Sarena binti Mohd Yusof is a resilient mother of seven from the B40 group who is a successful business owner of Saz.Kitchen. Although affected by Covid-19, you will see a resilient mother of seven, who has gone through hardship in order to provide for her family because they depend on her.
This qualified school teacher made a 180-degree career change when a double tragedy struck her family. In 2002, her son was diagnosed with severe pneumonia and her husband suffered a major heart attack forcing Sarena to make financial decisions to stay afloat.
Taking Matters Into Her Own Hands
Sarena left her teaching job of 14 years to start her own mobile spa business. She obtained the Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia certification as a level 3 therapist and provided confinement care for women in post-labour, as well as body massage healing therapy to ailing women.
She was working 15 days a month and it gave her the flexibility needed to care for her son and husband, but the family was barely surviving financially. Relying solely on word-of-mouth sales, Sarena could not plan ahead for her family or put aside any money for savings.
At the start of 2020, Covid-19 hit and as a result of the restrictions placed on wellness businesses, Sarena was once again forced to rethink her career path.
Much Needed Hand Up
She was approached by Women of Will (WOW) to attend a series of entrepreneurship and development programmes for the B40 group. Struck by inspiration, Sarena decided to start and become an owner of a food business (called Saz.Kitchen) that included catering and ready-to-eat meals.
“I received so much encouragement and support from WOW. They helped me to grow my business and I even appeared on television and radio!” she said. WOW provided her with the tools and training to accelerate her business.
She created a presence online to reach a wider audience and made her ready-to-eat meals easy to order. Saz. Kitchen’s flagship products, ‘Sambal Daging Power’ and ‘Sambal Daging Hitam’ hit record high sales when it was launched earlier this year.
Saz. Kitchen now works with a factory to keep up with the demand for their signature meat sambals all over Malaysia. Her income has tripled and she has been able to re-invest some of her profits to engage with agents to extend her reach further.
A new enterprising spirit has been ignited in Sarena. This mother of seven is an inspiration to her children and a dedicated wife to her husband who still requires her care. When asked if she had regretted the years of struggle, Sarena simply laughed,
I love my business now and want to keep working hard at it. Someday I will become a successful businesswoman. When that day comes, I cannot wait to give back to other people in need.
Treat your tastebuds to one of Saz. Kitchen’s signature meat sambals. Hop on over to her Instagram page to order directly from her. To find out more about the amazing work that Women of Will are doing with and for women in the B40 communities, please follow them on Instagram and Facebook.