Saturday, September 6, 2014

Baking With Love, A Julie's Biscuit Factory Visit

I grew up eating Julie's. No, not Julie the person, but rather Julie's the biscuit brand, in case you think I'm cannibalistic or something. I would lie on the couch during evenings, munching on Julie's while watching the evening cartoons, because a growing boy's stomach gets hungry easily. I still remember how I enjoyed the taste of the peanut butter in my mouth, and my mum's fury when she found out that I've been eating biscuits just right before dinner.

So naturally, when an email landed in my inbox asking if I was interested to visit Julie's factory in Alor Gajah, Malacca, in a blogger's trip sponsored by Perfect Food Manufacturing, I immediately said yes. After all, I have always wanted to see how the biscuits are made, and it's not always that one gets sponsored to go on trips. Though I have to admit that I was a bit nervous at first when I found out that I would be going with the trip together with 16 other bloggers. Introverted like that.


our group of Singapore bloggers at Singapore, getting briefed by Ellice, our "tour guide" for the trip, before embarking to Julie's at Malacca


Visiting Julie's has certainly been eye opening, to be honest. I guess it's because that one could grow so accustomed to a certain brand until you forget that a brand is not just a static logo made up of machines, but rather an organization that is made up by the ideals of the people in it. And through this trip, I learned a little bit more about Julie's too, other than just how the biscuits are made, but also the vision and mission that drives the entire company itself.


the bloggers at Julie's Alor Gajah, with the staff as well! photo credits: William Tan


If you have not yet know, Julie's first started it's humble roots in the small town of Alor Gajah back in 1981, and over the years, have grown so much to be one of the top biscuit exporters in Southeast Asia, delivering their products to more than 60 countries in the world. It has received numerous awards, accreditation and accolades over the years since its first started, which you can view at its website.

Other than that, Julie's also has an impressive range of products as well under its name, from crackers to waffles, each with their own distinctive varieties of taste, meaning that there's something to suit the different tastes of consumers out there. Best of all, Julie's is a homegrown Malaysian brand! So yay, Malaysia! Yes, I'm secretly still proud of my home country like that.



so that's me, sharing a light moment with fellow bloggers before our briefing began. photo credits: William Tan


Anyways, enough of history lesson. Onwards towards the main topic of the day, the factory trip and the briefing itself. One of the biggest surprise that I got from the factory visit was the various projects and initiatives that Julie's undertake as a brand. Rather than just selling biscuits, Julie's aims to give back to the society at large as well, which I must admit is not something that we usually see from Malaysia brands. Julie's motto, Baked With Love, pretty much sums up the company's philosophy in its line of work.

I particularly liked the line that the director, Mr Martin Ang, shared with the rest of us during the tour, "If you are not going to eat your own product, why would you sell it to the public?" Okay I paraphrased it a little there, but you get the gist. Never sell a product that you yourself won't eat/use. Which is quite a commendable principle, to be honest.


Mr Martin Ang sharing some interesting pointers with us


In line with their philosophy, Julie's itself has launched two notable campaigns in an effort to give back to the society, the first being the Share the Love campaign, and the more recent one being The Best of You. Both campaigns are quite impressive in terms of their deployment and engagement. The Share the Love campaign for example, helped to raise fund for the needy and aimed to also honour the unsung heroes of everyday life. Julie's staff delivered biscuits to those who worked weird hours during our everyday lives, helped to donate to needy children and also produced five awesome songs as well to encourage others to do the same. Best of all, they also had a mini concert for all the Julie's staff as well! You can check out the Youtube channel for some example of the coverage of the campaign.


donation to harvest center. source


The more recent campaign, the Best of You, on the other hand, is a social movement that encourages each of us to find something or someone to bring out the best of us in everyday lives. Be it as a social worker or a mother, the movement challenges us to think of instances where we can give our best back to life, no matter how small we think our role is.

It is quite an inspiring movement, that I can say, as it challenges us to not take things for granted and to have gratitude. In Singapore itself, individuals are encouraged to submit their own stories where they find the best in themselves, culminating in a special public exhibition at the central atrium of Marina Square from 22 - 26 October 2014. There will be big names such as Royston Tan, Michelle Chong and even Kumar as well taking part in the movement.

As for the bloggers, we got caught to share our own best of our selves moment too, in which Ginevi, Joey and Joey (yes there were two Joeys on the trip) shared on their personal best of themselves moment. Even Ellice, our PR liaison, did so too. I was busy hiding in a corner, by the way. And you could submit your own stories too at http://the-best-of-you.com/browse/submissions/. Who knows, you story might just get featured at the exhibition as well.


ginevi sharing a moment on how her mother brings out the best in her

And of course, after the sharing session comes the moment we have all been waiting for, a visit to the production line! But first, we had to cover ourselves pretty much from head to toe to prevent ourselves from contaminating the production line. Would not be good to be dropping hair unto the newly baked biscuits now, isn't it.


lukey is also now a doctor, with a super oily forehead =.=


I must say, for a company that exports its product up to 60 countries around the world, I kinda expected towering skyscrapers and elaborate machines churning out biscuits non-stop on a 24/7 basis. While the latter part is somewhat true, there were not much of towering skyscrapers but rather a sleek production line where the biscuits go from dough to steaming hot biscuits in less than a football field length. Quite impressive, if you ask me.


factory snapshot 1, courtesy of Julie's

factory snapshot 2, courtesy of Julie's


At the end of everything, I must admit that I enjoyed myself quite a bit. In addition to seeing how the biscuits are made, we got to learn about all the innovative campaigns that Julie's is putting forward as well for society.

But most importantly, I guess the best experience that I had came from the staff. I don't know about you, but for me, the staff reflects everything about the company. They are the ones that carries the image of the brand, and no matter what you say about your company, one needs only to look at your staff to see what you said is true.

I felt that the staff at Julie's was genuinely friendly with us, and they were great hosts. Even though they had to sacrifice their weekend to accompany us all along, they were still full with smiles and enthusiasm, answering any questions that we might had and trying their best to fulfill our needs as well. It's quite heartening to the staff serve with such passion for the company, and I guess that speaks a lot as well for the culture of the company. And heck, I even made a new friend from the entire experience.


julie's certainly brought out the best in their staff as well. photo credits: william tan


All in all, I'm glad to have signed up for this blogger trip to Julie's. It has definitely been an enlightening trip. and hopefully I'll be able to continue working with Julie's as time passes! To check out more in Julies you can check out their website here and their Facebook page here!

Would like tho shout out to William too for helping to take the pictures and so graciously shared with the rest of us. And do keep an eye out for Julie's the Best of You movement. Quite a different approach to marketing, I must say. Until the next post, chiaoz!


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