Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership
We have seen double digit sales growth year over year since inception. The education [received through Recipe to Reality] on packaging requirements, distribution channels and contacts for industry experts were very valuable.
Becky App, Co-Founder
Growing a Personalized Ice Cream Gift Business
At eCreamery.com, customers can create, name, and ship personalized ice cream flavors. Owners Becky App and Abby Jordan combined their knowledge of the retail gift trade with their passion for exceptional foods to create their successful Omaha, Nebraska-based company. In addition to the online gift market, eCreamery.com operates an ice cream and gelato parlor in Omaha. eCreamery.com also offers a wholesale line of ice cream and gelato to the foodservice industry, specifically restaurants. One unique aspect is the ability of restaurants to design a signature flavor. Online sales now comprise 60% of business.
The two owners realized they could benefit from outside assistance in launching their business, especially as the food industry has myriad rules and regulations. To learn more about the intricacies of starting a food business Abby and Becky attended a seminar “From Recipe to Reality” offered by The Food Processing Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a NIST MEP affiliate.
The education they received from the training course included information on federal and state regulations, packaging requirements, distribution channels and valuable contacts with industry experts. The pair subsequently worked on recipe development, distribution (shipping) and revamping the website. The duo then launched eCreamery.com. A year ago, Abby and Becky were approached by The Food Processing Center to take part in a new initiative pioneered by Gallup, Inc. Over the past five years, Gallup has been adapting their globally validated behavioral economic sciences/systems specifically to help entrepreneurs increase sales, profits, and ultimately, to sustainably grow their businesses. The end product—the Entrepreneur Acceleration System —uses mentoring to facilitate an enterprise’s growth strategy. Abby and Becky welcomed the opportunity to work with a mentor to systematically review their operations and identify problem areas. They received customer service analysis and personality assessments and the discussions and activities made the owners analyze interactions and implement improvements in areas previously overlooked. The personality assessment gave eCreamery.com a clear understanding of their team and each member’s individual strengths. As a result, some specific job tasks were reassigned to better suit skill sets which in the end served everyone better. Employees were happier and performed more efficiently.
- Doubled sales
- Employment of 3 full-time and 9 part-time people
- Now shipping 5,000 ice cream gifts/year
- Appearance on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’, pitching their business to a panel of venture capitalists