“Running PUYO everyday is a lesson in itself”
It surely is the dream of many to have a successful business running even before graduating university and it definitely is not impossible. Eugenie Patricia, Co-Founder and Creative Director of PUYO Silky Desserts shows us that her dedication, hard work, and passion goes a long way in allowing her to achieve her goals. Since 2013, she has put her efforts in developing PUYO together with her team and enjoying every moment of it.
Name: Eugenie Patricia Agus
Current title/company: Co-Founder and Creative Director of PUYO Silky Desserts
Education: Current Undergraduate student at Prasetiya Mulya University majoring in Business
Let’s start in the beginning. How did you start PUYO? It all started with my dad’s love for cooking. He used to make desserts, similar to PUYO, but without the flavours. Me and my brother saw that it had a lot of potential; being delicious and light. We realised that in Indonesia, there isn’t a brand that is well known for pudding; there’s Haagen Dasz for ice-cream, J-CO for donuts, but not for pudding. So we found an opportunity and decided to create our own branding for the dessert. We started by experimenting with different flavours, until we came up with 5 flavours that weren’t really familiar in Indonesia, like Bubble Gum, Taro, and Green Tea, then launched it on 10 July 2013 through Instagram.
So Instagram played a big role in the launch and success of PUYO? Yes, it did, as well as bazaars. We joined several food bazaars like Market Museum and Jakarta Culinary Passport.
At first, did you expect that PUYO would be such a big success? Since the start, our goal was to open a PUYO store in a shopping mall, but it seemed like a long way for PUYO, so we started from the bottom. We started by using Instagram, joining food bazaars, and as it turns out, the reaction from the market is really good. Lots of people were queueing and buying PUYO and we were surprised. Our goal from the start was to make sure PUYO succeeded, so we stayed true to our goal and worked hard so PUYO can open in malls and keep growing.
Can you tell us about the team behind PUYO and how did you came up with the perfect team? As of now, PUYO’s team is made up of about 13 people in the Management team, and more than 100 employees in production and sales. We have Gary Evano for Marketing, Tabitha Audrey for Social Media, and then Difa Sabila for Public Relations. And then there’s the CEO, my brother Adrian Christopher Agus, and me as Creative Director. We also have a team in charge of Corporate Social Responsibilty, for “Cerita Mereka”, with Josefine Yaputri as Project Leader. Also, Shabrina Astrilia and Hans Christian are our graphic designers and Augie Aditya our videographer. The rest are freelance, and we have 3 Operations Managers, 2 Accountants, and 1 in Administration.
For our Creative team, I usually look for people who performed really well in Pop Up Market, one of Prasmul’s events, and offer them to be a part of PUYO. Some started by interning in PUYO, and the others are talented friends who I know from Prasmul. To find a great team is actually challenging, but what’s most important is that they should be cooperative to work with. Their GPA is not a priority. We also find experienced people to help us with Operations, some of whom used to work at Starbucks Coffee. As of now, hiring is not actually a problem because we still don’t need that many people.
What keeps you motivated and inspired to keep running PUYO? My team keeps me motivated. The more I recruit people to join the PUYO team, the more I am motivated to keep working. I have a greater responsibility and I am more driven to work hard together with them. Also, another motivation is for PUYO to keep growing. I want PUYO to be available all around Indonesia and to have sub brands as well. With all those motivations, being tired from campus work and having to go to all the meetings does not become a burden for me because I enjoy the whole process. My team never fails to make it fun. They’re like my closest friends, like family.
How do you encourage bonding in your team and are there any values that you would like to share with them? We treat everyone in our team as equals, and everyone is free to share their opinions and ideas. Also, everyone is empowered to make their own decisions and I want them to feel appreciated. Every meeting is like hanging out. We’ll eat together and share our own stories about our personal lives. We’re like a family. Also, I try my best to come to every meeting, even when the topic is not under my scope and stay involved in everything.
My dream is to have a library where there are books for us to read. I love to read, although sometimes I can’t afford the time. I like motivational books and women empowerment books, and I learn a lot from the stories of successful people. I hope that one day I can have a library where the PUYO team can find inspiring books to read, at least once a month. Then, we can have a sharing session once in a while and share what we learned. This is because I feel about 10 times more motivated after reading such books, and I feel that if my team can share the same hobby, it can boost our motivation even more. But maybe not yet, everyone is still busy in campus and other things.
What is the most valuable lesson that you’ve learned since starting PUYO? Running PUYO everyday is a lesson in itself. In the beginning, I didn’t really understand how to approach people properly, and little things like how to reply emails professionally, how to recruit people, and how to handle employees who expect a lot. Most of the people I meet and work with are older than me, so I learn how to respect them as well as be respected even though I am much younger. I like to meet and socialise with new people and I learn to do that too. I can also use the things that I have learned in class in managing PUYO and see how they apply in reality.
What is the most memorable achievement you’ve had in PUYO? Being in Kick Andy is definitely the most memorable moment i’ve had. They approached our team and interviewed us via telephone at first.
How do you manage to run your business while fulfilling the requirements in campus?Everything is easier to do when you’re passionate about it. It doesn’t become a burden. Also, going to campus is not that tiring because there are lots of free time. Some days there are only 2.5 hours of class and I can use the remaining time I have to work on developing PUYO, either attend a meeting or read something beneficial. To me, the most important thing is making sure that I stay healthy, because once I get sick, I am not able to accomplish anything. That is why I do some exercise at least two or three times a week or otherwise I get sick easily. Getting enough sleep is also important to have a good mood throughout the day. I try my best to sleep before 11 and wake up at 7 or 8 in the morning so I can be productive. Basically, you need to be able to juggle everything. It’s important to make a calendar to keep things organised. When someone has confirmed a meeting, I’d write it on my calendar right away.
Do you have any tips for people who want to start their own business and how to find self confidence in doing so? First and foremost, we need to have self confidence in our own product. We need to be sure that our product is the best that we can make for our target market. For me, with PUYO, it has to taste delicious and market tests need to be conducted to ask for feedback. We ask our friends and family for their opinions and accept all the negative and positive comments. I really love getting feedback and I feel thankful to get them because it allows us to focus on the improvements that help PUYO grow. Also, before launching a product, do not do it if you still have doubts on the product yourself.
photo taken from @puyodessert
In the future, what are your expectations for PUYO? To become an Indonesian brand that is of the same level with International brands. I hope that PUYO can grow and become as good as International brands, and develop both in Indonesia and also abroad.
What is your advice for people who are starting their own business? Just go with it, keep trying and don’t be afraid to fail. Work as hard as you can and most importantly, do what you love. Don’t do something because you have to, or because you have to make money. If you’re passion is there just do what you love and don’t think about the money. Make doing what you love the motivation. That way, you won’t feel like you’re actually working, and then suddenly you’ll realise you’re making money out of it. That’s just a bonus.
Also, never stop learning. As much as possible, learn from books and learn from people around you, not necessarily people who are more successful, because you can get a lot of new insights from everyone. Don’t stop growing and always try to gain new information different sources and apply it to your own business.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Hmm, maybe by then I’ll have my own children. Still working, of course. I hope PUYO is more successful by then; already a Group with many sub brands and where I will work at PUYO’s office. By then hopefully PUYO will have it’s own building, as well as become more successful.
If you could have lunch with anyone who would it be? Hm, in this world? I really like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. When I read her book I was really impressed, and I think that she’s really great. She’s a career women, she has a child, and her time management and how she handles everything is really admiring. So, probably her, I really admire her.
Your daily routine? I usually wake up at 7 or 8 in the morning on weekdays. Three times a week, I go to the gym to do some pilates, or boxing, depending on my personal trainer. After some exercise, I take a shower, go to class, and have meetings; or have meetings first, depending on my class schedule. At night, I like to watch TV series (maybe one or two episodes to calm myself down), read a book, chat, or call, and have some me time. Over the weekends, I try my best not to do any work and use it for time to hang out with my friends, usually in South Jakarta. Sunday is family day, I usually have lunch with my family in the afternoon and then do some exercise together. That’s basically it. There are also days when I just want to spend some time alone in my room and do nothing or go to the salon. Those times are really important to avoid being stressed out.
Books you love and want to recommend?
Girl Boss by Sophia Amoruso
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg