Being unable to travel overseas due to the pandemic might be a nightmare for some avid travellers. However, for cabin crews who work for airlines, it could mean losing their bread and butter as their income is highly dependent on the hours spent on flights. Being a flight attendant for AirAsiaX since the year 2010, Gary knew that he needed a backup plan when the first MCO ended in May 2020; hence, he started GalleyG from his home kitchen.
The Indonesian sambal he loves
Gary has been cooking and sharing photos of his dishes on his social media as a hobby. Monetising his interest in cooking would be a quick way to start earning a living; hence, he decided to promote his favourite Indonesian sambal which came from a recipe by his maid. Sambal is a versatile condiment that can be adapted into many Malaysian dishes. As many people are too busy to cook, Gary figured that purchasing sambal directly instead of making it from scratch can save a lot of time for them.
Operating a home kitchen is a tedious business. From sourcing raw ingredients, preparing the sambal, to dispatching the bottled goods, Gary handled it all on his own with only the help of his maid. Besides that, he handles the online presence of GalleyG with the knowledge he obtained from working in the media monitoring industry before he became a flight attendant. He could make around 20 sales per week by collecting orders on social media. As his sambal business grew, he decided to partner with FoodPanda to generate sales as well as utilise their delivery services. This has greatly reduced his workload as delivery is the most tiring step of the entire customer fulfilment process since he did deliveries himself at the beginning. To date, he receives a few hundred orders per month for his signature sambal with 2 other team members operating the business.
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Till the borders open up again
Knowing that many of his fellow cabin crews would have difficulties going through the pandemic, Gary started a Facebook group named Dari Dapur Cabin Crew Malaysia (Call Button Please), a platform where former or existing cabin crews can promote their own business on Facebook. As it might take another 2 to 3 years for the airline business to recover, Gary decided to explore the Malaysia entrepreneurship landscape for the time being. Besides this sambal business, he has partnered up with his friends to start Kesuma Insights, a company aiming to help home-based business owners and SME players in branding strategies and digital marketing.
During a crisis, you might feel depressed and lost about what to do next - your circle of friends and family members will be the most important support system that can support you mentally or financially to achieve the plans you have in mind.
Gary Faizol Abdullah is the founder of GalleyG and co-founder of Kesuma Insights. You can get in touch with him through GalleyG Authentic Cuisine by G.F.A on Google.
This article is part of the 5 real stories of starting a business in the midst of the pandemic series written to tell the stories of entrepreneurs who have braved through these difficult times and successfully started a business. Check out other stories here: