Durian seller aims to make it big ... with a difference

KUALA LUMPUR: Ashton Koh Jia You is flexing his muscles, literally, in selling durians at a stall which he co-owns with a business partner.

The stall in Kepong here has stood out due to the presence of the hunk-ish seller with his well-chiseled midsection.

Koh, who built his impressive physique from four years of lifting weights, has been busy selling both Musang King and D24 durians sourced from Bentong, Pahang, alongside his business partner Jake Ng.

Despite having opened just slightly over a fortnight ago, Koh’s stall has been the centre of attraction on social media with posts of the shirtless 19-year-old Koh promoting the fruit.

“My business partner (Ng) and I discussed the idea of selling durians for several months prior and decided to take the plunge in the middle of June after much planning.

“Throughout the planning phase, we stumbled upon the idea of having me pose shirtless with the durians as part of a marketing gimmick for our products,” said Koh.

The response to the posts, however, came as a big surprise, he said, adding that it gained traction much better than expected.

“We didn’t expect our post to get so much attention within such a short time frame especially since we did not make any sponsored advertisements for it as well.

“Following the post, we also received an increasing number of enquiries and orders," he said.

He said that many also came to patronise his stall after seeing the posts online with some customers even taking pictures with him at the stall.

Koh noted that his parents were supportive of the idea for selling durians with relatives also coming to show their support.

His parents were initially surprised with the messages that poured in from relatives upon seeing the posts, asking whether the person really was him.

“Despite that, all my family members have shown unwavering support for this initiative,” Koh said, adding that his main goal for the business was to earn income and gain work experience along the way.

Koh, who will begin a software engineering course at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC), acknowledged that it would be challenging to juggle between both his studies and the business as well.

“For that, we will be operating only from Friday to Sunday, so there can be ample focus on studies and the business,” he said.

He added that it would also be a pleasant surprise if he was able to sell durians alongside the local "pioneer" of selling durians shirtless, Jordan Yeoh, who went viral in 2015 for doing so.

On the topic of entrepreneurship, Koh advised those thinking to venture towards it to plan appropriately and be courageous in taking the first step.

“There will be challenges along the way and the only way to solve them is by embracing them and most importantly, never give up,” he said.

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