Glitz Spotlight: Co-Founder Ilyas Talks Everything Sugar And I

Behind your favourite creations
By: agnes
January 12, 2022

If you’ve ever craved for some bombolonis, then you’ve most likely heard of Sugar And I. With a wide variety of flavours like lotus biscoff, Niko Neko matcha, and more, you’ll be spoilt for choice. This humble bakery nestles itself in the shop lots of SS14, churning out fresh and delightful sweet treats every day. But throughout the gorgeous packaging and beautiful bites, who’s behind it all? Well, meet founders Ilyas and Ilisa – a sister and brother duo who aims to bring happiness through their baked goods. Thus, on this week’s Glitz Spotlight, we speak to Ilyas on what goes on behind the scenes and what’s in store for 2022!

1. Hi Ilyas, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how did Sugar And I came about?

Hey readers, my name is Ilyas and I graduated from Monash University with an engineering Degree. My sister, also my partner, Ilisa, is an Econometric graduate from Monash University. The story of sugar and i started about 5 years back while my sister and i were in University. It all started one day when our parents told us about how they were craving for some brownies. We baked them some brownies and to our surprise they were thrilled and told us how happy they were. Their happiness inspired us to make more of it and we started to give it to our extended family members and neighbours. We started getting orders and that was our “AHA” moment. We started selling online and at booths in our university. Right after leaving uni, we decided to start our passion project and sell our baked goods online. Few years later here we are. 

2. Sugar And I was founded by you and your sister – what roles do the both of you take on?

My role for the company is to market, sell and grow the company while my sister’s role is to produce delicious and beautiful baked goods.

3. What is one thing people don’t know about Sugar And I?

We bootstrapped our company with no outside funding to learn the processes and develop grit within ourselves. 

Our brand name Sugar and I (SNI) is actually an acronym for my sister’s full name Sharifah Nur Ilisa and also Sister and I. 

4. What makes Sugar And I’s creations different from other bakeries?

We use high quality ingredients to produce delicious products and sell them at an affordable price. 

Since our company was built on the idea of celebrating happiness, we developed beautiful packaging for people to enjoy it for themselves and to give to their loved ones.

5. How does the process of coming out with different flavours look like?

We create internal competitions within our bakers. Everyone will need to come up with their own flavours and the winner will win a cash prize. They will then experiment on it until they are happy with their results. We will then call our existing customers to come in and rate their flavours with feedback. The products will then be further improved based on the comments. Once the product is improved we will call a different set of customers to give us their feedback and comments. Once everyone is happy with the flavour and results we will launch the flavour.

6. What has been the most challenging part of owning a bakery?

To manage the team would be the most challenging part of owning a bakery.

7. How about the most rewarding part of running Sugar And I?

To see our brand being recognised by people and to see the smiles of customers when they consume our goods. 

8. What is one advice you would give to any young and upcoming baker?

To start selling from home first. Focus online and build on your brand until you reach a steady flow of income before opening a bakery.

Also to always continuously learn about the business and improve your skills.

9. Are there any new plans for the bakery this year?

We are planning to open up several kiosks in Klang Valley, open our central kitchen and start our baking classes. 

10. Where do you wish to see Sugar And I in 10 years time?

For us to open up stores throughout Malaysia and some parts of the world to remind people to Celebrate happiness.

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