KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — The joy of receiving a well-curated food gift is indescribable. It starts from the packaging, next it's the big reveal with all the delicious goodies inside.

That's how you feel when you receive a gift curated by the people behind UNBOX by Huff and Puff.

With 20 years of events and marketing experience under their belt, Huff and Puff’s business hit a pause during the Covid-19 pandemic.

For Chinese New Year, they envisioned a grocery shop filled with various biscuits and snacks you can pick from tins.
For Chinese New Year, they envisioned a grocery shop filled with various biscuits and snacks you can pick from tins.

Despite the uncertain times, it became a window of opportunity for Huff and Puff to delve into the new territory of gifting. "Starting a business during the pandemic was challenging at the beginning as there was a lot of uncertainty about what was ahead but we saw it as an opportunity to pursue something that we always wanted to do which was gifting," explained Huff and Puff General Manager Cecilia Chong.

Chong was also confident that if they just stuck to their core philosophy of offering creative quality products to customers, the new business would work.

In August 2020, UNBOX by Huff and Puff launched their curated gift sets with Ipoh Ching Han Guan's mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn festival. It was a pairing of traditional mooncakes presented in eye-catching packaging.

You had tiffin carriers illustrated with Ipoh shophouses. There were bright coloured cans inspired by school canteen days. And there were dim sum baskets filled instead with mooncakes.

Who knew choosing a flavour for ‘bak kwa’ can be so much fun with their Spin for Luck Luck gift set.
Who knew choosing a flavour for ‘bak kwa’ can be so much fun with their Spin for Luck Luck gift set.

These weren't ordinary store bought gifts but specially selected items with a personalised air as they came with engraved name tags.

During the dreary days of the pandemic, those gifts managed to spread some happiness to people who received them from family and friends they were separated from.

Launched after two and a half months of planning, it was a rush for Huff and Puff to launch their first collection. Despite the challenges and growing pains they encountered, as shared by Chong, she feels that they were lessons to help them improve their business to better serve their customers.

She also added, "It’s been an amazing journey and the happy faces from our customers have been the best reward for us. But we believe that this is just the beginning for us. We have a long road ahead and we’re looking forward to it." 

For last year's Raya, there was cooking kits from chef Sherson Lian that made perfect gifts for those who wanted to whip up a delicious dish at home.
For last year's Raya, there was cooking kits from chef Sherson Lian that made perfect gifts for those who wanted to whip up a delicious dish at home.

Throughout the years, UNBOX by Huff and Puff has released various collections for Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Mid-Autumn Festival. Each season sees them working with various partners selected with a story to tell about their origins.

Chong elaborated that with each working relationship, they get to discover their partners' rich heritage and origin stories. "We always look for partners who have distinguished reputations for producing the best quality specialty food. We believe partnering with UNBOX can help their business as our eye-catching vintage designs are able to attract new segments of customers who previously might not have known about their products."

Each festival's gift set collections have unique themes. You have nostalgic elements being brought in such as childhood games that spark much fun and memories. Who can forget the array of childhood games and sweets from their Fuyoh series for this year's Chinese New Year gifting.

The games part was incorporated with their bak kwa offerings for Chinese New Year. With this set, they worked with BAK-OFF by Oloiya which saw various flavours of bak kwa being encapsulated in a fortune wheel game to decide which flavour to sample.

Nostalgic games and sweets were the hot topic for their Chinese New Year Fuyoh gift series.
Nostalgic games and sweets were the hot topic for their Chinese New Year Fuyoh gift series.

With some luck, you may score an unusual bak kut teh bak kwa or sample something you may avoid like the garlic bak kwa flavour.

Last year's Raya Jom series incorporated cooking kits too from chef Sherson Lian since it was that time when people were still stuck at home twiddling their thumbs.

For this Raya, their Oh! series features curated gifts using Mutiara Figs products made from their home grown fruits, nougats and dates from Baaji's and artisanal chocolates from Chocolate Concierge.

An important element for all their gift sets has been their multi-usage capabilities. Chong explained that this is in line with their goal to become a more environmentally sustainable company.

For this Raya, their Oh! series features artisanal chocolates crafted by Chocolate Concierge.
For this Raya, their Oh! series features artisanal chocolates crafted by Chocolate Concierge.

"We don’t want our customers to open the gifts and merely throw away the packaging. Why not use the cool looking vintage designed tiffin carrier for a container for keys or coins? Or reuse the wooden cabinets to store jewellery?"

With that in mind, UNBOX selects high quality materials for the packaging to ensure one can reuse it for a long time. It's worked well in favour of UNBOX too as Chong elaborated, "We’ve received very positive feedback from our customers on the reusability aspect of our packaging and we intend to build upon that moving forward."

As things are falling back to the normal groove and events make a return to the picture, Huff and Puff now has to juggle the two parts. Chong said, "We balance both sides by creating two separate teams to focus on both sides of the business."

In keeping with the reusability theme for their packaging, you can repurpose the cabinet into a place to store your jewellery.
In keeping with the reusability theme for their packaging, you can repurpose the cabinet into a place to store your jewellery.

Moving forward, Chong hopes to expand their seasonal gifting sets with that unique UNBOX by Huff and Puff signature for other festivals as well.

You can shop for your unique UNBOX by Huff and Puff gift sets at https://www.unboxbyhuffandpuff.com.my