COVID-19 SPECIAL

Tour guide now serves up baked goods online as she puts hobby to work

After learning about e-commerce and digital marketing, Ms Josephine Oh, who was a tour guide for about three decades before the pandemic struck, decided to sell her baked goods online.
After learning about e-commerce and digital marketing, Ms Josephine Oh, who was a tour guide for about three decades before the pandemic struck, decided to sell her baked goods online.PHOTO: COURTESY OF JOSEPHINE OH

Among all the sectors hammered by the pandemic, tourism has certainly been one of the hardest hit, so it is no surprise that workers in the industry are trying to find other work.

Among them is Ms Josephine Oh, who was a tour guide for about three decades before the pandemic struck.

Ms Oh, 50, said: "By mid-February, my fellow tour guides and I were worried, but it didn't really hit me till the end of March. For a month, there was a bit of downtime for me, but then I started to panic.

"I knew this could not go on. The worst thing is that you don't see the light at the end of the tunnel. It was very scary and I decided that I should not just worry and do nothing about it."

Ms Oh signed up for courses with NTUC LearningHub, which provides training services and solutions.

She learnt about e-commerce and digital marketing. "It set me thinking - since I've already been baking, why not take it to the next level by selling online?

"I was very apprehensive as I'd never been on the computer much before. But I had no choice and I decided to jump on the bandwagon and digitalise myself."

Ms Oh started by putting her baked goods on e-commerce platform Carousell. "I started small because I didn't want to pay for a whole new platform. I got a couple of reviews and it gave me confidence."

She realised that many strangers were ordering her baked treats, not just family members or friends.

 
 
 
 

Ms Oh has also started her own website called Jobakesgreat, and is tracking trends, such as the growing popularity of burnt cheesecake, and selling hot items like it.

"I'm taking it one day at a time. Tourism is not coming back any time soon and I don't want to pin my hopes on it," she said.

"Baking and selling online is now a viable career option and many people do it."

Ms Oh has two school-going children and her husband is a self-employed entertainer.

She said the revenue from selling baked goods is still lower than her previous salary, but it is something she accepts for now as she embraces her new life.

"I am also getting into data analytics so I learn how to monitor the revenue," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2020, with the headline 'Tour guide now serves up baked goods online as she puts hobby to work'. Subscribe