Anyone who has ever expressed interest in wanting to learn something new or do something that scares them every day should definitely consider starting a small business. I will be honest with you, I live in constant fear. Sometimes of little things, like missing an important phone call or not being able to receive a delivery. Sometimes of bigger things like having the budget for crucial pieces of equipment or, of course, the biggest thing of all failure.
Have you ever found yourself praying to the plumbing gods? No, not like that time in college when you were hugging the toilet but actually praying that copper pipes dont fail or that a valve is in stock at the closest supply shop. Or been asked questions that you havent the first idea how to answer.
Over the last few months one inquiry that I have answered repeatedly is the whens-opening-day question. So close! Almost there! And I believe it every time! But inevitably a toilet springs a leak or something is backordered or a job isnt finished for lack of supplies. There are whole days where I barely even utter the words ice cream. Instead, I hear myself saying egg shell or vacuum breaker or access panel. I am often carrying boxes or cans of paint and coming home covered in sawdust rather than sugar. Its a strange time indeed.
On the weekends when construction ceases, I head back into the kitchen to continue to test and develop and perfect recipes and formulas, and try to nail down things like cost and ingredient sources. I think about marketing and how to approach wholesale accounts. I stress over flavor selection, trying to make sure theres something for everyone while remembering our mission and what makes our ice cream unique. My nights are usually spent in front of the computer, rearranging spreadsheet inputs and interpreting numbers, trying to be certain that Im not missing anything critical, or researching trends in both small business and the food/ice cream industries.
Were living in an odd limbo period in which Im very much ready to start this business, and yet not entirely ready just yet.
And yet through all the headaches, the backaches, the looming budget, the scrapes, the sleepless nights and the fears, I truly cannot complain. At the end of every night, I get to go to sleep knowing that Ive made some progress throughout the day or learned something new or accomplished something that I started out thinking I couldnt possibly achieve. I know that every waking minute Im working hard and am sometimes incredibly frustrated, but what Im working on is something about which I am so passionate and so excited, and Im so lucky for being able to do so.
Starting a small business is incredibly frightening. Its taxing both physically and mentally, and there are fleeting moments during which I wonder what on earth Ive gotten myself into. But Im quite certain that with the first cone that I serve to a fellow ice cream-lover, I will know that it was worth it all.
When is opening day, you ask? Soon. Very, very soon. :)
Well folks, the weather is finally starting to turn and Brooklyn is feeling especially vibrant. People are in high spirits as they populate the streets again, some of them even breaking out the shorts and short sleeves because here in the northeast we consider anything above 45 degrees to be practically a summer day after slogging through a long, brutal winter.
We are feeling equally inspired by the warmer weather and are pushing as hard as possible to open Hay Rosie. I can honestly say I have never been so excited for anything. Theres so much anticipation I just cant wait to share our ice creams! I think the change of seasons has made that desire even more pronounced, so I wanted to tell you a little bit about what were working on now and where we hope to be within the next month.
Our package design is just about finished thanks to our friends at Studio Nudge, and were finalizing the details on things like our nutrition facts, ingredient declarations and other labeling details. I am super excited about the way the packages are shaping up, and I think theyre a perfect reflection of the Hay Rosie brand.
Construction on our space is coming along quickly now. The production room in which well actually be making the ice cream took quite a bit of effort to prepare. We really wanted the conditions under which we pasteurize, make, and package our ice creams to be as perfect as we could get them. The less interference and smoother the prep space, the more energy we get to spend on creating the best product possible. At this point, were waiting on a few pieces of equipment and are moving into things like paint selection and decor. Thats especially encouraging to me because it means were getting really close!
Were also in the process of nailing down the details for the Tasting Room, which we could not have done without so many generous supporters of our Indiegogo campaign. Were looking at scooping 8 flavors at a time and whenever I get a moment to daydream, chances are that Im thinking about what will fill those eight slots from week to week. Ive got a list about a mile long (and growing by the day).
Ice cream development also continues daily. I try to make a point of making or testing every day. On weekends Im often making 6 or 7 batches of ice cream per day (or whatever my freezer will allow we have a lot of dedicated taste testers out there), and conducting a number of tests to make sure that we know how our products respond to all kinds of circumstances. Ice cream is a temperamental product and understanding its behavior will help us control the quality of each pint.
There are some other details, but I wont bore you with everything thats happening here at headquarters. Like any business, weve hit a few bumps in the road that have pushed back our projected opening date. If youd asked me a few months back I would have told you wed be off the ground by April 1. Well, Ive learned my lesson on that front, but I am saying that were seeing significant progress and will be up and running very soon. In the meantime, enjoy every single degree that the mercury climbs.
See you soon!
The Indiegogo campaign is officially over! We are totally thrilled by the response and the support we received throughout those crazy thirty days.
We had over 100 supporters and raised almost $5,000! We seriously cannot thank you all enough. Here is the final list of contributors (minus a few who chose to remain anonymous, of course. We like to think theyre spies or high-powered government officials).
Thanks to the fantastic response, were now working hard on developing the Tasting Room right alongside our production operation! Im especially excited about this and think it will be a really great addition to Hay Rosie.
Heres what were up to these days:
Construction: The construction on the space is moving forward, though if you have ever watched an episode of Property Brothers (or, like me - every episode of Property Brothers), you know that delays are inevitable. Weve hit a few. Nothing major, thank goodness (knock wood) its been really fun to watch the space take shape. Wait til you see it!
Packaging: Selecting packaging is a tough job! It seems like a no-brainer, but the reality is that its the first impression our product will make. How can we make it stand out? Be appealing? Be environmentally sound? Be cost-efficient? Be a size and shape and weight that will help us more easily ship our product? Be the best for our ice cream?
Most ice cream companies these days have abandoned the old cardboard cartons in favor of round plastic pints. Were exploring all options, and trying to make a determination on what we think will be the best for our particular brand, product, and market.
Flavor Selection: Perhaps the most daunting in my mind at the moment is choosing the flavors that will go into distribution. You know the saying Its like choosing a child? Thats right, ice cream flavors are my children. Expect a wallet-full of photos if you run into me on the street. This is Mint Cherry Mascarpone, and over here is young Salty Buttered Honey. But she has her eyes closed. Wait, I have a better one
The hard part is that we can only pack and distribute so many flavors for our initial launch. Weve developed dozens that we feel really great about (and certainly dozens more over the years), so narrowing it down to 3 or 4 has been incredibly difficult! So many factors at play: what we like, what our potential customers will want, what else is on the shelf, which flavors wont have ingredient overlap (just because I love honey in everything doesnt mean you do. Seriously though, some days I wonder if we should have been an all honey-based ice cream company. So many varieties!).
The fun part is that were doing a lot of taste testing, and since ice cream is a well-documented stress reliever, it really all balances out.
Stick around well be updating regularly as we move through some of the logistics and approach our launch date. Cant wait!
Weve been talking so much business lately, I thought it was about time to really dig into our ice cream a bit. I am so excited to tell you all about the flavors were working on and let you know what you can expect when we are fully operational! All that good stuff is coming very soon. But I think its best to start at the beginning…fundamentals, right?
Back when I began to seriously consider opening this business, I knew one thing: I wanted to make ice cream from scratch. Seems like a no-brainer, right? I thought so. But as I began researching, I realized that the truth of the matter is that the vast majority of ice cream shops/sellers in the US dont make their own base mix. Most purchase a mix from a dairy or supplier that is comprised of some combination of milk, cream, sugar, and depending on the destination, stabilizers and/or emulsifiers. It can then be flavored it, frozen, and sold. I had seen this in my own experience working in the ice cream business, but I had no idea how rare a made on-site ice cream establishment really was. I assure you, Im not knocking this model there are plenty of really great bases available, as evidenced by some of these fantastic businesses. There are even dairies out there that will create custom bases for certain customers, tailoring them to fit a particular brand or style. But, being the control freak that I am, I knew it would be really important to me that we make our own in-house.
For example, when making a caramel ice cream, if youre working with a standard mix, adjustments cannot be made to that base. Caramel is made of, among other things, sugar and cream. So in making the ice cream this way, wed essentially be adding sugar and cream to a base that already has sugar and cream. At Hay Rosie, our ice creams are formulated across the board to have a low relative sweetness level in order to give other flavors the floor. By making our own base in-house, when I make a caramel ice cream I have the ability to adjust sugar levels in the base so that the finished product is consistent with the sweetness level applied to all of our ice creams. Making our own base allows me the flexibility to change up those formulas, to construct each ice cream the way that I imagine it to be, and to allow them to evolve as necessary.
So the decision was a simple one, but execution was another story. Making our own base requires that we pasteurize the mix and therein lies the challenge. I found myself actually being advised at every turn by industry folks and educators that this was a nearly impossible model given the financial and regulatory challenges associated. In recent years, however, Ive been lucky enough to visit some super successful businesses right here in New York and around the country who have chosen this road; for me the proof was in their wonderful products.
In order to do this we actually need to become a Dairy Plant as recognized by the state of New York, which means purchasing a pasteurizer and being licensed through the NY State Dept of Agriculture. Turns out that when I said I wanted to make ice cream, what I meant was that I wanted to become a Dairy Processing Plant Superintendent! I found a really great family-run business that actually manufactures pasteurizers for small-scale dairies and theyre in the process of building our system.
The point to this story is that at Hay Rosie, our process will vary a little for each flavor, and that is information that is really important to keep in mind when we start talking about all the fantastic combinations weve been working on.
Now that weve got a little background down on our process, stay tuned to read about how were applying that system in crafting each of our scratch-made ice creams!
Today is Day 2 of our Indiegogo campaign, and we have had an incredible response so far! I am so amazed-slash-grateful for all the support both monetary and moral. You guys are so awesome!
The campaign has 29 days left, so you can definitely expect to see regular updates here for the duration. As mentioned, the funds from the campaign would be applied to a Tasting Room on site at our facility. It would give us a place to hang out and eat lots of ice cream, which lets be honest kind of a dream. It certainly is mine!
You can visit our the campaign here: http://igg.me/at/hayrosie/x/5923409
Sharing is hugely appreciated! I want to say thanks to all of you for making this more exciting every single day