Author’s blurb: As someone who isn’t into cooking myself, I sure am into watching Masterchef and a whole lot of Buzzfeed’s Tasty, not to mention walking into kitchen appliance stores just to admire the cooking equipment.
Justin Lim, too, shares this sentiment about cooking appliances despite not being an avid cook or baker himself.
He recalls a childhood of waking up half-conscious to watch his mother add ingredients into a bowl and mix them until something began to form; They were his first few encounters of realising how essential kitchen equipment was to bakers.
Later, he grew up to major in mechanical engineering and did an internship abroad in a factory, but always on his mind was the intrigue to get to the bottom of a kitchen mixer’s mechanism.
Mixing It Together
To study what else was out there and how they could build a distinct stand mixer for his venture, Kitmens, he purchased many mixers from other brands to better understand the market he was tapping into.
With a heavy focus on function and performance, the first few versions of Kitmens’ mixers came out ugly and bulky.
They used these MVPs as a learning opportunity by sending them to baker friends to test their functionality and quality before going back to the drawing board with the newfound feedback.
In an interview with Vulcan Post, Justin shared that his vision was heavily inspired by Apple. He wanted the Kitmens’ mixer to be one that’s classy, trendy, and equipped with smart technology.
1.5 years later, Kitmens launched their first stand mixer, the KM-B5 with a full metal body and compact design that also doubles as storage space for the mixer’s different attachments.
The mixer comes with an LED display which functions as both a speed indicator and timer so bakers won’t need to set a separate timer to keep track of how long something’s been mixing.
When our sister brand DiscoverKL tested out the KM-B5, they found that it was much quieter than a Kenwood mixer.
Justin told Vulcan Post that the mixer was supposed to launch in March 2020, but they had to halt production during the MCO.
He said, “Because of the pandemic, we stopped immediately to restructure our plan. But in May 2020, many who were staying home from the MCO started baking!”
Seeing the opportunity, they quickly started production again to launch on October 10.
First Impressions Matter
Coming back to Justin’s fondness for Apple, he wanted to create a packaging for Kitmens that would be as minimalist and clean, making for a different unboxing experience for customers.
Think about the common packaging for kitchen appliances. You’d likely find the product’s benefits and features boasted on the box.
When you open its top flaps, you’ll be met with the top view of the mixer, seeing just its head under the polystyrene it’s protected by.
Justin wanted a different first impression for Kitmens’ mixer. He imagined a minimalist outer packaging (think Apple’s product boxes) that looked like a gift box, with the KM-B5 lying on its side to present its full view when opened.
But executing this idea would cost him RM20k on polystyrene alone. Due to its complex shape, a new mould for the polystyrene needed to be customised.
After weighing their decision, they concluded that they just didn’t have the budget at the time.
“So eventually we called off the gift box plan and stuck with normal packaging but still tried to improve on the outer box design with a more minimalist look and some quotes,” said Justin.
Made-To-Order Like Freshly Baked Goods
300 ready-stock mixers had sold out within Kitmens’ first week of launching, according to Justin. These are priced at RM1,095 each as they’re currently on sale (original price is RM1,495).
As it takes them 2 months to complete production on a new batch of stand mixers, Kitmens now only makes them based on pre-orders—a strategy they’re using to control and maintain a healthy cashflow.
The team is currently in discussions on exporting Kitmens’ KM-B5 to China and neighbouring countries like Brunei and Singapore.
Justin’s projecting that within the next 2 years, Kitmens will have over 10 products under its name, though they’re taking it slow.
“Developing a new brand and product requires a lot of effort. We believe that focusing on one single task at a time and doing it best before moving to the next product has always been a safer option and responsible to the public,” he said.
Bottom line: Though the product has a sleek design, its full metal body would make it very heavy to move it in and out of storage. So for those with enough kitchen space, it makes for a good looking piece for home decor when sitting on the kitchen counter.
- You can learn more about Kitmens here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: Justin Lim, co-founder of Kitmens / Vulcan Post
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