This month as we think about the freelance life, we got to talking about Jeni Britton Bauer, entrepreneur and creative genius behind Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Every time she and her team open another scoop shop I always feel encouraged by the GSD spirit and perseverance in a sweet saturated world. Lily was able to attend the opening night event in Los Feliz, CA this week and observe the excitement around the brand as well as the reactions as locals got to experience the best ice cream in the world, yeah, I said it.
Jeni's is based out of Columbus, Ohio. My first experience with it was my first month of college in 2003 at an art festival. I tried the Bangkok Peanut which use to be called Thai Chili and was a customer for life. Peanut, coconut and heat from cayenne peppers made my life complete! Pretty much any friend and family gathering is accompanied by this delicious ice cream, it feels like home to me.
Jeni didn't make it big at first. She had other ventures that didn't work out and pushed through knowing she was meant to be her own boss and use her creative mind to serve the community. That community has supported her and now has grown nationwide. Once you try it you'll never look back.
Now let's talk biz. I've listened to every podcast and read interviews as they pop up and have always been encouraged by this lady. I've also learned a few things along from those interviews and I want to share those today.
1. Sometimes your first idea isn't what what will stick, and that's okay.
Jeni didn't start as a huge success. She had failures but allowed those failures to educate her next moves and pushed forward. One of my favorite quotes she has said is, "I like going through open doors." Sometimes being flexible and open allows you to recognize opportunities as they present themselves, resulting in new successful adventures. Jeni though she would be a perfumer but as that didn't pan out she mixed one of her spicy essential oils into chocolate ice cream... try the Queen City Cayenne and tell me it wasn't a great choice!
2. Your employees are really important and should be treated as such.
You may not have employees, you may have a partner or even just occasionally need to collaborate with others, this note applies to all. Part of the Jeni's Ice Creams business model is a team lunch. Her and her creative team cook for the others and they sit and talk about what is going on in the company as well as their lives. The employees are valued, their insight, their opinions and their talents. Being understood and heard always makes me want to work harder, it causes me to care about my work and my teammates, I would gladly sign up for a job like this.
3. Service & community are key.
Columbus, Ohio and now the other cities that have had the honor of enjoying this product become loyal lovers of Jeni's. The experience makes the already amazing ice cream even more desirable. The scoop shops have always taken time with customer to make sure they get the best combination of flavors possible, which leaves a smile on their faces as well as the customers. The business also is committed to supporting the city and in turn have gained the respect of some of the most cynical people. There is a mutual respect and admiration that is tangible and praise worthy.
4. It's important to make something the world needs.
Jeni has said that she knew she wanted to make something and be an entrepreneur for as long as she can remember. She also mentions that it is important to make something the world needs. Although ice cream exists everywhere, this ice cream uses the very best ingredients, hand picked with intention. There are key flavors but she never let's that rest as each season and culture continues to change, new exciting flavors, smells and textures are always there to explore... thank goodness!
I could go on and on but will let you wrestle with those 4 points for now. Below are a few podcasts that were referenced in this post as well as the company website, read the about section and get inspired! For those readers who have yet to try Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams I beg you to order some immediately, I'm only looking out for you!