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The O levels are over and many of our young Singaporeans are taking a breather from their studies before deciding on their next step.
Not for Rachel Ng though, the 16-year-old student of School of Science and Technology, Singapore is going back to her passion: Cookies.
In fact, she had taken a hiatus from her love for baking when the O levels rolled around. But with the end of the exams, she is back with a vengeance, with her first “comeback preorders” opening at 6pm on Saturday (Nov 20).
It started last year when Rachel discovered that she liked to come up with new cookie creations.
With more free time after the completion of her Secondary 3 examinations, Rachel decided to bake for friends and family and was pleasantly surprised when they came back with a lot of positive feedback.
Then she read heart-warming stories of people who stepped forward to give back with whatever talents they had. And that inspired her to use her bakes to help the less fortunate.
“I felt that I should also give back to society too,” Rachel tells The Pride.
That’s when she set up The Monster Cookie (the name came about when people told her how big her cookies turned out), which the savvy social media user promotes via various platforms.
But Rachel isn’t doing this for herself.
These projects help to support disadvantaged children and the less fortunate in Myanmar with funds for food, better schools and drinkable water from digging for wells.
So far, Rachel has raised almost $6,000 from the 12 bake sales since she started.
A typical day of baking
Running @themonstercookie_ independently from her home and with the help of her family, Rachel handles most of the logistics from start to end.
The preparation work starts with Rachel spending a few days going to various shops to buy the ingredients.
She then takes two days (“working from 6am to 9pm!” she exclaims) to make the cookie dough — enough for around 350 cookies. She rests the dough in the freezer before starting to bake on the weekends, where her 8-year-old oven is constantly on for almost 10 hours at a stretch.
And these are not your usual chocolate chip cookies either. Some of the flavours include matcha houjicha, coffee pecan, lemon pistachio and a fascinatingly named thai tea dulce de leche.
The last step of delivering the cookies is usually also done by Rachel personally (with an occasional helping hand from her supportive parents who worry that she might overwork herself).
She tells The Pride: “ It can be really tiring at times but I find it all really worth it when my customers tell me that they really enjoy them.”
View this post on Instagram
After her July bake sale (the last before she took her O-level break), she penned an enthusiastic thank-you note to all her supporters on Instagram.
In the post, she said that before starting The Monster Cookie, she rarely stepped into her kitchen and joked that her mum now complains about the mess she makes because she is baking every day.
Rachel continued to thank her mum, dad and brother for their help and support and even her grandmother for folding “hundreds of boxes” each time an order goes out.
She added: “I always feel really drained after every morning from baking so ! many ! cookies ! but whenever i see happy faces from receiving cookies, I always feel super energised ❤ and esp those who wrote me cards or sent me some food to recharge !! BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU 🥳”
She managed to raise more than $3,500 from the July sale alone, with many customers donating extra money on top of what they paid for the cookies.
Challenges and motivation
With good responses and many returning customers, one of Rachel’s challenges is being able to cope with the demand since she is still a student.
She says: “How the cookies sell out so fast really makes me so heartened that people enjoy them and would like to try them.”
As a novice when it comes to the business side of things, Rachel admits that she often finds herself overwhelmed by the responsibility.
However, she gets encouraged when people send in kind notes to keep her going.
One memorable experience was when one of her customers told her that they donated an extra $200 to GVH as a result of Rachel’s support for the non-profit.
Says Rachel: “This was really heartwarming as I never knew that I could use my cookies to touch someone’s heart and influence them to donate too.”
She acknowledges that growing up here, many young Singaporeans are privileged to receive a good education, something that not every person can get, especially in poorer countries overseas.
That’s why she decided to support charities like GVH that look overseas.
She adds: “I strongly believe that every child deserves a proper education.”
“I feel that at 16, I should also do my best to give back to society. If I have the ability to help others, why not?”
@themonstercookie_ will be releasing its pre-orders on Saturday (Nov 20), so fastest fingers first!