when she was a third-year student in Temasek Polytechnic’s Business Retail Management. Since then, she set her mind on starting her own business.
“I did not like the idea of working for someone because I feel that I do not get the recognition for the effort I put in my work. I decided to start my own business so that I would be able to get the whole sense of satisfaction and achievement,” she said.
Ho Min started selling her baked goods in 2017 through platforms such as school events, pop-up stalls and carnivals. After gaining a following of loyal customers who frequently ask for her upcoming whereabouts, she ventured into opening a physical shop a year later.
Countless hours were spent researching on the products, demographics, brand image, positioning, and most importantly, financial planning, which had to be done before Ho Min could open her shop.
“Because I’m only 21, money is an inevitable problem,” she shared.
With a supportive father, Ho Min and her father each forked out half the investment amount to start the business.
While most people would be worried about losing money or the business failing, Ho Min was different. Even with a risk of loss, she was extremely optimistic from the beginning. The thought of failing had never occurred to the then 20-year-old.
“I was just really happy about everything that was happening and I was very motivated to push on. The thought of failing just did not come to me.”
Like every business, Avomin has its ups and downs.
“Even though I am a new start up, I do admit that we have created a hype around the Shenton Way area because most of the office buildings nearby have tried or heard of our avocado brownies,” Ho Min said.
She added: “Holidays like Christmas, National Day and Mother’s Day are busier periods for the business. During off-seasons, business can get a little slow.”
Ho Min credits the business’ success to the many festive seasons in Singapore.
Of course, running your own business at only 21 years of age is definitely not an easy feat. Ho Min faces numerous challenges in her day-to-day work.
“There are many difficulties, I won’t lie. It really is not easy to start a business. The biggest difficulty for me is managing the operational side of the business,” she said.
“There were a lot of things I didn’t know, such as how the cash register worked, how to account for everything or how to disseminate wages to employees,” she added.
Even with ample research prior to opening the shop, Ho Min still had a lot to learn while on the job.
“There are many things that don’t go the way you expect and when you face certain challenges, you just have to learn how to deal with it,” she said.
Undeterred by the many difficulties, Ho Min enjoys every single moment of her job. She never dreads going to work and never finds work a chore because of her love and passion for baking.
Besides online and walk-in customers, Homin does corporate orders as well and she has been invited by companies as big as Citibank for an exclusive pop-up. She has also collaborated with GuavaPass for their Wellness Wednesday, an event where she did a brownie bar every Wednesday for a month.
Despite these successes, Homin is not stopping here. She has big plans to expand her business into supplying and distributing to more companies, collaborating with other brands and trying out different concepts and recipes in the near future.
“My business is like my own baby. I want to nurture it and watch it grow.”
She said: “For all that I have gone through - all the ups and downs, and stress - it is all worth it. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. Money can’t buy this.”
To Ho Min, the risk of this venture is completely worth it.
138 Robinson Rd #02-37, Oxley Tower