Have a sweet tooth? Well we do too and chanced upon every dessert lovers’ dream… DessertGuroo! Meet Crystel Tan, the founder of DessertGuroo. As a young girl, Crystel watched her parents work hard on their business (Asia Dessert Pte Ltd) and knew that she wanted to continue their legacy when she grew up. Today, she runs DessertGuroo, Singapore’s online dessert store! Convenient and easily prepared in less than 5 minutes, the desserts are freshly made in Singapore and delivered right to their customers’ doorsteps daily! We spoke to Crystel (she currently lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband who is serving our country!) via email to find out how DessertGuroo was born and also to find out from her what she missed about our little red dot!
Hey Crystel, first and foremost, thank you for accepting our interview! When did you move to Tucson, Arizona?
Its my pleasure, I love that Shiok SG is doing such a great job of forging Singapore’s unique identity! I moved to Tucson on January 2014 together with my husband for his 2 year posting here with the RSAF.
When was the last time you were back in Singapore? What do you miss the most?
I was back in November 2014 to visit and finish up a little administrative stuff. I definitely miss our roast chicken rice with a lot of chicken rice chilli!
Are you planning to move back home?
Yes, of course!
So what’s the dessert story? How did it all begin?
Back in the day, my father had his first taste of soursop during his travels, and then decided to experiment with the fruit to make it into a Soursop drink and as a complimentary topping for desserts. Hawker centers only served standard traditional desserts like ice kachang and fruit cocktail. So when he introduced this idea to the hawker centers, it was very well received!
This subsequently gave birth to the many other toppings that we developed that you may be familiar with today – for eg; Durian Ice Kachang, Mango Fruit cocktail, the famous Red Tea Jelly Longan of Changi V, and many others around hawker centers and restaurants today. This was the root of our modern Singaporean dessert culture and also the start of a family business that was founded by my parents in 1996.
After many years of hard work and strong belief in the business, Asia Dessert Pte Ltd now supplies to restaurants, hawker centers and cafes island wide, and all over world! Many of the drinks and desserts you have at restaurants, cafes and hawker stalls are actually prepared from the purees and dessert toppings we supply.
Wow! That’s very impressive! Did you know that you would be part of the family business or did your dad persuade you?
When I was growing up, I always watched my parents work hard on their business and always admired their kind and generous spirit. I knew I wanted to continue their legacy when I grew up. So even though I was trained as an Occupational Therapist and worked as one for 5 years, I decided one day that I really wanted to make the Singaporean dessert legacy live on in my time. So I worked part time as an OT, and part time in the business.
How did DessertGuroo come about?
As I worked in the business, I realised a gap whenever our family friends wanted a taste of our desserts straight from the factory. Our desserts then could only be experienced through a 2nd party (through restaurants, cafes or hawker stalls), and our end consumers did not have a chance to taste the desserts at its freshest and most delicious. Hence, DessertGuroo was borne out of my desire to share our delicious desserts straight with the end consumers.
I created all the products with the simple objective of making these desserts accessible and convenient for our end customers. I figured Singaporeans would love a good local dessert that could be created in less than 5 mins, but was still fresh and delicious. The especially popular Dessert Party Packs were designed to fulfil the needs of our modern customers!
Today, I manage the online aspects of the business from Tucson, Arizona as I am currently accompanying my husband who is serving the country with RSAF here.
Since we’re on the topic of desserts, what is your favourite local dessert?
My favourite local dessert definitely has to be DessertGuroo’s Mangotini! The smooth, slippery yet chewy texture of the Mango Linguinie, combined with the fragrant Mango Puree, is pure goodness.
What’s a typical day for you?
On typical weekdays, I usually start off with breakfast, catch up with news then plan my goals for the day. I then catch up with occupational therapy readings to stay current and at the moment, I’m working on an occupational therapy eBook. Occupational therapy has always been an area I want to serve the community with and I hope to continue to make a positive difference in someone’s life through occupational therapy in the ways I can, wherever I am.
I break for a simple lunch, then begin to work on DessertGuroo’s operations, product planning and marketing for the rest of the afternoon. The things I work on for the business are usually different everyday, depending on what matters need to be attended to first. Then before the sun sets, I go for my regular run at the gym. I like to meditate while I run, so I feel mentally and physically recharged each time!
After exercise, I head home to prepare dinner. I usually prefer fuss free but nutritious home cooked meals. After dinner, I work on my other small business that is still in the works, to be launched in the first quarter next year – www.goodmum.net. Basically, as I am a to-be mom, I have found that good quality baby breast pumps (in particular, Medela breast pumps) are ridiculously expensive in Singapore. I hope to bring in better prices for Singapore’s moms so that they can nurture their precious bundle of joy with good quality products, without the unnecessary high prices!
I rest and relax with a magazine or book in the late evenings then head to bed!
Advice for young entrepreneurs?
Persistence, a clear vision and a cheerful disposition will always get you nearer to your goal even if you do not see the results at the current moment. Also, working smart is as important as working hard, I believe in the Pareto principle. Lastly, humility is key to enduring success and lasting relationships – The moment you stop opening your mind because you think you know, is the time you start to stop learning.
Dessert Guroo is a Singapore’s HACCP and HALAL certified online dessert delivery store that delivers delicious desserts right to your doorstep. You can check out their delicious variety of dessert packs at www.dessertguroo.com!