Fluffy Gem's Local Collaboration with a Sarawak Food Business

Anne's Dessert, a homegrown brand in Malaysia's Sarawak state, offered a collaboration unique among its fellow food tenants within the vicinity of the Plaza Merdeka shopping mall in celebration of the Lunar New Year.

Those who purchased 20 Ringgit worth of food from their Dessert & Rojak outlet will get a limited-edition fan featuring a VTuber mascot.

Fluffy Gem, an indie from the said area, spearheaded the rare collaboration. We put the gemstone VTuber into the Spotlight and asked her what makes this collaboration work.

It started with a single idea

Gem traces back her collaboration with the business: "Since 2022, the rise of VTubers has spread like wildfire across the Internet and has become the norm. So I thought, 'Why not combine VTubers with [businesses]?,' since I haven't seen anyone do that before in my area in Sarawak."

Fortunately for Gem, she's able to test the idea through her family's business. "That was the idea that set everything in motion, using my family's business Anne's Dessert as a starting point and having Fluffy Gem as their official mascot.

"We started out with simple tote bags and having Fluffy Gem illustrations on it. By implementing the Purchase with Purchase technique we managed to raise the sales and had more people dropping by.

"As for this year's promotion, I focused more on the branding part as mascot tends to be an important element within the business industry. Incorporating this concept of VTubers as an element of this promotion could be an interesting idea to promote products."

Gem takes inspiration for this collaboration from the various setups done overseas, such as the CAPSULE cafe in Taiwan, and Animate cafe in Japan.

However, this not the only time VTubers get weaved in Sarawak's pop culture scene: Aside from having Borneo Matsuri which hosted VTuber guests, the west Malaysian state also had a festival stall borrowing hololive's lore-famous KFP name for its food.

How did the audience receive the promotion?

When asked what are the challenges she usually encounter doing this promotion, Gem said it's more about stretching the idea within their means.

"Organizing the promotions this year proved to be a smooth sailing compared to the 2022 pandemic, which was a trying time for a lot of businesses out there.
I usually had a rough time brainstorming new ideas following a strict budget. After that I will have to discuss with the family, laying out possible risks and expenses to get this project going."

Doing this for the second time around, Gem was able to figure out the reception of an audience which is slowly accepting VTubers into its local pop culture.

"This year's engagement was doing well especially when VTubers are getting common nowadays in the public eyes of Sarawak. It still depends on the interest of the individual, but responses have been majorly positive. Besides, who doesn't enjoy freebies?

"For 2024, over a half of our merchandise was purchased together with desserts and it keeps on rising. Despite being operated locally, there are many VTuber fans overseas that would like to get their hands on these merchandise, but due to distance they could only watch and support from afar.

"I noticed the increase in engagement from the public compared to previous years. Some consumers were able to remember the name of the VTuber, or at least took a glimpse at it as they passed by. I would say the younger generation are more keen into these kinds of events, but being the first VTuber to collaborate with a business locally in Sarawak, this is a great start."

Advice for VTubers who want to follow Gem's steps

Gem tells other VTubers who would like to set up their own collaboration to not rush their growth. "Don't try to go too fast and don't bite more than you can chew. Starting will always be the hardest challenge so focus on stabilizing yourself as a VTuber first.

"I understand that not every VTuber has the freedom or resources to execute some plans, so take it slowly and step by step; it would eventually work out. Remember that troubles can smell desperation.

She thanks her community for making this idea a reality: "Community bonding is also an important element in this. In time, the fanbase would like to get something special from their favorite VTuber so when it comes to merchandise, they will be very supportive of their oshi!"

The gemstone VTuber needed time and effort to be known before executing her collab idea with her family's business. "Using me as an example, I have been engaging with ACG events locally to promote the VTubing industry and myself to the crowds so our names would be spread out even more and become normalized. This simple action allows people to know about you and would be a possible supporter in the future."

At the time this post was published, Fluffy Gem's promotion has concluded with all of her gift fans given away. When asked about her plans for the future, she's not yet sure to host another collab but it's possible to do so.