In September 2016, Queen's University's Kim Ng spontaneously decided to start a business. Now she runs the campus-renowned online bakery Kmely Shop, which makes and sells dozens of donuts to Queen's students and the greater Kingston community on a weekly basis.

Kim has a distinctive style and a knack for great-tasting food. All of her donuts are vegan, and she also offers gluten-free options. Fluffy, cakey, and flavourful, these donuts do not disappoint (and the icing—too good for words). Here's how Kim created a thriving business all on her own.

Spoon: How did it all begin?

KN: In the past, I’ve done little business endeavours with different handmade products, so I just decided to do this on a whim. After having sold a few different products already, I made one donut and posted a picture of it on Instagram. People were saying that they liked this vegan donut thing and were asking me about it. I got more orders for that and it became my business.

Spoon: Where do you get your inspiration from?

KN: Most of my inspiration comes from either Instagram or Sydney, Australia because they have a really cool food and café scene. In Sydney, unicorn food is popular and people are doing all sorts of unique stuff, so I get my designs and inspirations from there.

Spoon: We all know university is a stressful place. How do you balance business, relationships, and school all at the same time?

KN: As an English major, I don’t really have to worry about constant assignments. I just have to sit down and write an essay every few weeks.

Some days are really crazy though. Some days I only get two hours of sleep because all I do is work on my business, answer emails, talk to customers, do homework, and buy groceries for baking. I have to buy everything from the grocery store near my house, usually on discount days, since I don’t have a car. I basically go to the grocery store every day because everything runs out at different times, so that can be a lot. 

Spoon: Do you see yourself doing something like this in the future?

KN: I can see it, but it's easier to run this business in a smaller city like Kingston. I don’t know if this business will sustain itself in Toronto because in Kingston there are less people doing what I do. It’s hard to have an online business when there are so many stores around, either in Toronto or the GTA. I want to learn marketing and stuff too, so even if I keep up my business I have to teach myself accounting and Photoshop.

Spoon: In an ideal world where you were successful in Toronto, would you keep running Kmely Shop?

KN: In an ideal world, I would open my own café. I would make something different every week. It would be whatever I want to do. It would be trends from around the world that I would be selling at this one shop, so instead of seeing something on the Internet and being like, "Oh I want that, but I can’t get that unless I go to LA or Hong Kong" I’m going to bring what’s really hot in these cities or what people want from abroad to my own shop. I don’t like repeating things. I like trying something new, and I think a lot of people like that too.

Spoon: Do you see yourself selling your products in cafés or other stores in Kingston?

KN: In the past, I've contacted different cafés but it never really worked out. As of now, I wait for people to contact me. I learned that instead of spending so much time asking for opportunities, just do what you do well and people will come to you. I find that true because I have so many clubs asking me to sponsor them or to sell my baked goods. If you do things well and concentrate on making your product better, people come to you.

Spoon: How do you see yourself in relation to other small food businesses in Kingston? 

KN: I feel like I just want to be friends with them. I think that all cafés and local business owners should be friends. I know there’s a competition aspect, but we all have unique things that we can learn from each other. Obviously I don’t want to give away everything, but I like the sharing mentality and businesses supporting each other. It’s hard to connect, I find, but some people are more open.

Spoon: What's your favourite donut or product that you make?

KN: A gluten-free chocolate donut with pure chocolate icing or no icing, but with a big cup of vanilla almond milk. The gluten-free ones are so soft and moist—just really good.

Thank you so much to Kim for taking time out of her busy schedule to chat with me. My mouth is drooling in anticipation of my next Kmely Shop donut. I urge all Queen's students to support this fantastic business (and person) and check out her amazing local, handmade, and vegan products.

Make sure to check out Kmely Shop on Instagram, and head over to her website to place an order of your own!