50 Shades of Earl Grey, Bacon and Waffles and Cherry Brownie Cheesecake - these are just three of the 100 original flavours Chloe Jankowitz created from scratch in 365 days. When she originally set herself up for this challenge, all she expected was to learn how to make ice cream; little did she know that her quest for variety would take her down an entirely different career path.
Name: Chloe Jankowitz
Former 9-5: Working in the finance department at a high school
Lost the suit to: Start an ice cream catering company/continue Scoopsies
How did your blog, Scoopsies, come about?
I started Scoopsies a year and a half ago as a challenge to make 100 flavours in a year. I’m now working on starting my own ice cream catering company.
Why not an ice cream store?
I want to start small and work my way up. Eventually I’ll want to open a “store” store and possibly a food truck but I’m going to start out slow and not get ahead of myself. Right now I do run craft ice cream socials.
How did you think of making 100 flavours a reality?
It just came to me one day. I always made different flavours here and there but didn’t have any discipline. I’d make it one month and then stop for a few months. So I wanted something to force me to make it all the time and thought, “why don’t I just make 100 flavours in a year and blog about it?” I knew I had to complete it or it would be embarrassing!
That’s a lot of flavours! What was your end goal, aside from making all 100 flavours?
It was always in the back of my head that I wanted to start my own ice cream store. But with 100 Scoopsies, I thought I’d just learn how to really make ice cream and leave it at that. So when I started doing it and people caught on, I thought, “wow, maybe I can actually start my own business.”
Have you always been into food?
No! I wasn’t into cooking - I was a terrible cook before Scoopsies - but Scoopsies has made me more interested in food. I now care about ingredients, what goes into things and the quality of them. But I’ve always been into ice cream. About 10 years ago I worked at an ice cream store, and also during college. I loved serving people. But I’m very lactose intolerant so I don’t like eating it as much as I like serving it.
Wait, you’re a lactose intolerant ice cream maker? Who does the tasting when you make your own ice cream?
I do! I’m not supposed to eat it but I do. I can’t say no; I have to try it. But I also get my friends to try every flavour. If they come through my door, they have to try it. I don’t care if they’re not hungry; they’re eating it and giving me their opinion!
And why do you like serving people ice cream so much?
I love how happy it makes people. People get so excited about it I also like all the creativity behind ice cream. It’s a creative environment to work in. Mixing, matching, even making the menu signs - I love it.
Now you run Scoopsies full-time. What were you doing before?
I worked at a high school full-time while running Scoopsies on the side. But then I decided to go part-time at the school to work more on Scoopsies. And just a few months ago, I left for good and now I focus just on Scoopsies.
Did that take a lot of courage?
Yeah, especially financially. It’s a huge risk. I’m very hopeful, but I went back and forth on it for a long time. Eventually you have to bite the bullet and go for it. I’m working my hardest every day and hopefully that’ll be enough.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a sitcom writer.
That’s so different from what you’re doing now!
Yea, but Scoopsies involves a lot of creativity. I took that with me, and also from college - I studied television writing at Emerson. I may not be putting my degree to use directly, but there are so many things I learned from there that I use today - branding, for one.
As a fresh entrepreneur, what’s your typical day like?
I make ice cream every day for a few hours. That involves shopping, preparing, a lot of cleaning, making the ice cream, brainstorming new ideas, experimenting, paperwork, reaching out to people, networking, trying to get the business off of the ground, etc. I also have Scoopsies booths at festivals around Boston.
Right now I’m also working on starting an ice cream subscription service. You’d pay a monthly fee and you’d receive two or three pints of ice cream delivered to your door every month. There’s a company in NY called MilkMaid that does it, but nothing like this exists yet in Boston. So I want to get something like this going.
When you told your family and friends you were quitting your full-time job for Scoopsies, what did they say?
I actually didn’t tell anyone until I quit. But when I did tell everyone after, they were kind of concerned. Obviously they worried about stability and security. But they all know how serious and passionate I am, so they’re supportive and confident about me. Which is great.
Tell me your top three favourite flavours that you’ve made.
Banana chai, salted caramel, smoresies.
Those sound amazing.
They’re pretty good.
What’s your least favourite flavour that you’ve made?
I made this disgusting sriracha ice cream! I only shared it on my blog because my mom thought it was really good and said it tasted like pizza. I found it disgusting. But everyone is different - someone might love it, someone might hate it.
How full is your freezer?
My roommate probably hates me because it’s always stuffed. I always have to move stuff around. But I make up for it by letting him eat whatever he wants in there.
Any advice to someone who wants to make the same steps you made?
To talk to as many people in your field as possible. The hardest thing is not knowing what to do next. Every person starting a business gets to a point where they think, “okay, what’s my next step to move forward?”. I’ve reached out to successful ice cream makers and restaurant owners to see what works best for them. They’ve all given me a piece of advice that would’ve taken me months to do or think of. They make it easy for me. So keep networking and talking to people. More often than not, people are going to be helpful and willing.
You’re part of a great community then.
I am. I just went on a trip to the west coast to do an ice cream tour. I went to Los Angeles, then drove up the coast to San Francisco and talked to a bunch of ice cream shop owners. I came back feeling so inspired and with a real sense of community. It’s so important, and it was exactly what I needed.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?
I would like to go national. I’m confident that I’ll start local and in 10 years I’ll be all over the country, sharing my ice cream with whoever that wants to eat it.
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