Have you ever wondered why would any young entrepreneur would go into a hawker career? We find out more from Walter Tay, Director of Cultiv8ight Pte Ltd, the company behind a new fresh fruit juice outlet, Jus Juice It, that hopes to be a game-changer in the Singapore fruit juice business. Moreover, the also founded Hawker Group in October 2020 as a consultancy and support group that aims to help aspiring hawkers towards a sustainable hawker business and culture.

Q: What made you decide to embark on a hawker career?

I was chasing after material things that I thought were of great importance that validated my existence and status in my early twenties. It came a day that I realized how much I had neglected my family when they were the ones who stood by me unconditionally. It was the lowest point of my life after several business venture failures and I was just jaded. My family stood by me, they never gave up on me and continued to encourage me to keep on trying. In 2015, after much thought, I decided to open a hawker stall with my father to sell fried carrot cake. This was my way of becoming more grounded as well as building a closer bond with my family.

Q: How do you see the hawker scene will be like in the next decade or so?

It will happen in due time where the hawker scene will gradually lose most of its traditional flavour due to changing needs of consumers as well as the sustainability of hawker business/culture. We will have to take proactive steps to motivate our hawkers to continue their trade through better recognition and earnings that justify the tough, challenging and long hours that go into preparing and running the hawker stall.

Q: How do you think the local hawker culture scene can be more vibrant?

One of the ways to make our hawker scene more vibrant is to integrate hawker centres with tourism spots. When the current pandemic is under control and the world is ready to travel again, the exchange of cultures and interaction with overseas visitors will inadvertently enhance the profile of our unique hawker scene where the overseas visitors will make when they share about it with their families and friends back home.

Q: Being the founder of Hawker Group, what are the challenges you face and how do you resolve them?

The goal of Hawker Group is to help aspiring hawkers to enter the trade and be sustainable in the long-run through mentorship, support and guidance. With the current pandemic situation, we are learning to adapt and respond to the changes necessary to keep hawker businesses viable and help to look for new ways to do what we were previously used to and might no longer be practical with the new norm. We are also working on building trust and fortifying the on-going relationships with all stakeholders so that we can move forward with ease once this pandemic situation improves.

There is no easy way out except hard work and passion.

Q: What was the impetus for him to start Jus Juice it with two of his friends?

I am constantly on the lookout to learn new things and improve myself that made me start Jus Juice It with Jeremy and Ixson. I am fortunate to be able to partner with people from whom I can gain new knowledge, skills and life lessons.

Q: What do you hope to achieve with Jus Juice It?

We want to make Jus Juice It a profitable and scalable F&B model, along with cultivating an inclusive and positive culture for the employees. We hope that Jus Juice It can become a renowned household name synonymous with innovative, fresh, quality fruit juice concoctions, and that juice-drinking will be integrated to Singaporeans’ daily lifestyle.

Q: What are the qualities that are needed to be an entrepreneur?

Never give up and always believe that hard work pays off in due time. We need to be pragmatic and not to harbour wishful thinking for overnight success. Last but not least, have a positive learning attitude and as the Chinese saying goes “活到老,学到老“ (Keep learning even as you grow older). You have to keep learning and upgrading your skills to stay ahead in the race.

Q: What was the key mantra that kept you going?

Life can be more beautiful if we work towards it with relentless pursuit.

Q: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

I strongly believe that there is no failure as long as we keep learning and trying. The only time we fail is when we stop.

Q: Tell us about your juices – why makes them different and how did you decide on the menu?

The juices at Jus Juice It are enhanced versions of traditional fruit juices found in our hawker centers/kopitiams. We have improved the taste of the juices with added fresh fruit bites, and there is no artificial sweeteners added to our juices.

For two months, we worked hard to create the recipes for the various concoctions for tasting and perfecting them. We took into consideration the fruit mix, texture and taste of the juices blended. We also conduct tasting sessions with our family members and close friends to gather their feedback. We have developed about 20 concoctions and finally narrowed down to 9 to be introduced for our launch in late December 2020.

Q: How has the reception been so far? What are the best-selling juices?

The reception has been very encouraging and positive. We have customers from as young as 3 years old to those in their 50s. Our best sellers include Berry Atas (which is a delicious concoction of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and grapes) and the recently-launched CoCo Craze, a perfect thirst-quencher made with fresh coconut water and generous chunks of coconut flesh.


We thank Walter for the interview and all the best for Jus Juice It!

Jus Juice It
V Hotel Lavender

Images: Jus Juice It

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