If you happen to see 13-year-old Cailey Joann Ching in person, you might mistake her for a primary school student because of her petite frame.
Standing at just 106cm, Cailey actually suffers from an inherited disease called glycogen storage disease (GSD) type 1a which interferes with the way her body turns food into energy.
Cailey’s loving mother, 48-year-old Jenny Ding told FMT that Cailey’s liver does not work normally as it is unable to process complex sugar glycogen found in fruits, ice cream and milk.
Suffering from GSD however will not stop the ambitious Cailey from tackling the business world as she is now a junior entrepreneur on one of Malaysia’s largest small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) platforms, Caring Moms.
Two years ago, Jenny made the decision to introduce Cailey to the world of jewellery by sending her to a jewellery-making class in the Caring Moms community in order to fill her free time and exercise her brain since her physical activities are limited.
Because of GSD, Jenny takes extra precaution when prepping for her daughter’s meals in order to protect her fragile liver.
Speaking to FMT, Cailey said, “My mum sent me to earring-making classes and it was there that I discovered I was able to make pretty earrings on my own.”
“I want to make earrings because I can do it on my own without my mum around and on my own time,” said the plucky teen.
In fact, Cailey’s jewellery-making skills has gotten so good that she only takes 10 minutes to make an earring.
Cailey revealed that she owes her success to founder of Caring Moms, Auntie Shera Ann Bosco, who rooted for her and gave her the encouragement she needed.
In 2019, Auntie Shera helped Cailey set up her first booth for Cailey’s Handmade Jewellery at the Caring Moms Deepavali bazaar.
“There were also many other kind and generous aunties who came forward to give me more beads and accessories to help with my first ever bazaar booth.
“From my sales, I was able to purchase more beads and explore more beautiful jewellery designs,” said Cailey.
Since the bazaar proved success for Cailey, she was motivated to become an official seller on the Caring Moms platform, making her youngest entrepreneur there.
In order to care for Cailey full-time, Jenny left her accounting job and now bakes beautiful fondant cakes from her humble abode for a living.
“Cailey’s condition hinders her from consuming normal, sugar-filled cakes and when she reached the age where she began consuming solids, I thought why not bake her a cake that she is able to eat,” Jenny said.
When Jenny is busy with her orders, Cailey lends a helping hand to decorate cupcakes and accompany her mother.
Despite her condition, Cailey is determined that she will one day open up her own jewellery store. “I definitely got my entrepreneurial spirit from watching my mum,” she noted of her inspiration.
Being home-schooled full-time now means Cailey has to stop accepting new orders, but if you wish to buy her remaining handmade jewellery, you can contact Jenny at 012 3103740.