I own a vegan ice cream shop. Each winter, I catalog my business’s techniques, ingredients, and financial numbers, bind them up as a book, and open the doors to my factory for 5 days to entrepreneurs around the world who want to start an ice cream shop. Cool School is a veritable Ask Me Anything about the in’s and out’s of running a business: the struggles, the surprises, and the things you never knew were going to be part of your dream business package.
I remember once, getting a pint of vegan ice cream at a grocery store and then eating it in the parking lot. This was not the substitution for the sweet ritual I sought.
Why ice cream? For many of us, going out for ice cream is a way to mark special occasions. As a kid, getting an A+ on a report card meant a trip to the froyo shop. A school play on opening night was sure to end up with a visit to the neighborhood scoop shop. When I stopped eating dairy at the age of 25, I felt a sudden loss. How was I going to reward myself for accomplishments? While everyone else celebrated, was I really stuck ordering lemon sorbet or some other dairy-free afterthought? I remember once, getting a pint of vegan ice cream at a grocery store and then eating it in the parking lot. This was not the substitution for the sweet ritual I sought.
When I moved to Austin, Texas in 2008, it took only two months from landing a job at a vegan cafe-bakery to making dairy-free soft serve from scratch as my full time job. The result was an instant hit, and I went from selling products out of a toy shop to eventually starting Sweet Ritual with my business partner Valerie in 2010. As the popularity of our line of vegan soft serve flavors, shakes, and sundaes grew, so did the struggles in running a business.