An Interview With Ifzan Ibrhaim, the man behind Wondermilk and Saudagar General Store…
Q: When did you start Wondermilk and Saudagar General Store?
A: I started Wondermilk, a while back in 2008 with five of my close friends. On the other hand, Saudagar started as an individual passion project in 2012, and was originally called Saudagar & Co. We later changed its name to Saudagar General Store, the word Saudagar actually means ‘trader or merchant’ in Malay, which was how the concept started as a place to trade in whatever I thought was beautiful at the time.
Q: What was it that inspired you to open both stores?
A: Wondermilk, was born out of something all of us wanted. As a group of friends, we were looking for a cosy little cafe to hang out at, and when our home cupcake business started booming and we needed an official space for pickups, we thought why not combine the two?
Q: I assume that wasn’t the case for Saudagar?
A: No, you’re right! I wanted to find a way to channel and express my love for all things beautiful, so I came up with the name to avoid limiting my creations. I started making men’s bracelets and accessories, which later evolved to SGS doing styling and floristry.
Q: We absolutely both of your Instagram accounts (@saudagargeneralstore/ @wondermilk)! What does beauty mean to you?
A: I guess as a graphic designer, I guess I’m lucky that I see beauty everywhere I go. It’s a bit difficult to pinpoint as it is subjective, but I often find beauty lies in the simplest of things and is a joy to discover, because it is usually where u least expect it. Something that stimulates and excite my senses. Often things I see, hear, feel, smell, or taste that then inspire me.
Q: As the world changes and businesses are having to adapt to new challenges, what motivates you?
A: My family and friends primarily. I want to be there for them and to show them that while the world may be changing that doesn’t necessarily have to be a negative thing. I have the will to survive and keep creating, and if I can make something beautiful amongst the chaos, I believe that is enough to take comfort in.
Q: Gun to your head, if you had to choose one, which brings you more joy flowers or cakes?
A: Haha! Both actually; they both make the recipient happy, that alone brings joy to what I do. I’m in the business of baking people happy quite literally, why else would we have flowers and cakes? Our tagline for Wondermilk is ‘Baking You Happy Everyday!’
Q: As someone who already has two businesses is there any other business that you find yourself considering venturing into?
A: Even I have to admit, I actually have my hands full at the moment with these two, but who knows what the future holds. I’ve always wanted to be a yoga instructor, so maybe I will be someday, we’re only really limited to what we belief we can do.
Q: What helps you to unwind after work?
A: Good food and good company, i.e. my wife and son, I’m at that age where I don’t feel the need to hang out outside the house that much anymore. Plus, my wife is Japanese, so she makes incredible Japanese home-cooked meals, can’t ask for more than that really.
Q: For anyone looking to start baking or gardening in any form, what would be your number one piece of advice?
A: Find the passion in what you do and stick to it. Find something about the craft that you really love, and incorporate it into everything you do at the start, as you go on you will learn to love more and more of it. Never give up.
Q: Admittedly it won't be a traditional one, but what are your plans for celebrating Raya?
A: This year everyone will be celebrating Raya on Instagram and Social Media. I have my family, so I have everything I need. It’s definitely going to be different, but it’s exciting, nonetheless. I guess we don’t have any plans so far, so we’ll just go with the flow.
To bring some joy into your lives you should definitely buy an arrangement from Saudagar General Store, or taste heaven in the form of the delicious cupcakes from Wondermilk:
Saudagar General Store