From mooncakes to pastries: How Golden Moments became the king of durian desserts in S’pore
Growing up, Josiah Jeremy never thought of running his own business.
He had worked in a corporate company for the past five years and finally took a leap of faith out of his comfort zone to create his own durian brand.
“I’m glad I did it because I am passionate about it,” said the 32-year-old.
Josiah founded Golden Moments back in 2017, which launched with their very first product: Signature 100% Mao Shan Wang Snow Skin Mooncake.
“The response was overwhelming and we achieved a six-figure digit with our product being sold out in one month,” said Josiah.
This remains their best-selling product so far, with over 400,000 pieces sold to date. This is not surprising, considering that Golden Moments is a pioneering player that sells durian mooncakes in Singapore — and actually does it well.
For durian lovers, by a durian lover
From day one, Josiah had always envisioned a brand that lives and breathes durian.
Golden Moments was built upon the idea of bringing together families and loved ones through the shared love of durians.
That was also how their brand name came about: they wanted to advocate the brand essence of “treasuring golden moments and celebrating relationships”.
“Being a durian lover, we aspire to be the durian revolution by creating cutting-edge durian gourmet treats that are fresh from farm to table,” said Josiah.
While durians are generally well-loved among Singaporeans, it is an acquired taste and some people may not be able to stand its pungent smell.
Diving into a durian F&B business could therefore mean that there’s a chance that he might not be able to capture everyone’s hearts and taste buds. Regardless, he was determined to start up Golden Moments because of his passion for durians.
While he loves durians, he is aware that they are not the easiest to work with. For one, they have a higher product cost compared to other fruits.
Moreover, Golden Moments only use Mao Shan Wang durians that are of “unparallelled AAA grade”, which is more expensive than other grades of durians.
“We also have to work closely with the durian plantation partners to get a constant supply of durians.”
“Lastly, we need to be very insightful and knowledgeable in this durian trade market as they are a seasonal fruit and the pricing fluctuates from season to season.”
Innovation is in their DNA
Although Golden Moments started out with a mooncake product, they have quickly expanded beyond this traditional delicacy.
In 2019, it launched a slew of product offerings such as the Signature Mao Shan Wang Galaxy Cake, Golden QQ (durian balls that are ‘mochi’-like), and Dark Chocolate Mao Shan Wang Durian Macaron.
The macaron in particular, is one of the few products that has since been discontinued.
“The gap was due to the customers’ buying behaviour. They prefer to have macarons in a restaurant over high tea, instead of buying from FMCG channels,” explained Josiah.
In 2020, they turned things up a notch with newer offerings like Hokkaido durian cheesecake, freshly-packed durians, vanilla and chocolate durian cream choux, Mao Shan Wang durian puffs, premium durian french crepe, more variations of durian cakes, and a fruity series of The Golden Bonbons.
According to Josiah, Golden Moments come up with new products every half a year to keep things fresh.
He is personally involved in the product research and development (R&D) stage to help uphold the company’s high and strict standards when it comes to product quality.
“I would work very closely together with the R&D team to create these products, and have focus groups to get feedback to nail down the taste, look and feel of the product.”
All in all, the entire product development process can take as long as six months, up to a year.
Josiah explained that there are different stages to this process. Firstly, they needed to conduct research and surveys to gain insights on what kind of trending products and flavours already exist in the market.
“We will then get our R&D team to work on it and ensure all products meet the food safety requirement with prior lab testing. The marketing team will then plan how to launch the product on our online and offline channels by tapping on our social media platforms.”
Fix your durian cravings anytime, anywhere
Customers can enjoy Golden Moments’ fresh durian treats with its islandwide delivery service, which promises to send it to your doorstep in under 90 minutes so you can satisfy your durian cravings anytime.
“We take pride in maintaining the freshness of our durian treats. We carefully place the items in cooler bags and make sure that the delivery process is fast and efficient, so that the orders will stay chilled (throughout the delivery),” said Josiah.
Alternatively, Golden Moments is also available on major food delivery platforms such as GrabFood, foodpanda and Deliveroo, as well as e-commerce platforms such as Shopee and Qoo10, as part of their delivery expansion efforts.
Josiah said that they have since received many online orders from customers, even during the circuit breaker period where many are forced to stay home.
When their durian cravings hit, they can simply order durian treats from Golden Moments with a few clicks.
Apart from online channels, Golden Moments has recently entered distribution channels such as local supermarkets like NTUC FairPrice and HAO mart, as well as Shell, Cheers and many more, as part of its ambition to have a presence across most FMCG channels.
“By expanding our presence to offline channels, customers can fix their durian cravings anytime, anywhere. We want to make our products convenient, accessible and affordable to our customers,” he said.
Jeanette Aw joins Golden Moments
Most recently, local actress, filmmaker and patissier Jeanette Aw has been appointed as Golden Moments’ newest Creative Director and Brand Ambassador.
Commenting on this appointment, Josiah said that her values resonate with the brand’s values. Furthermore, she has a background in baking as the actress is a Le Cordon Bleau-trained baker.
She was also involved in Golden Moments’ film advertisement, where she wrote, directed and acted in the brand’s first-ever short film that will be launched in due course.
As an ardent fan of Golden Moments herself, it’s noteworthy that she has since joined the Golden Moments family.
This Mother’s Day, Jeanette makes her debut as the face of Golden Moments, promoting its all-new Super Mama Rosette Cake.
The luxurious six-inch Rosette Cake is soft and creamy, delicately layered with charcoal buttercream, floral earl grey sponge and pure Mao Shan Wang durian puree.
Adhering to such special occasions is important, because “sales usually peak about 300 to 400 per cent” during this period, revealed Josiah, adding that they will be introducing another cake for Father’s Day.
Struggles before success
In 2018, Golden Moments received a S$1 million funding from Ivan Lee, who is also the founder of Thai Express Group.
Josiah counts his lucky stars to be able to find an investor and mentor who believes in him and the business. Beyond being a sounding board, Ivan levers his knowledge and experience by providing advice and support, guiding him closely in his business journey.
Although the homegrown brand has enjoyed success today, its startup journey was not a bed of roses.
“When starting up, people around me were doubtful and skeptical about how a durian FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) company sought to succeed. With optimism, I chose to believe in the vision and mission, as well as the potential of what I was starting.”
He ignored the naysayers and stuck to his guns. Today, Golden Moments has become a household name that is synonymous with durian delights.
When asked about the challenges in the early days, he said that being new to the industry, he had to be constantly on the ground. This meant being hands-on in every aspect — from manufacturing, production forecasting, inventory, fulfilment, to even branding.
Production forecasting in particular, was a real challenge, shared Josiah. While increased sales typically signal good news for the company, it can also pose a real challenge.
When this time of the year comes around, the team gets extremely busy. They would receive 300 to 400 deliveries a day, hitting a peak of 600 deliveries a day.
Logistics fulfilment then became another challenge, mimicking a domino effect.
“We had to meet 10 different logistic partners to work with and establish a framework for smooth fulfilment. During peak periods, we make sure to engage more logistic partners to better cope with the spike in orders,” he shared.
Another main challenge is hiring the right team. It is not easy to hire the right team with the right vision and values to push the business in the right direction.
Josiah expressed that he is glad to work alongside a team that is willing to take on this journey with him and quoted the saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.
Striking gold despite Covid-19
When Covid-19 hit last year, it marked one of the toughest times that the company has faced since its inception.
“Our Mid-Autumn Festival booths were affected and we had to take things online and (shift our) focus there. There were 300 to 400 on-demand deliveries every day, and the team had to make sure that all orders are fulfilled on time and accurately.”
Despite no pop-up booths, Golden Moments managed to set a sales record of S$1.5 million in a month.
This could also be attributed to the unique and interesting mooncake flavours it introduced last year like Lychee Martini, D24 Durian and Docello Hazelnut.
That same year, it also partnered homegrown goldsmith jewellery brand SK Jewellery to launch a limited edited 24K Truffle Mao Shan Wang snowskin mooncake that costs a whopping S$888.
According to their marketing research, this limited edition set — which came with a 24K gold bar — is the “most expensive mooncake in Singapore and probably in Asia.”
It’s also interesting to note that Golden Moments has successfully “sold out” all its mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival for the past four years, which is a testament to the popularity of its mooncakes.
Durian is undoubtedly the king of fruits, and it’s not an overstatement to say that Golden Moments has successfully climbed its way up to become the king of durian desserts in Singapore.
Featured Image Credit: Golden Moments