How Aishah Nordin Designed the Success of That Last Slice - Jiran

How Aishah Nordin Designed the Success of That Last Slice

The former graphic designer grew her home business into a successful artisanal bakery

Published on 25 May 2022

In 2009, Aishah Nordin began baking cakes as a hobby and generated some side income from selling her delectable treats to friends, colleagues, and family. In the last 13 years, she has successfully turned her passion into a sustainable artisanal bakery business, That Last Slice, which is currently located in SS15, Subang Jaya.  

As a former graphic designer, Aishah’s motivation to harness creativity and innovation is evident in her cakes and pastries. She has come a long way since she first started making chocolate moist and red velvet cakes. Her baking repertoire now includes more exquisite flavours like cendol, and browned butter salted honey cakes. Aishah shares how she gradually grew her successful business from a side project to a full-blown crowd favourite. 

How it all began 

jiran that last slice aishah nordin
That Last Slice founder, Aishah Nordin. 

Aishah has always honed her passion for baking. She often baked on weekends for family gatherings and her chocolate cake was always a hit. “At one of our gatherings, my aunt commented that I should bring it to all our family events and start a Facebook Page to promote it. I started with my personal Facebook account targeting friends and family,” she enthused.  

The name, That Last Slice was coined in conjunction with the launch of her small side business on Facebook. Her clientele included friends, family and her colleagues at the time. Back then, red velvet cake was a huge trend and Aishah decided that it was going to be the highlight of her menu along with the chocolate cake. “From there, I was motivated to start incorporating new flavours like cookies and cream and butterscotch cake”. 

Balancing her time between two jobs 

Luckily for Aishah, her role as a graphic designer in a publishing company had a set routine so it was easier for her to manage her time properly. “If it was nearing print time, I made sure I didn’t accept many cake orders. During normal times, I was able to take orders and it was a sacrifice I had to make.” That meant she had to start baking as soon as she finished work. “I only took orders that I could handle, and on weekends I stayed home so I could cater to more customers.” 

jiran that last slice counter

Deciding to become a full-time baker 

After a few years of juggling a side business, Aishah realised her situation wasn’t sustainable. She was getting more orders and it was finally time for her to decide whether to take on baking as a full-time business. 

“All I wanted to do was stay at home and focus on baking, and to determine if I had enough money to sustain that passion,” she explained. “To be honest it was getting too much for me to handle. From sourcing for ingredients to replying to messages on orders, frosting the cakes and packing them, it was a lot of work.” 

Back then, there were less competitors in the field than there is today. Marketing strategies revolve on how good your product was, and if the customers loved it, stick to that formula. Things have changed in the last decade. Despite having loyal customers, one still needs to have active social media accounts and be consistent with content. If not, you lose out in likes, follows, and engagements.  

Exploring new flavours 

The cake industry was going through a new evolution in the late noughties. More bakers and customers began to be adventurous in trying new flavours and ordering custom-made cakes instead of buying them from bakery chains. 

After several years of baking and experimenting with new flavours, Aishah enrolled herself at the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia to learn the art of making pastries and how she could incorporate local ingredients into them. “I saw the potential in that and was thinking what it would be like to make something like our teh tarik tart. It was an exciting period for me.”  

jiran that last slice cakes coffee

Step by step 

When Aishah became a full-time baker, she didn’t set a plan to open a café for her business. She gradually grew her business from operating in her mother’s kitchen and then subsequently moved to her own home. As her business flourished, Aishah decided to host baking classes, which led her to rent a residential apartment as a base of her operations.  

“In 2019, to make our cookies during Hari Raya season, I had to hire part-timers to get the job done. The studio space was too small, so I decided to look for a proper shop outlet in either Shah Alam, Saujana or Subang Jaya and that is how we found this place,” she recalled.  

The plan was to set up a larger baking space, but the outlet had an unused section that was perfect for a small café. “It was just supposed to be a spot where I highlighted my best-sellers and it turned out to be a full-fledged café.” The current location was perfect as there was ample space for additional staff to bake and run the café.  

It’s a risky business 

“Each time we expand and hire new staff is a big risk for me. The fact that we opened a fully operational café was another risk,” Aishah said. As a home baker who catered to pre-ordered whole cakes, running a café was initially a foreign idea to her. Her biggest concern was baking a certain number of desserts for the café and not being able to sell them. 

On top of fulfilling the custom-made cake orders from individual customers and other cafés, That Last Slice bakes 12 to 15 additional cakes daily to be sold as sliced items at its outlet. Catering to an unpredictable crowd at the café initially worried Aishah, but she overcame it with a well-planned strategy.

jiran that last slice kitchen

Offering exclusive flavours 

That Last Slice changes its café menu monthly to ease its dessert production. “One month is enough for people to enjoy what we offer and also create that sense of craving when it is taken off the menu,” Aishah explained. “We also started doing Wednesday and Thursday specials because those are our most quiet days in the week. We introduce a limited-edition dessert to create that buzz and demand among our customers.” 

One of the most anticipated offerings from That Last Slice is the seasonal Hari Raya cookies that are only available during the whole month of Ramadan. This strategy has served That Last Slice well as customers look forward to securing their exclusive desserts. 

What’s in the future? 

Aishah and her team are currently looking for a ground floor venue to set up a proper café while maintaining their current business model. She is more than ready to move That Last Slice to greener pastures. The secret to her success is based on customers’ trust. Clearly, her strategy of continuously offering new and innovative flavours works. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for That Last Slice. 

Want to elevate your business further? Head to unifi Business Club (uBC) and find out how to take your business to the next level.   

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