Refusing to lay off her team amidst the MCO, she began a new biz to afford keeping them

Artisanal foods sound exclusive, or atas, as we say, which directly translates as “above”. 

“It gives the impression that artisanal food is for wannabes, but the simple truth is that the artisan food movement is all about going back to basics,” suggested Jasmine, the founder of an artisanal nut butter business, (TGFC). “It’s about getting to know how your food is made, its quality, as well as the freshness of ingredients used.” 

Unlike most startups, TGFC wasn’t born out of a passion for nut butters, or nuts for that matter. A year ago, Jasmine hit a wall with her previous venture during the pandemic and was cornered in a situation most business owners have since faced—to let her staff go.

Taking One For The Team

A breakfast spread Some members of Jasmine’s beloved team . With stringent demands, the biggest investment for TGFC’s capital was for purchasing machinery like nut mills and roasters.

Supported by her husband, Jasmine used up their savings to fund her new venture. The couple was confident that if they lost the money, it would be considered a learning cost; if TGFC grew and succeeded as intended, then her mission would be accomplished.

Aside from providing capital for the business, Jasmine credits a large portion of the investment to the team. At the start, staff were onboarded with partial salaries as Jasmine couldn’t afford to pay them in full. “I’ll always consider their sacrifice for partial salaries as part of the investment when we started this venture,” the entrepreneur gratefully expressed.

A Balancing Act

I’ve tried artisan nut butters from brands like before, and what I’ve always wondered was whether it was safe to consume the oil layer that floated to the top. It’s something you’ve probably seen inside Nutella jars too.

And that was TGFC’s first major challenge: production. Because the nut butters don’t contain preservatives, the oil separation formed in an unopened jar, though edible, tends to scare customers away. Jasmine explained that the reason this happens is due to nut butters having high contents of fat, which acts as a natural preservative so they don’t go bad quickly. Once a jar is opened, it should be finished within 90 days. 

Hence, Jasmine recommends against her customers buying TGFC’s products in bulk. “While it would be good for business, we would rather that our customers purchase what they need and consume it before they purchase the second jar,” she told us humbly.

This was where TGFC’s team had to find the balance in making appropriate quantities by batch, to maintain the nut butter’s quality and lifespan.

“There were months where we oversold and there were months where our families had to eat a lot of nut butters,” Jasmine explained. Today, the team has found a steady stream of customers and has a better idea of producing according to demands from consumers’ consumption cycles. 

Catering To The Health-Conscious 

Their nutritionist crafts recipes with the nut butters to use beyond a bread spread / Image Credit: The Good Fat Company

Those customers currently comprise health-conscious individuals who also care about the environment by reducing their meat consumption for protein. Jasmine shared that she was actually surprised with the age group of millennials purchasing her products, assuming that TGFC’s customer base would come from baby boomers instead. 

Since launching in October 2020, TGFC has sold over 8,000 jars and already has 10 nut butter variants. Each jar costs between RM29.90-RM65.90 each (depending on the type), and can be bought from TGFC’s website, or their stockists like , , and .

We are seven months old at the end of April, and we are grateful that our sales have been on a steady climb month-by-month. This is a more important indicator to me than profits because it means that we are delivering more and more of our nut butters to the people. I am less concerned about profits at this juncture as we are more focused on building our brand.

Jasmine Mohan, founder and CEO of The Good Fat Company.

Compared to her previous venture that’s currently being restructured, Jasmine’s confident that the lessons learnt from it will help her team fare better the second time around.

  • You can learn more about The Good Fat Company .

  • You can read other F&B articles that we’ve written .

Featured Image Credit: Jasmine Mohan, founder and CEO of The Good Fat Company

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