Sharp, poised, and extremely friendly, Generation T awardee Eugenie Patricia Agus is currently the talk of the town. Sat at the corner table of a tea parlour for an up-close interview, Eugenie could be easily mistaken as a normal university student. Unbeknown to passers-by, the lithe girlboss is the co-founder of PUYO, a local pudding company that has taken over the nation. The recipe behind PUYO’s success? An irresistible family history and a dash of courage.
Tell us the story behind your company
PUYO was launched on July 10, 2013, by my brother, Adrian, and me. My dad, who’s an avid cook, used to make silk puddings for dessert at home, so one day my brother and I thought: “Why don’t we try selling it?” We did just that, experimented for 2-3 months with different flavours and packaging, and started selling PUYO at bazaars, online, and to our friends and family, before pitching to open our stands at malls.
Right at the start, how much was your capital?
The initial capital was only Rp5 million and up until now we have never injected any more capital so we keep rotating that 5 million.
Rp5 million… really?
Yes, people find it hard to believe but it’s true! We didn’t take the money right away as profit. Up until now my brother and I have salaries, not dividends. We focus more on spending for the business, so the cashflow keeps rotating as we continue to expand.
So did you start all of this when you were in high school or university?
It was during my gap year between high school and university. I studied for a bit in Melbourne and I came back here to take business in Prasetya Mulya. We had started PUYO for approximately three months before I studied there.
Is it safe to say that you already had your heart set on entrepreneurship or did you just dive right in?
Kecemplung [accidentally]! I took interior design for my diploma degree. That’s why, in PUYO, I manage the creative side like branding, not the operational or financial sides [laughs].
Along the way did you have any mentors, aside from your brother?
For the first two years, the ones who helped us the most were our parents, who are very good at business, too. We were so young then, so we found it hard to hire people—to get the respect from people older than us, to conduct interviews, to fire people, and so on. We’re lucky to be able to consult with our parents on a daily basis. So in a way, it is kind of like a family business.
Who were the first people you recruited?
The ones who did the production at first, the staff already based in our house. For the first three months, we made PUYO with them at home non-stop from 7am to 11pm. We didn’t know whether it was going to be a success, so thought we might as well involve the people who were already with us.
Now our mbak is one of the heads of production. She’s really smart and talented, so we were lucky to have her on board. Similar to her, our mas from home is now the head of production who handles taste tests. As for our other first hires at the headquarters, most of them were my university friends and colleagues from Prasetya Mulia.
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