The Devils’ Own Ice Creamery make their delicious ice creams using the rich, creamy, award-winning organic milk from Elgaar Farm.
Business owners, Martin and Emma, carefully hand-craft these artisan premium ice creams and sorbets using Tasmanian, locally-sourced produce. The Devils’ own Ice Creamery focuses on catering to those with allergies, intolerance and dietary restrictions so that everyone can enjoy decadent, delicious and fresh desserts!
“We wanted to see more businesses out there with a strong social conscience that operates ethically and tries to make a positive difference in the world. And we wanted to make a positive impact within our community. We’ve seen too many businesses that are only focused on the bottom line, doing whatever it takes to make as much money as possible. And we wanted something that built strong communities and friendships, and looks after the environment as much as possible too.”
Meet Martin and Emma
We are a business that manufactures and sells artisan ice creams and sorbets. We use as much locally-sourced produce as possible and that tries to give back to the community as well. Basically, we went into this with the view to try to make all of our products allergy-friendly, so they’re all gluten-free, with no preservatives, no artificial colours or flavours, and we try to avoid all of the known allergens. There are only two ice cream flavours that have egg in them, and there are some that are nut flavoured, which we process separately. We even process the ice cream and sorbet completely separately so we can ensure the sorbet is totally vegan. All of our ice creams are made using locally-sourced organic Jersey cow milk, and absolutely everything is made from scratch.
We donate a portion of every sale we make to the Save The Tasmanian Devil Appeal, and we use biodegradable packaging for all our tubs, spoons, lids, everything. We have been selling our product since October 2019 and have had a shopfront since the end of March, however because of Covid-19, we opened for dine-in customers for the first time last week [first week June]. It’s been nerve-wracking during Covid-19, but we have a business that is co-sharing the kitchen with us and it’s been really good collaborating with them.
Before Many Rivers
Basically, before we contacted Many Rivers, both my wife and myself were unemployed. I was a full-time carer as we have children on the autism spectrum. We realised we needed to do something, and it got to a point where it was like, “if not now, then when?”
I’ve had previous experience as a chef and pastry chef; we’ve both worked in call centres and I’ve also worked at McDonalds; I’ve worked with heating and cooling companies; I was a mobile DJ and a martial arts instructor. I’ve done it all! We’ve been doing whatever we can to keep the wolf away from the door basically.
Working with Many Rivers
We’ve received a lot of one-on-one business mentorship from Penelope. She has helped us work through our business plan, our cash flow forecast and has helped guide us through some of the legal red tape we needed to get through in order to establish the business. Penelope has been there as a support person – as someone to brainstorm with, to vent to when things have gone awry, and to celebrate our many little successes along the way.
The most useful thing was that we actually had someone that we were answering to, someone to keep us on track. If it was left to us, still learning our way as business owners, sometimes between not knowing how to navigate legalities and not knowing where to turn to get information, or even just life circumstances getting in the way, there can be delays. But having the meetings with Penelope spurred us into action, helped us overcome most of our stumbling blocks and hurdles, gave us fresh perspective and kept us accountable.
The biggest success to date has been part of Covid-19 actually! Being an ice creamery business, we thought we might just go into hibernation – stop manufacturing any more ice cream, store the ice cream we had already made in preparation for our grand opening in the freezer and reopen when it all settled down. But we started receiving calls from people requesting our ice cream and telling us that we are an essential service! So we ended up making takeaway tubs to accommodate the demand.
We opened one day a week for a few hours so people could pick up their takeaway tubs. The support has been overwhelming actually, which feels very rewarding. And just last week we opened for the first time for dine-in customers and people came in and were so supportive and determined to spend up big, so they were eating in and taking tubs away as well.
I think the biggest challenge was to find a physical location to manufacture and sell from. For most of our time since October we were hiring out a kitchen at the local high school – so storing our product there and then transporting and setting up everything at each event we did. There were obviously inherent challenges in that set up. Our initial plan had been to build our own kitchen and dining area in an empty building, but when we investigated that further it proved to be cost-prohibitive, so we needed to find somewhere we could move straight into. Finding that place was the biggest challenge.
What has Changed?
I’d say the biggest change has been the element of hope we now have. We have only ever rented our entire married life; you know what the real estate market is like. And not being able to have a steady income source due to being a carer has not enabled prospects like owning our own house. Although the business is still in the start-up phase, we can see the potential to grow, and with it the possibility of owning our home, which has given us so much hope for the future.
Future Goals for The Devils’ Own Ice Creamery
Our main goal is to expand our production so that we can include wholesale. We want to start selling out of local IGAs and the local Woolworths, etc. Our ultimate goal would be to be able to export it to the rest of Australia as a premium Tasmanian ice cream. There is definitely potential there; it’s a solid brand and is appealing to a wide range of people for so many reasons.
Thanks Martin and Emma for sharing your Ice Creamery business journey. We know that there are many other people looking to take the next step towards setting up their own business. Your story will inspire them to take the first leap.
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