S4E4: Rising From the Pandemic: Side Hustles and Entrepreneurship

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Indonesian sisters Deborah Margaretha Tanudirjo and Elizabeth Margaretha, founders of Sundae Service Creamery, a NY-based small ice cream business, join us for a delicious conversation on their entrepreneurship journey. From an ice cream machine at home during the pandemic, to various locales throughout NYC, Debbie and Liz share with us how they turned their passion into an exciting side hustle and maneuvered growth and expansion through the pandemic.

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ABOUT THE SPEAKER

DEBBIE TANUDIRJO is the Co-Founder of Sundae Service Creamery alongside her older sister, Liz. She was born and raised in Indonesia before deciding to come to New York to attend NYU, and graduated in May 2021. There, she studied Media, Culture & Communications, a major that led to her interest in social media, marketing and branding. Prior to starting Sundae Service Creamery, she had experience working for several beauty brands as a Social Media Marketing intern, as well as doing freelance graphic design projects on the side. Her past experiences have allowed her to take charge over Sundae Service's creative marketing such as branding, social media, packaging design and more! Alongside running Sundae Service Creamery, she currently works full-time as a Performance Marketing Associate in NYC. 

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ELIZABETH MARGARETHA is the co-founder of Sundae Service. She graduated from NYU in 2018 as an Economics major, and is a huge foodie whose most recent obsession has been making fresh pasta. She has a particular soft spot for desserts and is a strong proponent of 30-minute power naps. 

Sundae Service Creamery is a NY-based small ice cream business, founded in July of 2020 by Indonesian sisters Deborah Margaretha Tanudirjo and Elizabeth Margaretha. It started as an online and delivery-only ice cream business that is now available in grocery stores throughout NYC and will soon be available on select food delivery platforms. Sundae Service features fun, inventive, Asian-inspired flavors based off some of the classic Asian drinks and desserts that the sisters grew up with such as Chinese tang yuan, Taiwanese pineapple cake, and Indonesian Es Puter. 

Download the episode's key takeaways here.

This episode was produced by Global Thinking Foundation USA and Hangar Studios.

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Follow Sundae Service Creamery on Instagram, Facebook, and check out their website!

Enter the giveaway here to win 2 pints of Sundae Service Creamery's delicious ice cream!

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View Transcript

[00:00:00] Mary: Welcome to "Your World Your Money" podcast.

 

[00:00:06] Nolan: We'll be talking about personal finance issues in a genuine way, exploring how money touches every part of our lives.

 

[00:00:13] Laquita Ann: We aim to shift perspectives and change up the status quo through conversations, resources and questions, always exploring the intersection of financial wellbeing, life and timely issues that impact us every day.

 

[00:00:27] Mary: "Your World Your Money" is brought to you by Hangar Studios, a New York City based recording studio and Global Thinking Foundation USA, a global nonprofit striving to create a world free from economic abuses, and where financial empowerment and equality are realities to all.

 

[00:00:55] Laquita Ann: Hello, "Your World, Your Money" listeners, it's LaQuita Ann here, and I am happy you're joining us for this very special conversation we're sharing today with two entrepreneurs, sisters who've turned their hobby and passion into a lucrative, delicious, and exciting side hustle. Joining me today are the founders of Sundae Service Creamery, a New York based small ice cream business founded in July of 2020 by Indonesian sisters, Debbie Margaretha Tanudirjo and Liz Maegaretha. Starting out as an online and delivery only ice cream business, Sundae Service is now available in grocery stores throughout New York City, and will soon be available on select food delivery platforms.

 

[00:01:44] Laquita Ann: Debbie and Liz will share with us their journey from hand churning ice cream as a hobby, to stocking their products in various locales throughout the city. As well, we'll learn more about their fun, inventive, Asian inspired flavors based off some of the classic Asian drinks and desserts that the sisters grew up with.

 

[00:02:04] Laquita Ann: Welcome Liz and Debbie. Thank you so much for joining us today.

 

[00:02:08] Debbie: Thank you so much for having us. We're so excited to speak with you.

 

[00:02:12] Laquita Ann: And I just wanted to start by understanding a little bit of your background and how Sundae Service first began.

 

[00:02:20] Debbie: Yeah, of course, a little bit about how Sunday service began, it was actually really random. So, I received an ice cream machine for my birthday and it was the middle of a pandemic. I was just so, so bored. And we were home all day. There was nothing to do. So, me and Liz kind of just got to playing around with ice cream, making all these flavors that we missed from home because we couldn't go home because of the pandemic.

 

[00:02:43] Debbie: So, it really kind of just started as a small passion project and a lot of pandemic boredom and kind of escalated into what it is today.

 

[00:02:53] Laquita Ann: Fantastic. So how did it start though, from a pandemic project? So many people, I think, were learning new skills during the pandemic, but how did you actually take that skill to a business and think through that?

 

[00:03:07] Liz: Yeah. So, because we were doing so many like trials with making ice cream, we honestly just didn't have the freezer space to keep all of our trials. So we'd be starting just like sharing it with friends and then we just started making more to give out to friends, because we were getting good feedback. They were like, 'oh, this is actually really good.'

 

[00:03:22] Liz: And that like motivated us to like, make more and give more out to friends. And then they - I think they were joking around and they were like, 'oh my gosh, you could turn this into a business.' And then Debs and I looked at each other, and we were like, 'could we? Like, maybe we actually could.' So then we started, we kind of wanted to see if there was, like, any interest in what we were doing, like Asian inspired ice cream flavors. Right. And then we actually posted to our personal Instagram stories, like polls, asking people to like, 'oh, can you fill out these polls? Just like do quick yes or no questions regarding like ice cream price points. Um, the flavors that we were thinking of like potentially launching.'

 

[00:03:56] Liz: And then from there we realized that like a lot of people sounded super excited for something like this to be available. And then we started planning out like, 'okay, like maybe we can actually start selling like ice cream.' And it started from a really small, like, home business, just the two of us in our apartment kitchen, like making ice cream. We just set up the Instagram account.

 

[00:04:16] Liz: We wanted it to be fully online at first because we realized that like, we didn't have the capital at all to do something bigger, honestly. Like something like a store or something. So it was kind of by chance that we started online, but we also wanted it to be online and delivery only because we realized that a lot of dessert places don't deliver ice cream, for good reasons. Right? It's a perishable product. It melts easily, but yeah, we realized ice cream was hard to come by during the pandemic. Like you could only get whatever was in your local grocery store or convenience store. So we were like, 'oh, Hey, like, there's a market for this. I guess like not many people out there are delivering ice cream, so let's try it out.'

 

[00:04:53] Laquita Ann: Wow. That's actually huge. So, so many people actually shifted their business to e-commerce during the pandemic, but it sounds like that's where you actually started was in e-commerce. And how did you find, during the pandemic, that you were really able to start spreading the word that - I think marketing and actually getting people to come is the hard part of the business.

 

[00:05:13] Debbie: Yeah, of course. We honestly just got really lucky. Everything was coming in from word of mouth. Again, we started off with friends and they were super supportive, so they shared to their friends. And I remember one of the most exciting moments for us was when we first got our non-friend order. Like we saw a name on the list and we were like, 'we don't know that name!'

 

[00:05:32] Debbie: 'Oh my goodness!' From then on, it was just more word of mouth marketing. I think we were able to set our Instagram up in a way that was very shareable. We worked hard to try to make everything, you know, as visually pleasing as possible. We would ask a lot of people to post on Instagram, even after a delivery, we would send a thank you message.

 

[00:05:54] Debbie: Be like, 'thank you for your order. If you love it, please let us know. Please tag us on Instagram, share it to your friends.' And everybody was just super sweet. And we had a lot of people just let their friends know, people at their work know.... And it kind of just escalated from there. So, yeah, in the beginning, we didn't even really do many like paid ads on Instagram at all.

 

[00:06:14] Debbie: We dabbled in them a little bit later, but in the beginning we were just lucky.

 

[00:06:20] Laquita Ann: That's amazing. Especially something that you said... the first non-friend. I think every entrepreneur can relate to that. Like you see a name and you're like, 'I don't know them. And they actually bought something.' That's amazing. And when you think about your backgrounds, tell us a little bit about your backgrounds. Did you come from a business world? Did you know how to set everything up and about funding and numbers and all of those things?

 

[00:06:42] Liz: Not exactly. I was an econ major. So, that at least that helped out on the numbers end of things. I did have a business studies minor, but I didn't end up pursuing finance at all. I went into like marketing analytics. But I think, like, Debs and I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. So, just being around that mindset constantly, I guess, without even realizing... influenced how we thought and how we wanted to be entrepreneurs as well.

 

[00:07:07] Debbie: So, we have an older sister and she mentioned, she was like, 'oh, I mean, Do you remember? Our grandpa actually started out his entire business in the kitchen as well.' He went into making topical skincare, like creams and things like that, but he started off looking at a recipe book that he found randomly, um, and just makes it in his kitchen and then get on his bike and try to promote his products to all of these different skincare, estheticians and things like that.

 

[00:07:34] Debbie: So it was just interesting to see that parallel between starting from your home kitchen and then trying to make your way up.

 

[00:07:41] Laquita Ann: Yeah, that's amazing. So you were actually hand churning ice cream in your kitchen? You were doing that, the whole sort of production. When did you realize that you needed to get out of your kitchen and this needed to be something a little bigger?

 

[00:07:55] Liz: Oh, I think it was honestly two things. It was one that we just like, were starting to not have the time to just constantly be making ice cream anymore. We were starting to see like orders get larger and we were like, 'oh, it really took a lot to just like..'. just the two of us making ice cream in our kitchen.

 

[00:08:13] Liz: Like, we were running out of capacity, both freezer wise and also just like machine wise. And then I was starting to have to come back into the office for work. And then I feel like, once pandemic restrictions started lifting, we realized that like, oh, we kind of want to be out and about a little more again, like we miss seeing friends. We miss like being able to do more .So than spending like 24 /7 at home making ice cream was just getting extremely exhausting.

 

[00:08:37] Liz: So, like I realized my company stopped sponsoring work visas. So I was like, oh shoot, like, I'm going to have to leave. Like my OPT period is up. So, I'm actually going to have to like leave the country and then I couldn't imagine like, poor Debs all alone in the kitchen churning out, like double the amount of ice cream without me there.

 

[00:08:53] Liz: So, I was like, 'okay, like, it's time that we need to change something.'

 

[00:08:57] Laquita Ann: Very interesting point that you made about your job though. So, you both were working other jobs. You both threw yourself full-time into this. Tell me about that. Because some entrepreneurs do have other jobs and they're trying to figure out how to balance it. Do you both have other jobs or is this kind of your full-time job?

 

[00:09:16] Debbie: Yeah. So, when we started, I was actually still a student. That's why I especially had so much free time on my hands. Um, but I graduated last may. And so now I have been working full time. I think that was also another, the reason why we decided to move forward and take things off our hands was I knew again, Liz was going to go back to Indonesia, but I also knew that I was going to start my full-time job soon.

 

[00:09:39] Debbie: So, I just physically could not have done them both. And so, I just kind of made sure that we were able to place our business or have our business in a way where it wasn't as hands-on anymore, so that I could wrap things up and by wrap things up, I mean, finish, reaching out to retailers, making sure that we had enough stores around the city to be able to just let those run and let those sell.

 

[00:10:02] Debbie: And then once that was completed, I started my full-time job. Wow. So, you work full time. How are you able to successfully balance the two and what was kind of your process for other entrepreneurs out there who might be trying to figure out how they can balance everything? It's a lot to do both. So how did you manage that?

 

[00:10:21] Debbie: Honestly, I'm still trying to figure that out. Um, but no, I think obviously just small tips here and there is making sure that you have a list of, to do's... Planning things in schedules ahead of time. I try to plan my weeks out at least a week in advance. So if there are any calls that I need to get to, I have it listed out on like a calendar app that I have.

 

[00:10:45] Debbie: Obviously too, thankfully, it's not just me. I have Liz. So we just make sure that we're always in communication. If there's something that I can't get to, then she will. If there's something she can't get you, then I will. In some ways, it actually kind of helps that we're on opposite time zones because on the hours that I can't work, she's working. In the hours that she can't work, I'm working.

 

[00:11:06] Debbie: So, it kind of worked out that way actually.

 

[00:11:09] Liz: It's like we're tag teaming it.

 

[00:11:10] Laquita Ann: Yeah. And can you tell us a little bit about the time zones. You're tag teaming, time zones, one person's in school. Full-time job. So you, you definitely have each other's backs, but how does that work with the time zone? So can you tell us just where are you based, Liz?

 

[00:11:26] Liz: I'm currently based in Indonesia and the time difference is about 12 hours. So, I feel like all the times that Debs is asleep or something like that, like I'll be off and I'll be able to handle anything that she hasn't been able to get to. I think being sisters that helps because we're so used to being in constant communication with each other, regardless. Like, even if we didn't have a business together, we'd probably like still chat every other day or something just to like check in on each other. So, communication wise, it's actually been really smooth. We're like really used to like updating each other on what's going on. And sometimes we'll have little business calls to like catch each other up and then we'll slip in like, 'oh my God. But what did he do this weekend?'

 

[00:12:04] Liz: So, communication wise, it's actually great. But just like one really funny thing that happened was when we were trying to like, split like social media responsibilities, for example, Deb has more of a background in like social media, marketing and Instagram. So she's like great with that. So I was like, okay, okay. Maybe like, I'll be in charge of the TikTok and I'll try to help out on the TikTok end.

 

[00:12:26] Liz: And we noticed that when I started uploading my TikToks from Indonesia, even when I was using a VPN, I was getting like 90% indonesian audience. So I was like, okay, this is great, but this is not helping us out because we're not selling icecream in Indonesia.

 

[00:12:42] Laquita Ann: We can't deliver to Indonesia. That's, that's fascinating with the VPN. It's like all of these small things that you don't necessarily think about .What have been some of the challenges that you've had in trying to operate your business?

 

[00:12:56] Debbie: Yeah, in terms of just challenges. We, especially initially when we were still kind of doing everything ourselves, one of the biggest things was the delivery aspect itself. We knew that we wanted that to be such a big part of how we started. Also, because we didn't have the funds again to have a physical location, but it was a lot of figuring out logistics to decide how we were going to deliver. So, especially initially, we couldn't even afford drivers with cars. So, we would pay drivers with bikes or electric scooters.

 

[00:13:25] Debbie: And obviously you can't have an entire cooler box on bikes. And so you would have like a little cooler, like a delivery backpack, like the ones that you see, like drivers, Postmates drivers have. Stuff then with ice packs and ice cream. And we would have to every Saturday organize a specific route for them to follow and they would end up having to drop by our place several times so that one, we could even deliver all the ice cream because not everything fit in that one backpack.... And two, to make sure that the last delivery stop wouldn't have completely melted ice cream. And so, it was honestly a lot of work, just figuring out that delivery route, figuring out how to message people, to let them know exactly what time or at least a time range of when their ice cream would come.

 

[00:14:08] Debbie: And yeah, it was a lot of, it was a lot of texting people with our personal numbers, which also, maybe wasn't the best idea, but it was fine.

 

[00:14:19] Laquita Ann: Here's the number. It's interesting what you said though, about doing what you could afford. So many times business owners are so overwhelmed and you made it happen. Let's talk about that for a second, because I think funding is a big issue in businesses and trying to figure out how to make it happen. What was that process for you? Did you get outside funding? Did you kind of bootstrap it in the beginning? How were your beginnings of the business?

 

[00:14:47] Liz: We definitely bootstrapped it. We still haven't gone through any of the processes of like raising funds, raising capital. We'd have to look into how to do that because honestly, I'm not familiar with that at all. Don't really know how to go about doing that. But thankfully, I think initially, like our capital costs are not very high because we got gifted this small ice cream machine. Right. So that was that. And then ingredients wise, we literally just bought everything off Costco, pretty much. We did. So we did as much as we could to really keep our costs low.

 

[00:15:20] Liz: And then we figured like, okay, so if we're going to take pre-orders throughout the week, Monday to Friday, we'll see right whether or not we've made enough money that week to cover the cost of being able to hire a delivery driver. And hence, like we would try to keep delivery costs lower just by delivering on a single day on Sunday.

 

[00:15:36] Liz: Like, hence the name. But yeah, like, so on some weeks when we didn't sell enough ice cream, for example, it would be Debs and I going out and delivering things. So ,we definitely did as much as we could to keep the costs low.

 

[00:15:48] Laquita Ann: Fantastic. And so let me ask this, whoever gifted you the ice cream machine, do they get free ice cream for life?

 

[00:15:58] Debbie: You know, the person that gave it to me was like, 'oh, you know, you know, that means I should get shares. Right.' But I mean, especially in the beginning, I was like, 'you know, those shares mean cents, right?'

 

[00:16:14] Laquita Ann: You're like, 'hold up the shares right now!' But yeah, I mean, that's amazing you get this ice cream machine and suddenly you have a full fledged business. The other thing that I find amazing is two minority women doing a business and having these kind of Asian inspired flavors. Tell me about how that came about. Was that initially, immediately you were like, yes, this is what we should do. Tell me about how your sort of culture played a role in this as well.

 

[00:16:42] Debbie: Yeah, I think going into it, we immediately knew that was what we wanted to do because, again, we weren't even planning to have a business. And so we were just making what we wanted and what we wanted were Asian flavors that we missed from home. And so, that was always the premise of our business was that we wanted to make the flavors that we had growing up that felt nostalgic to us that were fun to us as well. Like we love mixing just random, different flavors together. And also, you know, when we noticed, when we were going into a store, There weren't really many Asian flavor options for ice cream.

 

[00:17:14] Debbie: And so, we knew immediately, like there's a gap in the market. This is exactly what we would want to purchase. And we want to be able to make sure that we're creating a product that we truly a hundred percent believe in and are passionate about. And so it just worked out that there was a space in the market for that, and, and yeah.

 

[00:17:33] Laquita Ann: Do you feel like there were certain communities that kind of took to your product more than others? Or do you feel like everybody was excited? Do you think it was the Asian community? Was it the, the greater just people in general because everybody likes ice cream, of course?

 

[00:17:48] Liz: Definitely. I think the AAPI community particularly resonated with our products. Like, it would make us so happy whenever we would get texts or like Instagram DMS or emails, like saying like, 'oh my gosh, like I grew up with this flavor. I can't believe it's now like an ice cream form. Cause I haven't seen that before.' Because a lot of our ice creams are based off like drinks and desserts that we grew up with personally.

 

[00:18:07] Liz: And we'd be like, oh, how do we like transform this traditional Asian dessert into an ice cream in like kind of a . New, like, interesting way. So then whenever we get DMS from like people saying, 'oh my gosh, like, this tastes exactly like my mom's like Tongyuan that she makes at home or like, this tastes exactly like what I used to eat growing up.'

 

[00:18:25] Liz: It would make us so happy. And so, yeah.

 

[00:18:29] Laquita Ann: Nice. And I noticed one of the things too, that made me smile was when I was on your website, I noticed that there is so much attention to even your packaging or the, the ingredients you put into your ice cream. All of these things seem to be very, very conscious. So you've made a lot of these conscious decisions.

 

[00:18:46] Laquita Ann: Can you tell me about what your brand stands for and why you made some of these decisions? The thought process behind it.

 

[00:18:54] Debbie: Yeah, of course. So, first of all, when it came to being, we, we can't say we're fully eco-friendly, but we try our best. And that's just because we are very conscious of the fact that the food industry does create a tremendous amount of waste. That's really bad for the environment. And so. When we first started, we had full control over the packaging and we were able to find recyclable paper and then even going into the next process of expansion, we were also able to find pints that used post-consumer recycled paper products. And so, essentially paper that had already been recycled from past usage and then re-cleaned and re-mushed together, if you will, into a new paper product.

 

[00:19:32] Debbie: And so, yeah, we just wanted to make sure that, you know, as small of a business as we are, if we can make any impact at all, we want to be able to do that. And especially in the beginning too, we would only use paper products for everything. So all of our deliveries, no plastic, it would be like all the, all the pints and paper bags. Now that we have expanded, there is a little bit of plastic usage in just wrapping the pints together for delivery. And then there are things here and there that we unfortunately can't avoid. And so one of those things is also our ingredients.

 

[00:20:02] Debbie: So, when we were starting off on our own, we were able to have full, full control over all the ingredients. We could even make the toppings ourselves. And that was honestly a fun process and it was a way for us to also be able to keep all the ingredients super clean. Now that we've expanded, we have been able to find an ice cream base, essentially the milk cream mixture that is clean. So no artificial stabilizers, emulsifiers, whatnot.

 

[00:20:26] Debbie: Unfortunately, a few of the toppings that we have do have some artificial ingredients and that's just because it was virtually impossible to find something that was super clean for large-scale. And that's an issue that... I think is very prevalent in the food industry, is that when it comes to a larger scale, it's so hard to find clean ingredients.

 

[00:20:47] Debbie: And so it's something that hopefully in the future, if we have enough funds for, we could even partner with another small business who is making these toppings and be able to work with them to have one, our own custom toppings. Two, be able to support another small business and three have just clean ingredients.

 

[00:21:05] Laquita Ann: Yeah. So when you talk about this expansion, what has that meant for you? So you told us about the beginnings, but what are you doing now? What are the parts of expansion that you refer to?

 

[00:21:18] Liz: Yeah. So I think the biggest part of expansion was finding an external manufacturer to produce our ice cream. Thankfully, we found a great manufacturer who's New York based and has produced for other ice cream brands as well.

 

[00:21:32] Liz: But yeah, I think that was like the biggest and scariest part of running the business - realizing like, 'oh, we can't be hands-on and do everything ourselves. Now we need to find other people to partner with to help us produce the ice cream.' And with that obviously came higher costs and stuff. And that was one of the things that we were like worried about.

 

[00:21:48] Liz: But yeah, I would say part of the expansion process is finding a co-packer, finding like a freezer storage warehouse, and the distributor, and then contacting and trying to get into grocery stores.

 

[00:22:00] Laquita Ann: And so you started also during, I guess it was the heart of the pandemic. And now that you have seen this growth and expansion, are there some other changes that you have seen because now things have opened up and you were in a time where people were sitting home, probably thrilled to get ice cream delivery. Have there been changes now that things are a little bit more open in this course of the pandemic?

 

[00:22:24] Liz: Yes. That's funny that you actually mentioned that. We noticed when things were starting to lift that our sales were starting to actually go down. And one of our reasons, or one of our potential reasons I think, was that because people want it to be out and about a little more... they weren't as willing to stay at home on Sundays to wait for an ice cream delivery to come in. And given our business model, we only delivered on Sundays. Whereas like, I would say like a lot of things. I would want to be out and about during the weekend when they're not working now that pandemic restrictions have lifted.

 

[00:22:54] Liz: So, that definitely also influenced our decision to go into external manufacturing and being placed in physical stores, rather than doing just purely delivery.

 

[00:23:04] Laquita Ann: Okay. And so now physical stores. And you are just going in there and getting the deals and the orders yourselves, or you have a full team now developed?

 

[00:23:16] Debbie: It's still just us. So that's yeah, that process was definitely a new experience and something that I had never done before. By then, Liz had already gone home. And so she was able to help me source stores to reach out to, but it was really just me getting on these cold calls with grocery stores and being like, 'do you want our products?'

 

[00:23:39] Debbie: So, definitely a humbling experience. You do get a lot of people who are just like,' mm, no.' And then I hang up and that's that. Um, there were a few stores that, you know, um, Reached out to, if it worked out, I would drop off samples and there are some hiccups here and there. A few stores only wanted to accept products from a very specific type of client or brand. And so yeah, some hiccups here and there. Otherwise, it's definitely been a good experience. And we were able to find a lot of support from other small stores, other small specialty stores. And so it's been going well so far, and we hope to be able to kind of expand hopefully into maybe New Jersey or, you know, a little bit further out soon.

 

[00:24:26] Laquita Ann: What excites you about the future of your business? When you think about what's to come, what are the exciting things that, that you think are in store for you?

 

[00:24:36] Liz: Hopefully just being in more and more stories and gaining more visibility. We're also in the process of being on food delivery platforms soon. So, that's something that we're really looking forward to cause it's like, it kind of feels like we're going back to our roots a little more with being in delivery spaces. But now with not as many restrictions, because when it was just the two of us trying to find a delivery person, we could only do Sundays because that's when we weren't in either school or work.

 

[00:25:00] Liz: But now that we'll be on food delivery platforms - hopefully soon. Hope I don't jinx this! It'll allow for more delivery times and to more areas. So, we're really excited about that.

 

[00:25:13] Laquita Ann: Great. And what are your thoughts on people trying to do that in general? Like start a business as their side hustle, because I love that the two of you were doing other things as well. So, a lot of people are trying to get a side hustle off the ground. What are your thoughts on that? Or any advice that you have?

 

[00:25:29] Debbie: Yeah. I mean, it definitely is difficult, initially, to manage your time well. I think we were lucky in the sense that when we wanted to start this, we both kind of had a lull in our regular activities just because of the pandemic and being a student and everything. But I still think, you know, if it's something that you're passionate about and it's something that you're very serious about, then don't be afraid to start. And, you know, especially because it is a small business, It can be completely on your own time. And that's the beauty of having a small businesses, that you have full control over the process, the timeline.

 

[00:26:03] Debbie: And so even if you have this amazing idea and you can't get it started ASAP, that's okay. The more time you have to put into planning even better. Right? So, I would encourage people if they are super passionate about having their own small business. Just try it out. And it can be super scary at first, but I think you shouldn't let fear push you away from following your passions and if you're serious about it, and if you are planning things thoroughly, then the only way to go is up. Hopefully.

 

[00:26:32] Liz: If you're worried that you don't have enough experience or that you don't know about certain things about the industry that you want to go into, like regarding your side business or your side hustle, don't be afraid to reach out to people at all. That's one of the things Deb and I noticed, or that people in the industry were so willing to help.

 

[00:26:48] Liz: We were like, okay, you know what? Like we have nothing to lose. We'll just send out an email. Reach out. And the worst that they can say is like, no, or the worst that I can do is not respond. But a lot of the times people would respond and be super willing to like impart advice and talk to us. So, it was really like, nice to see.

 

[00:27:04] Laquita Ann: What would be one thing you wish you knew when you first started that you know now?

 

[00:27:10] Liz: For me personally, it would be that you don't have to know as much as you think you would need to know to start your own business, or you don't have to have as much experience. I think I get into my head a little bit and I'm like, oh my God, I don't know anything about that. Like, how am I supposed to do that? But I think just being very bootstrapy actually does work, can work out, because you learn a lot of the things along the way. And some things that you learn, you're kind of forced to learn. So it's like, don't feel as though you have to have everything prepared a hundred percent before hand, like be willing to learn it along the way and just, yeah.

 

[00:27:44] Debbie: So that was kind of like a overall larger scale thing. I had like a few really small process type situations that I wish I had learned more. First one is that, if you're a designer and if you are going to be designing your packaging, Adobe has spellcheck. I did not have mine on and we printed so many pints with a typo on them.

 

[00:28:06] Debbie: And if you're designing your own packaging or anything, turn your spellcheck on, on Adobe or have somebody thoroughly have like three, five people fairly look at your work before you submit them.

 

[00:28:22] Laquita Ann: Oh, wow.

 

[00:28:23] Debbie: Yeah.

 

[00:28:27] Laquita Ann: And so suddenly read all these packages and you were like, ah, it's gotta be a new brand that we just use the misspelled packages or.

 

[00:28:37] Debbie: Yeah, funny story. So, essentially what the typo was was that it was supposed to be our Earl Grey Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream, which is our bestseller. And I, and I decided to just try it, like type cheesy cake instead, you know, add an extra E just for the fun of it.

 

[00:28:51] Debbie: Um, and so we had what it was like 1800 pints of just cheesee cake. But so, that was the first problem. The second problem was that we had them filled in, so thankfully not, not all 1800, but we had probably like 200, 300 pints filled by the manufacturer and the ice cream also had an issue with it because the manufacturer had misunderstood.

 

[00:29:18] Debbie: They had blended the cheesecakes into the base rather than keeping them as chunks. And so we kind of had two different layers of issues with this one product. And so, we were like, you know what, this sucks, but we one didn't want to create extra food waste.Two, didn't want to like waste money either. So we started selling them for like half off.

 

[00:29:41] Debbie: Posted it on TikTok as kind of just a random side thought like, okay, we need to get onto TikTok. Might as well. We have this content. It's funny. People like seeing small businesses, not exactly struggle, but they like seeing the reality of small businesses. And so we actually ended up going viral from that video of the big typo fail. And so, so that propelled, I guess, our success into TikTok. And so I guess that's another small tip for small businesses is always capitalize on anything, even if it's a mistake.

 

[00:30:10] Laquita Ann: I love that though, because I do think that people want to see the reality, especially everybody always is on Instagram. Like, oh, I started a business yesterday, today I'm a billionaire. And so you're like, no, that's not how it works. So I actually love this and that kind of happy accident. I don't actually think that's a bad name. It's kind of a cool name that you, instead of cheesecake, everybody says cheesecake, right? So that's kind of cool.

 

[00:30:34] Debbie: Everybody on TikTok afterwards, it was like, well, you should, you should've just kept it. This is iconic. You can trademark this. And I was like, well, you see, I posted it after we fixed it. So I couldn't rewind.

 

[00:30:46] Laquita Ann: Yeah. That's what actually what I was thinking. I'm like, why would you not just keep it, trademark it? And everybody would get to know that from you, but this, I think you're giving such good advice to entrepreneurs in terms of what you said also Liz, about not thinking you have to always know everything. There's going to be a lot of things that you learn along the way. So, if you had to sort of sum up this experience and for everybody listening, who's like, I'm going to start a business. Give - whether it's practical resource, what would be your final words for an entrepreneurial one sentence from each of you.

 

[00:31:23] Liz: Mine would be, don't be afraid to reach out for help and make sure you really perfect your product, because I think that helps so much with everything. And don't be afraid to ask friends for feedback. Like if you're scared about launching something, ask a group of really close friends for genuine, honest feedback.

 

[00:31:43] Liz: And I feel like they'll give you sometimes like opinions that you might not even be able to think about or like different viewpoints and yeah, I guess just, don't be too scared of launching it. Just if you're really passionate about what your product is, if you're really passionate what you're doing, just go ahead and do it and see how it goes.

 

[00:32:05] Laquita Ann: Great.

 

[00:32:06] Debbie: A little bit similar to Liz, but I would say, you know, make sure that you truly believe in and are passionate about the product and the brand that you're putting out. Don't start a business just because you want to start a business, but make one, because you truly believe that your product and brand can make a difference in the market.

 

[00:32:22] Debbie: And so if you have that going for you and you know exactly where you need to be and you know exactly how you're different and how you can impact the market and customers, then everything else will follow. Just one more thing too, would be break things down step-by-step. I think it can get very overwhelming.

 

[00:32:39] Debbie: If you think about all the things that you have to manage, all the things that you have to handle. And especially as people who maybe haven't had started a business before, it is very overwhelming. But if you break things down into steps, it helps give you a clear plan and also helps you organize your process a little bit.

 

[00:32:56] Liz: One more tiny thing. Find a good business partner.

 

[00:33:02] Laquita Ann: Yeah. True, true story. That's that's definitely true. And it sounds like the two of you work really, really well together. And it's nice to see that among sisters and business partners, where can everybody find you at or follow you?

 

[00:33:17] Debbie: Yeah, so you can follow us at sundaeservice.nyc on Instagram and SundaeServiceCreamery on TikTok. And if you are located in New York, we have a few different stores. One of them is Southeast NYC in Essex Market. We have another store in Pearl River Mart Foods in Chelsea Market. We also have a store in Sunrise Mart, Midtown, and then Court Street Grocers in Brooklyn. And lastly is Tokyo Market in Forest Hills, Queens. And yeah, hopefully in a few weeks you'll be able to find us on delivery apps.

 

[00:33:55] Laquita Ann: Fantastic. And am I getting my delivery here in Los Angeles?

 

[00:33:58] Debbie: Ah, I wish. I wish. We're trying -

 

[00:34:02] Liz: we've had so many requests.

 

[00:34:04] Debbie: We, yeah, we, we have a lot of requests from the West Coast. So, hopefully one day in the future we can find ourselves in LA.

 

[00:34:11] Laquita Ann: Yeah, well, I'll be the tester. So, you can send me just some and you can put what, the dry ice or whatever it is. We can see how it ships and then we'll get back to the rest of you. So thank you very much, Liz and Debbie, for joining us. It was really lovely to meet both of you and to interview you.

 

[00:34:30] Debbie: Thank you.

 

[00:34:31] Liz: Thank you so much for having us.

 

[00:34:36] Nolan: You've been listening in with Your World Your Money. You can find us at ywympodcast.com and stay updated on Instagram @GlobalThinkingFoundationUSA.

 

[00:34:47] Mary: Our podcast is produced by Amber Yang and Hangar Studios, and fact checked by Tb Bui.

 

[00:34:53] Laquita Ann: Be sure to rate and review us, and you can reach us with questions, feedback, and topics, suggestions at hi@ywympodcast.com.

 

[00:35:03] Mary: Many thanks again, to Hangar Studios and Global Thinking Foundation USA.

 

[00:35:08] Nolan: And thank you for joining us. We'll talk to you soon.