This Young Man Bought and Renovated an Old House in Old Klang Road During the Pandemic

Source: Instagram | kenneththm

Kenneth Tan beat the odds and is now a thriving businessman in the F&B industry.

Achieving financial stability and buying a house at a young age is a rare feat these days. It usually takes either a privileged background, a solid family savings, or a sharp mind to navigate the challenges of saving and managing finances.

Kenneth Tan is a testament to this, having become a successful businessman in the F&B industry. At 30, he owns KL’s Wildflower café and managed to buy and renovate a landed property in Old Klang Road. What’s even more impressive is that he did this in 2022, amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Curious about how he managed it? We recently spoke to Tan to hear about his journey.

Wildflower Café

Kenneth entered the business world at a young age. When asked how he gathered the funds, Tan said it’s easier if the idea is good. For his café, he secured an investment before actually having the money, partly using his savings from university.

“When you’re young, you don’t overthink. You don’t worry as much because there aren’t many commitments. I think funding is hard only when you have a bad idea,” he shared.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “I had to beg for money to start,” he admitted. Eventually, he scraped together enough to launch his café. “Is it hard? It’s easier when you’re young and less calculated. As you grow older, it gets harder,” he reflected.

Family Reactions

When asked about his father’s reaction to his business ventures, Tan said, “He thought I was crazy. He still does, but he has a more open mind now. I’ve closed many businesses over the years. He’s always ready to provide me with food and shelter if things go south, or at least I hope so.”

Financial Philosophy

Tan comes from an average-income family. Losing his mother at 12 forced him to mature faster and view life differently. This early maturity also taught him about finances.

“In my early years, especially during college, I always thought I never want to worry about money. Not because I want to be rich, but I saw my father worry about sending me to college. It was extremely stressful,” he said.

To handle his situation, Tan learned about saving and investing. He was lucky to live with his father, so he didn’t worry about rent, and he had an old car from his father. This allowed him to invest almost all his early earnings, which paid off when he sold some investments to buy and renovate his house.

The House

Planning the renovation took nine months, and construction took another six months. Tan aimed for a house that felt like a gallery, museum, or hotel, blending well with Japanese design elements.

His father worried he was moving too fast, but Tan assured him it was the right move. “Usually, when you buy an asset when everyone is worried, you get a good deal, and the returns are higher,” he explained.

Looking back, it was a great deal. A similar house now could fetch RM1.3 million, compared to the RM920,000 he paid.

Social Media Journey

Tan began sharing his renovation journey on social media, fueled by his interest in design sparked by his café business.

“…the cafes and restaurants ended up cultivating my interest in design, architecture, and renovation. That’s why my social media is about it,” he said.

Social media was an experiment for him, part of his yearly challenge to do something uncomfortable. “Putting my face on camera is difficult for me,” he added.

He discovered that people enjoyed his home renovation content, possibly aided by the pandemic, which increased interest in interior design as people stayed home more.

Now, social media is a hobby for Tan, and he donates his earnings from it to charity.


When asked about success, Tan believes it comes to those who enjoy the ups and downs of life. “You have to make sacrifices to be successful. For some, it’s worth it; for others, it might not be. There’s nothing wrong with being average,” he concluded.

Video : Instagram | @kenneth_tan

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