Interview with Eat Me Ice Cream Co-Founders, Amber Odhner & Catelyn Augustine
Company: Eat Me Ice Cream Interviewees: Co-Founders Amber Odhner & Catelyn Augustine Founded: October 2011
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I think the idea of the delight and customer acquisition […] are two components of what was taught that has helped us explore our brand more and explore our company. -Catelyn Augustine
Creative Startups: What does creativity mean to you?
Amber Odhner: Creativity means the ability to tap into and unlock your imagination. It’s something that’s so emphasized when we are kids, and as we find now, even in our lives and the market we are in, there is such a lack of true imagination that isn’t based off of old things being recycled.
Catelyn Augustine: To jump off of that — I think I have said this in the past: imagination or creativity are superpowers and we haven’t used them all the way. Being able to explore that and figure out what it is and use it every day and BRING IT, just like we were talking about from our childhood, is really important.
CS: What are your backgrounds? Do you have creative pasts?
AO: Definitely creative. I studied painting, fine arts, and I still paint. I’ve jumped around to a lot of odd jobs, but most always in the pursuit of fine arts.
CA: I studied fashion design and textile design. I have always been in between the world of art and science in a way. I also have studied massage therapy. I have a more holistic approach as well.
CS: Do you remember the first sale you made with Eat Me?
CA: Haha That’s a great question
AO: We can definitely remember the first market. We started at farmer’s markets.
CA: One of the first big sales was a private party that we did. We had packed up everything we owned because we were going away for the winter to Nicaragua. So, we pulled it all back out and made this party happen in less than 24 hours. It was kind of like, OK, this is pushing us forward.
CS: When you went to that first market with your product was the customer reaction what you had expected?
AO: I think there was a little more resistance to our flavors then we had anticipated. Our flavors are really funky. We definitely had to do more teaching than either of us had expected. It was a surprise that we had to educate people that ice cream could be this other experience. We both have such interest in pushing the boundaries and making it funky and fresh and new. People were very interested, which was more than we could ask for, curious, sometimes insulting, and when we could convince them to try [the ice cream] no one ever turned around and said ‘we didn’t like this.’ So, that was the art of the sell and part of the fun, but unexpected.
CS: Have there been any customer interactions that have influenced the way you do or approach things?
AO: I think we have streamlined things. We do offer two classic offerings which we didn’t start off with and ended up adopting. We have two sammies- the Hug Up which is a take on the classic twist with an all natural sprinkle and a Non-dairy S’mores with toasted vegan marshmallows. We always have those two mainstays. That is something that we added in response to the Rochester market.
CA: People wanted something that they could always count on rather than the flavor of the week that is constantly changing. That is something that we were educating people on: the flavor of the week goes with the growing season. It’s not always the chocolate almond. So a bit of stability.
AO: Which we were more than happy to provide.
CS: Is the market what you were expecting? Have your views changed since getting more into the business?
AO: It is definitely big. Going back to your other question; we started at farmers markets and people asked us to be in other places. So, things like special orders, catering, grocery, restaurants that was all haphazard. People came to us and said “We want you!” and were like “ok!”. So now we have so many spokes of the business and that’s what we are trying to refocus. What was the original focus and intent?
CA: We knew it was big in a sense –but it is BIG. So for the market opportunity or market reach people love ice cream and we can get in there. Though it might be a little bit challenging in term of size.
CS: What is Eat Me’s mission?
AO: Our mission is to unlock imaginations. To provide an ice cream alternative that is not only the future of food but encompasses the values that we want to see in the food system, and how we want that to change. Also to present a real tongue sparkler. Not only is it delightful on your tongue but it opens up that doorway into imagination and pushes boundaries. It’s a conscious brand; a brand that is just one step ahead and helping to guide new experiences. That’s what we love. We love food and see it as a gateway into not only pleasure, but also memorable experiences and elevating consciousness.
Our tagline is: Lick, Savor, Cry — That’s what we hope for everyone that enjoys our ice cream.
CS: What is the key problem you are solving and how are you making a difference?
CA: Our core problem would be to inspire and create the sense of loving your food, loving yourself, and using your imagination through these processes.
AO: We see an overall lack of brands that are inspiring, and a need as consumers change and markets change.
CA: Especially big box food brands.
AO: Yea, what’s the future of food? Is it Campbell’s soup? Is it these huge brands? I don’t think so. I think consumers are more demanding and have higher expectations of who is producing their food.
CA: It’s bringing the truth to food. Which has for so long basically been missing, it’s been an experiment in a sense.
AO: A failed experiment
CA: People are concerned with what they are putting in their mouths and what is affecting their body now. They are aware that when you are feeding your body the output is what you are feeding it, so it’s basically revealing the truth, with food.