KUCHING: Twenty-nine-year-old Stephanie Jessy Jonny has been singing a different tune ever since the Covid-19 pandemic turned everything on its head.
Truth be told, the Iban songstress from Engkilili has had little choice but to swap the microphone with kitchen tools, in particular, baking equipment, if only to keep earning a decent income.
And to her credit Stephanie, who now lives in the city, appears to have made a smooth transition, although she still gets the occasional invite to sing at functions.
She readily admits that it was purely circumstances that made her venture into the kitchen for commercial reasons and in this respect concedes she has the pandemic to thank for giving her the idea of going into business.
“In the beginning, I started my business by selling melted cheese cakes and frozen cheese curry puff (karipap tarik cheese semongko),” said Stephanie who operates out of her home at Matang.
She makes pre-ordered cakes for birthdays, anniversaries, engagements and other occasions.
“I also sell packaged frozen curry puff paste, sambal nasi lemak, sambal petai, keropok mentah, fried anchovies, and I will soon also sell cookies and biscuits,” she told the New Sarawak Tribune.
“I usually ask my mother for help and prepare things to sell,” she said, pointing out that she has not had the luxury of hiring staff as the business is still in its infancy.
“I need to strategise, sometimes I don’t have enough time to rest because I have to see to orders from customers and preparations can be difficult because the dough is sometimes not right, difficult to slice and in cold weather,difficult to dry carved snacks.
“To make sambal nasi lemak, it is necessary to mix and cook the sambal for five hours until the oil breaks down so that the sambal can last a long time.
“To prepare the ingredients, it takes five to six hours, dry chilies need to be boiled, blended, onions need to be chopped, sliced in a blender and squeezed to remove the water,” she said, illustrating the tedious process.
But all things considered, her income has been encouraging although much depends on her orders and the fact that she only promotes her business on her social media accounts.
She is however determined to make things work and plans to also rope in Foodpanda and GrabFood services if and when business picks up.
As busy as all the cooking and baking is keeping her Stephanie, who is known for the Iban song “Bujang Engkilili, Chalun Menantu dan Keran” also obliges the occasional request for her to entertain at functions
On top of it she is also a social media influencer such as on Instagram and TikTok.
Sometimes she gets paid for reviewing other people’s products and also conducts basic baking classes for those want to learn how to make cakes and buns.
And if you are wondering if she ever gets tired, consider this – she also provides makeup services, all with the intention to broaden her income base.
“My dream is to become a successful entrepreneur with my own premises one day,” she said.
Anyone who wishes to know more can visit Stephanie Johnny Facebook page, Stephanie Johnny Enterprise Facebook page or Instagram stephanie_johnny_official or Tiktok Stephanie Johnny or call 017-8181788.