FROZEN yoghurt is hardly a novelty anymore, but Story In A Cup serves more than just a guilt-free treat. Carene Chong catches up with owners Alice Tay and Godwin Shim at the store’s first anniversary.
The final day of March saw the last traces of hot summer weather clinging to the air, making it a fine day for a cold treat. Gathering outside a brightly lit frozen yoghurt joint in the hidden Yarra Lane precinct, a crowd of fans seemed to have had the same idea.
But it wasn’t just coincidence that brought them there. These yoghurt fans had gathered to celebrate the first birthday of Story In A Cup. Young and old alike came together to indulge in free cups of frozen yoghurt, while participating in a raffle draw and digging into some good old birthday cake.
Among the crowd were the friends and relatives of the store’s owners Alice and Godwin.
Last year, the Malaysian husband and wife team opened the doors of their self-serve yoghurt and smoothie bar to Melburnians looking to find comfort in guilt-free treats. Since then, the joint has been the talk of the town with happy customers even crowning it the best yoghurt bar in Melbourne for 2011.
What sets this store apart from the competition is simple – the DIY style.
Customers can choose from typical yoghurt flavours like chocolate and blueberry or more unique ones like french cookie and creme, for a more gourmet experience. They then get to swirl the flavours of their choice into a cup, pile on some mouth-watering toppings like strawberry or Oreo pieces, top it off with a sauce of their choice and leave it to the scales to tell them what to pay. Healthy smoothies are also on the menu for thirsty health junkies.
But what most customers don’t realise is that with every scoop, they’re doing their bit for the community.
As the store’s namesake suggest, Godwin says “every single person has a different story to tell, and our cups represents that”.
“With every cup of yoghurt sold, we contribute part of the profit to charity organisations, not-for-profits, churches and communities. Our aim is to help others and make an impact on their lives, their stories, through our cups of yoghurt…that’s how the name, Story In A Cup, came about.”
Already, the store has joined forces with a number of different fundraising and welfare events including Wesley College’s Respect Week, which aims to promote a healthy student lifestyle, and Melbourne High School’s Student Alive fundraiser, which sends all proceeds to UNICEF to support Somalian children affected by flood and famine.
“Because we’re not a big corporation, we can afford to do more than just provide the products for fundraisers like these. We’re able to be more personal with the students and give them the support that they need too,” Alice says.
Good deeds aside, Alice and Godwin’s commitment to their community and educating others shows what savvy businessmen/woman they are, so it might come as a surprise to hear that neither hold a business degree. Alice has a Bachelors in computer science and a Masters in multimedia, while Godwin holds a Bachelors and Masters in bio-technology.
“In the middle of completing my degree in computer science, I realised that I didn’t want to do this every day for the rest of my life. There was something I was more passionate about – setting up my own business,” Alice says.
“Studying a particular course shouldn’t limit your future goals,” Godwin adds.
“You need to follow your dreams and your heart. It’s not just the technical skills you pick up in the course that matter, but the people skills like leadership, management and communication that will lead you somewhere.”
For all the aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to tread along the same path, the couple have one simple piece of advice – don’t be afraid to start small and take on anything and everything. What you do might not matter much at first, but little by little, it will lead to the bigger things in life.
“As long as you start out somewhere, you will get to where you want to be,” Alice says.
“The key is passion. More than the mere need to do something, you need to possess a passion for it to keep you going.”‘
So the next time you’re in the area, drop by Story In A Cup and give their delectable guilt-free desserts a try. Who knows? Your cup of froyo might even be someone else’s ticket to a better life.
Story In A Cup is located at 4/9 Yarra Street, South Yarra, and is open Monday-Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday- 12pm-1opm and Sunday 12pm-6pm. Ph: 9827 3777