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How Pints of Joy owners pivoted to this people-pleasing passion

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If necessity is the mother of invention, consider what can be done when you’ve got two mothers in the mix.

The early months of the pandemic found two Silicon Valley friends, Ketki Dandekar and Arshiya Shaikh, searching for a new direction. Although they both loved their jobs in the finance world, they knew that their real passion involved working with people and making people happy.

They discovered their answer in a scoop of ice cream, founding Pints of Joy in Sunnyvale. Naturally, we had questions for these new “mompreneurs,” and they answered in tandem via email. Here’s an edited version of our chat.

Q: How did you two create this ice cream business during a pandemic?

A: After a few weeks of shelter-in-place, our families started “podding” together. We had many conversations about ways to turn the challenge of losing a job into an opportunity. On one such evening in April 2020, Ketki served us her homemade ice cream after dinner. The families had enjoyed her ice creams before, but this time the ice cream was different — we tasted an opportunity in it.

Realizing that neither of us has any background in food or consumer business, we started a journey of learning the nuances by talking to people around us who had traveled the road before. Everything, from regulatory requirements and permits, to the process, ingredients, vendors, labor, was new to us.

Fortunately, our phenomenal network helped us go through the learning quickly, we found a shared kitchen that cut our licensing time significantly, and we started testing the product with real customers in November 2020. Soon we were “mompreneurs,” running a new business, establishing new relationships with vendors, reaching out to customers, hiring and all the things that come with it.

Q: What makes your ice cream different from others? 

A: The biggest differentiator for Pints of Joy is the quality and the authenticity of our ingredients, which results in the most delicious and healthiest ice creams. It starts with what we put in, and equally importantly, don’t put in our ice creams. Because we don’t use artificial flavors, essences and colors, our ice creams give you the whole flavor experience — taste, smell, texture.

We’ve also let our creative juices flow and come up with some very exciting flavors that people can relate to. Our entire range of Mithai (Indian sweets) ice creams have been a hit with our patrons.

Q: From where do you source your ingredients?

A: We try to get as close to the point of origination of an ingredient as possible. For example, fruits for our fruity flavors like chikoo, custard apple, mango and guava, come from India, where these fruits are grown. Our pistachio butter comes from a manufacturer in Italy, who makes the best pistachio butter, and we won’t have anything else going in our Rose Pistachio ice cream!

We spent a lot of time finding the correct base for our ice creams as well, because we needed an eggless base that complements the other ingredients and doesn’t require us to add artificial flavors to offset taste.

The downside of this strategy is that it takes us longer to find the right ingredient sources and costs more. We recommend finishing the ice cream within four to six weeks for optimal taste and freshness.

Q: You offer how many flavors at any time?    

A: About 20 flavors from a list of 30. In January, we’ll feature our “Tilgul” ice cream (made with sesame, peanuts and jaggery from sugarcane) to celebrate Sankranti or Kite Festival. April is time for the color festival, Holi, and we offer Thandai, a very popular drink with fennel seeds, cardamom and poppy seeds. We also serve a wide range of non-dairy or vegan frozen desserts, using a base of coconut milk.

Q: What are your best sellers?

A: Alphonso Mango, Custard Apple and Gulab Jamun have been the constant bestsellers. Seasonal flavors like Tilgul (sesame candy), Thandai and Blueberry Lavender do present competition for the top spot when they are on the menu.

Q: How do you introduce Indian flavors to new customers? 

A: We recommend they try Pistachio Kulfi and Alphonso Mango as these are versatile flavors for all palates. A common trend we have seen is that after trying these flavors, our customers want to try everything, and they will gradually venture into flavors they don’t know. We also guarantee our customers that if they get a flavor and do not like it, they can bring back the pint/cup and we will replace it with a flavor they like.

Q: How did you start making boozy ice cream?

A: Some of our friends are big fans of bourbon and tempted us into creating Bourbon Toffee, which turned out to be a great hit on Father’s Day. Along the same line, we then tried Boozy Chocolate, Piña Colada and, recently, Irish Cream.

Q: Are you offering a winter holiday lineup?

A: We have Pumpkin Spice, Peppermint Cookies & Cream, Irish Cream and Maple Pecan.

Q: What’s next for Pints of Joy? 

A: Pints of Joy will continue to focus on brand building, outreach and partnerships as we move into the next year. We are very thrilled and excited to partner with our first restaurant, Zareen’s in Redwood City.



If necessity is the mother of invention, consider what can be done when you’ve got two mothers in the mix.

The early months of the pandemic found two Silicon Valley friends, Ketki Dandekar and Arshiya Shaikh, searching for a new direction. Although they both loved their jobs in the finance world, they knew that their real passion involved working with people and making people happy.

They discovered their answer in a scoop of ice cream, founding Pints of Joy in Sunnyvale. Naturally, we had questions for these new “mompreneurs,” and they answered in tandem via email. Here’s an edited version of our chat.

Q: How did you two create this ice cream business during a pandemic?

A: After a few weeks of shelter-in-place, our families started “podding” together. We had many conversations about ways to turn the challenge of losing a job into an opportunity. On one such evening in April 2020, Ketki served us her homemade ice cream after dinner. The families had enjoyed her ice creams before, but this time the ice cream was different — we tasted an opportunity in it.

Realizing that neither of us has any background in food or consumer business, we started a journey of learning the nuances by talking to people around us who had traveled the road before. Everything, from regulatory requirements and permits, to the process, ingredients, vendors, labor, was new to us.

Fortunately, our phenomenal network helped us go through the learning quickly, we found a shared kitchen that cut our licensing time significantly, and we started testing the product with real customers in November 2020. Soon we were “mompreneurs,” running a new business, establishing new relationships with vendors, reaching out to customers, hiring and all the things that come with it.

Q: What makes your ice cream different from others? 

A: The biggest differentiator for Pints of Joy is the quality and the authenticity of our ingredients, which results in the most delicious and healthiest ice creams. It starts with what we put in, and equally importantly, don’t put in our ice creams. Because we don’t use artificial flavors, essences and colors, our ice creams give you the whole flavor experience — taste, smell, texture.

We’ve also let our creative juices flow and come up with some very exciting flavors that people can relate to. Our entire range of Mithai (Indian sweets) ice creams have been a hit with our patrons.

Q: From where do you source your ingredients?

A: We try to get as close to the point of origination of an ingredient as possible. For example, fruits for our fruity flavors like chikoo, custard apple, mango and guava, come from India, where these fruits are grown. Our pistachio butter comes from a manufacturer in Italy, who makes the best pistachio butter, and we won’t have anything else going in our Rose Pistachio ice cream!

We spent a lot of time finding the correct base for our ice creams as well, because we needed an eggless base that complements the other ingredients and doesn’t require us to add artificial flavors to offset taste.

The downside of this strategy is that it takes us longer to find the right ingredient sources and costs more. We recommend finishing the ice cream within four to six weeks for optimal taste and freshness.

Q: You offer how many flavors at any time?    

A: About 20 flavors from a list of 30. In January, we’ll feature our “Tilgul” ice cream (made with sesame, peanuts and jaggery from sugarcane) to celebrate Sankranti or Kite Festival. April is time for the color festival, Holi, and we offer Thandai, a very popular drink with fennel seeds, cardamom and poppy seeds. We also serve a wide range of non-dairy or vegan frozen desserts, using a base of coconut milk.

Q: What are your best sellers?

A: Alphonso Mango, Custard Apple and Gulab Jamun have been the constant bestsellers. Seasonal flavors like Tilgul (sesame candy), Thandai and Blueberry Lavender do present competition for the top spot when they are on the menu.

Q: How do you introduce Indian flavors to new customers? 

A: We recommend they try Pistachio Kulfi and Alphonso Mango as these are versatile flavors for all palates. A common trend we have seen is that after trying these flavors, our customers want to try everything, and they will gradually venture into flavors they don’t know. We also guarantee our customers that if they get a flavor and do not like it, they can bring back the pint/cup and we will replace it with a flavor they like.

Q: How did you start making boozy ice cream?

A: Some of our friends are big fans of bourbon and tempted us into creating Bourbon Toffee, which turned out to be a great hit on Father’s Day. Along the same line, we then tried Boozy Chocolate, Piña Colada and, recently, Irish Cream.

Q: Are you offering a winter holiday lineup?

A: We have Pumpkin Spice, Peppermint Cookies & Cream, Irish Cream and Maple Pecan.

Q: What’s next for Pints of Joy? 

A: Pints of Joy will continue to focus on brand building, outreach and partnerships as we move into the next year. We are very thrilled and excited to partner with our first restaurant, Zareen’s in Redwood City.

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