MAN OF MANY HATS
For a person who manages over half a dozen companies, ranging from travel to publishing and exhibition businesses, to running spa and ice cream parlors, Datuk William Ng is a man of many hats.
Yet, the soft-spoken entrepreneur prefers to be low key, favouring to be known as the person that run things in the background.
“People know that I wear many hats but many do not know I used to study hotel management l. That was my first passion - it still is,” says Ng at the launch of Frozen ice-cream outlet in Paradigm Mall recently.
“It’s been a dream of mine to create things to serve,” Ng replies when asked about his venture into the ice-cream business. “It’s on the checklist of things that I wanted to,” he adds with a smile.
In every business that I do, it is (important) to really trust the people around us. Empower them so that they themselves can create magic
The proprietor of Frozen is on an expansion drive after finding success through the first outlet in Bangsar. Frozen serves artisanal ice-cream, inspired by well-known Australian pastry chef Christy Tania of MasterChef fame.
“For many years, I’ve admired the desserts from Australia as they tastes very good and are creatively done. A couple of years ago, I met with Christy and through a partnership, we created Frozen in Kuala Lumpur,” says Ng. The pastry chefs at the Bangsar outlet had trained under Christy.
Ng says he is looking to open at least three more outlets this year with a focus on shopping malls, unperturbed by a subdued retail environment. “I feel that the crowd is coming back to malls.”
“If you go to our shop on Fridays and weekends, we usually have people waiting to get into the shop. The demand is there. So, it is important for us to quickly open up more outlets,” says Ng.
What sets Frozen apart from other brands is the premium ingredients that goes into making the ice cream, says Ng. “We choose the best ingredients. We don’t use canned or bottled flavourings. For example, we buy 30 to 40 kilograms of dragon fruit everyday and we create the puree ourselves at our own kitchen in Bangsar.”
“Everything you taste is fresh,” says Ng. Price point is slightly higher than the average scoop of ice-cream but quality is top-notch, he assures.
“We don’t concern ourselves so much with what our competitors do, or add pressure to ourselves.”
“We do the best to come up with the best flavours, best ingredients and best ice cream cakes.” Frozen is also famous for its local-flavoured ice-creams like the Musang King and Kuih Talam, and beautifully crafted ice-cream cakes and sorbet.
“If we really put our love and heart to doing this, it will eventually succeed and that is what we hope to do,” adds Ng.
Apart from Frozen, Ng has business interests in spa, wellness, travel, finance and media. He is group publisher and editor-in-chief of Business Media International, a regional-focused business-to-business publishing, media and events company.
Ng also serves as President of Enterprise Asia, a non-governmental organisation for the promotion of entrepreneurship.
Effectively running multiple businesses is no easy task. It is daunting, but not impossible, says Ng. The key is building teams of employees who are motivated and engaged, so that they can practically manage the day-to-day operations themselves.
“In every business that I do, it is (important) to really trust the people around us. Empower them so that they themselves can create magic.”
“Some say they (employees) shouldn’t be given the responsibility because they will screw things up.”
“My belief is very simple - if you never give them the responsibility, how do you know if they are ready or not ready?” says Ng.