As a video producer in TV and advertising, Khris developed an instinct to create things that people longed for, and when she left the job, it gave her the confidence to start a business with her partner Raph. They started together Hello donut.
“This whole project was actually created for almost two years. We went to donut classes together in 2018, but our work always stood in our way and our dough was not great, ”Raph told the Vulcan Post.
“Things clicked for the first time after Khris took that class again in January 2020, and we sold the first donut on March 28, 2020.”
Before starting the Halo donut from her mother’s kitchen, the entrepreneur left her job just 2 days before the announcement of the OKZ due to a toxic work environment.
Aware of the consequences of the pandemic, Khris only assumed that it would not be difficult for her to find a new job. In the meantime, she was busy baking and posting pictures of her creations online, which they then sent to friends who thought they were delicious.
“Friends of friends wanted them too, so Khris started selling them and more and more people were coming,” Raph shared.
The birth of Halo Donut was associated with Raph’s knowledge in the startup scene. The two gourmands have been dancing around the idea of starting an F&B business together for the longest time. After clearing some numbers, they eventually decided to upgrade Khris ’skills into the business, spending RM25K as start-up capital stemming from Raff’s savings.
Take the next step
Maybe all that investment paid off, because Halo Doughnut’s business was growing faster than they had hoped. Raph attributes this to Khris’s creativity and to what he thinks are the best donuts he’s come across; he had never liked donuts or desserts before.
Although Khris was able to hone her baking skills, her knowledge of bookkeeping and math was not up to standard. “She underestimated people by an average of 25% and shuffled orders,” Raph grinned.
“Here, my nerdy power came to my aid and I built a halo-adapted POS for her that we still use today.” And that’s why Raph prides itself on solving all the nerdy things for Halo Donut, from accounting to IT services and email interviews, he joked.
Khris’s experience in the media industry has also led her to the company’s presence on social media, which has been particularly helpful. Raph also made sure to point out that the whole “local support” movement played its part in helping them also attract customers.
They had to manage a 50-flavor menu that changes every week, it took them a few weeks to get into the rhythm of handling larger quantities of orders. The team also realized that it was unsustainable to run a Halo donut from Khrisa’s mother’s kitchen if they wanted to scale.
So they moved as one of Cookhouse’s first tenants as soon as the cloud kitchen opened in June 2020. By using the right equipment, they were able to make production times more predictable, where delivery orders will be issued daily by 12.30pm.
Raph thinks the move to the cloud kitchen was an invaluable stepping stone to work because they couldn’t afford their own shop window. However, the couple wants to set up their own store in the future, but only next year.
Exit for creativity
Although Raph no longer wants to go into details about Halo Doughnut’s revenue, he instead shared that they have sold about 17,000 donuts to date.
He proudly added that their business brings in enough money for the couple to move on and be filled with optimism. Although it’s still not enough that I can afford to have Khris – who wakes up at 5.30am to make donuts – sleep over or still have his own shop.
Despite that, Khris can no longer return to the service after she plunged into the world of creative freedom and had executive power in the company. “He hopes this pay cut is just a short-term rate,” they said.
This year, the pair will focus on expanding Halo Doughnut’s team and its reach so Khris can take a step back from production. Once that is achieved, Khris will focus more on R&D and social media content to grow the company into a realm of food that sells much more than donuts.
- You can learn more about Halo Donuts here.
- You can read about more Malaysian startups that we have covered here.
Credits for prominent paintings: Khris and Raph, co-founders of Halo Donut