make it and they will buy…or maybe not

July 14, 2011 |  Category:   baked goods + desserts the biz

I think one of the most challenging things we’re facing as a not-so-new business is keeping things new and relevant. There’s one thing to be said about reaping the benefits from notching a few years of experience under your belt: systems start falling into place and production for the most part, runs fairly smoothly (geez, I talk as if we’re a big operation. It’s still just Mark in the kitchen though). The press and the public, however, are always on the lookout for the next new thing. Summers can also be a slower season for bakers when the weather warms up and people are turning to frozen treats and ice cream (I don’t blame them) so we decided to do a little experiment.

Maybe you’ll remember that the only thing that I feel wistful about regarding our decision not to open a store is the fact that Mark can’t make his ice cream. It’s his favorite kind of dessert to make and he was just about ready to ditch the baked goods if the ice cream took off. We can’t really handle ice cream production right now, so Mark made a version that doesn’t need machinery and isn’t whipped (it comes out much denser). He tested out 3 flavors and we both immediately liked the curry milk chocolate, so he brought them in little 4oz cups to the Flea last Saturday…except they didn’t really sell all that well. Granted, it was last minute, we didn’t publicize it except for a single tweet and a Facebook post (also, I am horrible at promoting our own stuff), and maybe the world wasn’t ready to try a curry milk chocolate combo, who knows. We also made the mistake, I think, of calling it frozen custard which it technically is, but it didn’t really help. Mark was kind of a sad panda that day. But hey, we’re strong! We’re resilient! And we can accept when an idea doesn’t work. It isn’t the first time we came up with something that failed.

BUT, we’re not giving up so fast this time because we really like them and our kids like them and if Claudine, who is the pickiest eater ever, thinks this is “MMMMM” and can’t stop talking about how the spices made a funny tingle in her throat, then maybe other people will like it too. So Mark’s bringing them back to the Flea this Saturday (this week we’re at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg) and here’s the one time you’ll read an obnoxiously shameless plug right here on the blog:

(Start Shameless Plug)
This Saturday at the Smorg! Curry Milk Chocolate Ice Cream in a Cup! Packed densely in small 4oz cups so you don’t need to worry about breaking that diet! Made with high quality chocolate and Mark’s own blend of curry spices! A mere $3.50 buys you a flavor explosion in your mouth! Limited supply, so get yours early!
(End Shameless Plug)

whew, ok, that wasn’t so bad. By the way, I heard that The Flea is celebrating National Ice Cream Month by bringing in extra ice cream vendors this Saturday who don’t normally sell at the Flea so there’s like a million more ice cream options than usual. Face plant.

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  • Karen July 14, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    I think it sounds delicious! I am a huge fan of chocolate and curry so the combo sounds crazy good to me. My sister couldn’t get over the “curry” part because she had a bad curry experience and now refuses anything with the word curry in it. I tried explaining that there were tons of different kids of curry flavors but she wouldn’t budge. When I called it Spicy Milk Chocolate Ice Cream she was all over it. Won’t she be surprised when she finds out it’s curry (AFTER she eats it and loves it, of course!)

  • Ana July 14, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    That sounds amazing, of I had seen that FB post I would have flown to buy one.

  • oni July 14, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    i never ever ever thought that a non fashion blog would become my favorite blog but something about your tone I felt from the first day i read this blog that i connected with you and your family. Especially the post about being the breadwinner. Thats my life now,but is going to change soon when i quit the car business to go back to school. okay I’m rambling but i had to write especially after I read the “so you dont need to worry about breaking your diet” bit in your shameless plug. Too funny.


  • Michelle July 14, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    It’s a shame that calling it custard would have turned people off. Calling it frozen custard would have made me leap over all of the other places just selling “ice cream” to get to it. Maybe that’s because I was first introduced to frozen custard in the midwest where it’s really popular. Ted Drewes in St. Louis anyone?

    In other sad news…I’m also in California and would have loved to try the curry milk chocolate…

  • Jennelle July 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    That sounds so yummy! I just took a look at your market dates and I’m a bit sad that we won’t be able to say hello and stock up on treats before we leave New York πŸ™

  • Nichole Robertson July 14, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I agree with Michelle! The custard would have made me MORE interested.

    I really want to try this!

  • kate July 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I want this in my mouth. Right. Now.

  • mady July 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    i am staying here for a while…. i thoroughly enjoy it here…

  • sobrina July 14, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    If you guys all like it, then I’m sure it’s good! I love that you guys are sticking to your guns and trying again. If I lived in Brooklyn, I would love to try it.

  • tamara July 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    i so enjoyed your interview on cup of jo, a lot of your answers really resonated with me. so happy to find your blog.

    and the curry milk chocolate cups look perfect to me!

  • Christie July 14, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    If I was in Brooklyn this weekend, I would def come by. It sounds so good! =) (btw, great plug)

  • EmmaC July 14, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    I am sadly on the other side of the country from you, but this frozen custard might be a good excuse to zip over to NY! Seriously – this sounds delicious. I bet it will catch on once people know about it. I know for myself, I often need to see something on a vendor’s table a few weeks before I get up the gumption to try it (I have commitment phobia…even with a $3.50 weekend treat).

  • Dana July 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Good luck and yum! I wish I could come to the flea and try your ice cream!!!(but live very far away)

  • Anne July 14, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I think Mark’s icecreams/custards will become successful once enough people try it. Did you give out samples?

  • Luann July 14, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    I wish I could be in Brooklyn this weekend to try it, my mouth is watering imagining it!

  • sarahwl July 14, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    if there’s a way to ship this curry chocolate goodness to LA, please let me know! it sounds AMAZING!

  • Mandy July 14, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    As an Indian who loves curry and eats it for breakfast, something about the words curry chocolate doesn’t sound right to me… spiced chocolate maybe… but I can’t do curry chocolate. That said, I’ll try anything.

  • sarah July 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    YUM! uhg, I won’t even bother asking (begging) you to find a magical way to ship some to los angeles. but, ya know… if you’re ever out here visiting and feel like making some & delivering it I wouldn’t complain πŸ™‚
    someday I’ll make it to new york, and believe me i’ll be checking your flea schedule when I plan the trip!

  • Claire July 14, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    I was one of those that BOUGHT IT last Saturday at the Flea!!! It was really nice and rich and had a great kick to it. I will say, though, that it was SO HOT that it did feel more like an ice pop day and maybe that’s why it wasn’t selling as well. Having moved a stone’s throw away from the Flea, I have made it my Saturday lunch spot, so you can be expecting more business from me.

  • angie July 15, 2011 at 12:38 am

    keep at it, regardless of what’s going on with other ice cream vendors. i, too run a small food business in upstate ny. funny, i make a hot (milk chocolate) with curry in the winter @ my shop inspired by a voges candy bar i had when they first opened years back. truth be told, the first winter i sold 2 measly cups and drank the rest myself. i gave it a season. now i make it as a fudgicle and it does well. i cracked up when i saw your post. really enjoy your blog!

  • angie July 15, 2011 at 12:40 am

    *correction* vosges

  • jude July 15, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Go Jenna and Mark!
    I am sitting here in the frrrrreezing depths of Sydney winter and I would totally buy that to eat right now!

  • vicky July 15, 2011 at 1:05 am

    This looks so yummy. πŸ™‚

  • mooilang July 15, 2011 at 2:20 am

    That combo sounds scrummy! Bring it to us here in Asia and it will fly off the shelves! Much love from the little red dot on the map. xx

  • StΓ©phanie July 15, 2011 at 3:55 am

    You must come to open a bakery and a ice cream shop in Brussels.
    It’s to hard to know that I can’t eat one right now.
    Don’t be to modest !

    P.S. : Hope that Tobi is OK. πŸ˜‰

  • Ancarol July 15, 2011 at 4:34 am

    Pure and yummm i sure and will not to refused it for frist test : )

  • kimia kline July 15, 2011 at 5:26 am

    dont be discouraged πŸ™‚ that sounds like an amazing product, and if i had my way and lived in brooklyn i think my ice cream purchases alone could support this new endavor!

  • Emma July 15, 2011 at 6:27 am

    Well if it’s anything like chilli chocolate I’d give it a go!

    Could have been too hot a day maybe, people can be funny like that. Good luck for next time though. Sadly I don’t live in your fine city so I can’t come on over and buy some.

  • Emily July 15, 2011 at 7:08 am

    That does sound yummy! Have a great and lovely weekend.

  • PInk Ronnie July 15, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Agree with Jude! Would eat this right now despite the freezing cold here!
    Ronnie xo

  • Jenna July 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

    @Claire, so you were one of the few to buy this, haha! Well, thank you so very much for giving it a try!

  • Chez Us July 15, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Just discovered your site and have put on 5 pounds since doing so – Thanks! LOVE IT! Will be spending more time here. Denise

    ps…. where did you find those cups for serving. I have the spoons but am searching high and low for ice cream cups like that! πŸ™‚

  • anna p. wu July 15, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    i want to try them! wish you guys were in portland for us to enjoy your treats πŸ˜‰

  • Sarah July 15, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    oh those sound so good! I’ve been needed to re-stock on cookies anyway, so I’m definitely going to try and stop by for one of these.

  • Jenna July 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    @angie – actually, this is what Mark really wanted to do with them, make fudgsicles and maybe we will in the next few weeks if we can get it together.

  • hyzen July 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Even though I’m not in NYC and so will probably never get to try your ice cream, I for one don’t mind the shameless plugs at all. Don’t feel shy about them, I say! Most of your readers would probably love a heads up about where they could come out and try your stuff, if they’re in the area.

    Also, I agree with the others that the name might be the issue. I like curry as much as the next person, but curry + chocolate + custard doesn’t sound quite right to me. Spiced Chocolate (ice cream or ice cream bar) sounds pretty great, though, and I’m sure the flavor itself is wonderful. Good luck!

  • jan July 15, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    i’ll join the choir of people who unhelpfully but truthfully chant “if only i were any closer to brooklyn…”

    good luck with it!!

  • kristina@beancakes July 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    your blog is so lovely! i just stumbled upon, i love your photography ~ superb!
    xx ~ kristina

  • Lori July 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Mmmm…sounds yummy! Frozen custard is delicious. There’s a shop in my hometown that sells it and I swear it’s everyone’s favorite. It’s one of the first places to go if you’ve moved out of town and are visiting, or to take out of town guests. I think Mark would have an excellent shot at an ice cream or frozen custard business. After all, your cookies and marshmallows are excellent! The only thing that may have discouraged me from buying this flavor is the curry. But a sample may have helped change my mind πŸ™‚ Maybe, like the other comment suggested you could do one with chocolate and another spice – and maybe some of your delicious marshmallows inside?!?

  • cg July 16, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    you guys should move out to SF. There are a whole host of ice creameries that offer up flavors as you describe and always -even when it’s cold, and if you know SF, July is practically one of the coolest in the year- there are always lines out the door.

  • Mei July 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Jenna,
    I have only recently discovered your amazing blog. It’s been raining all weekend in London so I had the luxury of spending a few hours curled up on the sofa making my way through your posts. I’ve enjoyed following your journey and all the ups and downs… Thanks for sharing!

    PS the ice cream looks delicious!

  • Melanie July 25, 2011 at 2:14 am

    I think you guys should make this when you’re in Seattle and tell me where I can pick it up! This sounds AMAZING. Theo Chocolate in Seattle has a coconut curry chocolate bar that I love…this ice cream sounds even better.

  • Jeannie July 26, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    ha ha, little ajumas. No! they need to be wearing socks with those flip flops, or white socks with crocs or something along those lines. then: ajuma.

    i just started reading your blog having been linked here by god knows who. so i read about your stance not to sell ads, etc. because i’m new and have no sense of your backstory i’ll just add my thoughts – particularly in light of your increasing costs. someone would not “like” it if you sold ad space? you’d be ‘selling out’? please. if you can sell ads, you ought to do it. i can’t understand why any reader should object to that. i wish i had a readership that could support advertising. you’ll keep your voice; it’s not like you’d lose your integrity, but my goodness, you have an opportunity that few of us do have. i’d go for it. and make it clear that the voice remains unchanged. it’s just that the sidebar might be a little different. to each their own opinion but i tend to wonder if it’s not envy that provokes readers to tell popular bloggers that they “wouldn’t like it” if the blogger began selling ads. there are plenty of bloggers of integrity that i have followed for a while and gradually, all have accepted ads. they’ve shared their reasons and for most of them (not all) their blogging voice has remained the same. as a newbie, i’d support you. i don’t think it’s the reader’s place to cite feelings of disappointment. you are sharing something here that people like and it’s grown to the point of costing you to keep it. hmm. i’d go for it.