Enjoying an ice-cold treat on a hot summer day belongs on life’s greatest hits list, for sure. The whole experience makes me giddy with delight. The mind-bending flavor selection process, watching the cone be packed full of goodness and then the delectable race to the finish before any melting occurs. It’s all good.
Americans enjoy over $25 billion in ice cream and frozen treats every year- a little more than half that number is generated through service versus take home. And we buy more when the weather is warm- August and July top out as the two hottest months, both for buying ice cream and in temperature, as well. It’s no surprise, then, that July was chosen as National Ice Cream month by President Ronald Reagan in 1984. It sounds to me like a great excuse for a visit to Beachy Cream.
Here in sunny Southern California, we love our ice cream as much as we relish in our creative expression. It’s why this is the perfect spot for a brand like Beachy Cream to settle in and become part of the culture. Beachy Cream was started in 2009 as founder Ann Ryan began selling her crave-worthy, 100% organic ice cream sandwiches at farmer’s markets, parties and other locales surrounding her home in Malibu, California. Word spread and the demand grew, inspiring a kiosk and then a full-fledged storefront in the neighboring city of Santa Monica. Like Malibu, Santa Monica is synonymous with California beach culture and both cities have served as Ann’s muse for flavors and branding.
Beachy Cream’s 20+ flavors and ice cream sandwiches offer nostalgic favorites like Malt Shop Madness and modern originals ala Strawberry Balsamic Swirl. However, it’s what’s beyond the ice cream that really elevates the Beachy Cream experience. The Beachy Cream Girls, with their adorable pin-up inspired style, are a major point of difference for the brand. These lovely ladies take their retro style on the road to fundraisers, celebrity events and have even distributed Beachy Cream’s ice cream sandwiches at a young, hoodie-wearing social media mogul’s wedding celebration. We love a good pin curl and, even better, a brand that knows how to take yummy to yowzer!
Today, Ryan and her daughter, Beth Stockwell, who directs sales and marketing for the brand, run Beachy Cream. Brandettes caught up with the dynamic duo (between mouthfuls of decadent Candied Ginger ice cream) to learn more about their branding and how they’ve stayed committed to 100% organic ingredients, amongst other sweet toppings, I meant topics.
The beach and ice cream go hand in hand, of course! Tell us about the birth of Beachy Cream and how you West Coast girls got started.
Ann Ryan (Ann)- I’ve always loved ice cream, and I wanted to open up a little shop where I lived in Malibu. Turned out that I didn’t have the resources, so I bought an ice cream cart and started selling at the Malibu Farmers Market. From there, local people (celebrities) started inviting us to parties, we received a lot of good press and it just snowballed.
Beth Stockwell (Beth)- My mom was always experimenting in her kitchen with different foods and unique flavors. The first ice cream sandwich she created was the Ginger Wipeout—candied ginger ice cream on a molasses spice cookie—we were so blown away by the flavor intensity. She was like a mad scientist creating the flavor lineup of our six signature ice cream sandwiches!
Beachy Cream’s retro look is so appealing- how did the packaging, imagery and look of the Beachy Cream Girls all come together?
Ann- We had already decided that we loved the vintage, beachy pin-up look for our brand (and it reminded me of my childhood in Malibu and Cape Cod). One day I was driving down the Pacific Coast Highway and it just came to me that what we really needed was real, live, pinup girls to serve the ice cream. We had a great team – Elizabeth Sarah Barr did the photography and Nicole LeFave of Design Womb put it all together.
Beth- Yes, we loved the retro pin-up theme because it had a cute and sexy vibe—something that adults would get a kick out of without being too “adult”. Our color scheme was created by the genius Design Womb company. Nicole really understood what we wanted, so we let her run with it. The turquoise and orange colors, stripes and polka dots, pin-ups and beach theme—they all are what help make the Beachy Cream brand so fun!
Your commitment to quality, locally sourced ingredients is incredible- how do you scale up and continue to hold true to this philosophy?
Ann- We work closely with our suppliers and plan ahead. Organic is growing as consumers are starting to insist on buying food that is safe to eat. Here are some statistics:
- 78% of U.S. families buy organic
- There are 17,600 organic farms, ranches & businesses in the U.S.
- The organic industry is creating jobs at four times the national average*
Beth- We’re very lucky because there are so many organic suppliers and resources that, to scale up, we won’t need to sacrifice the very methods and practices that make us who we are. We stand by our decision to make organic products because, in this day and age, we don’t believe there are any excuses for NOT creating organic products!
Beachy Cream has been at some pretty high profile events- any secrets to making your brand stand out at a celebrity event or party?
Ann- Well, it helps that we’re doing something no one else is. Our Beachy Cream Girls create quite a sensation wherever we go!
Beth- Beautiful pin-up girls (and guys sometimes!) serving delicious organic frozen treats? How can they NOT stand out?
Ann and Beth, you’re mother and daughter- how cool! What positive lessons have you learned working together that other family-run businesses might benefit from?
Ann- Patience. Having respect for one another’s time is key, that and being open to new ideas.
Beth- We are very good at being able to “turn off” work-mode and “turn on” family mode. You have to be able to separate the work vs. family relationship –we do sometimes need to remind one another of this, but I think that’s the key to being in a successful business with family.
Any flavors that have surprised you with their popularity?
Ann- Our Fresh Mint Brownie Chunk is hugely popular. We make it with fresh mint from the farmers market, instead of using bottled mint extract like most companies do. When someone tastes it for the first time, they’re really taken aback by how fresh it tastes.
Beth- Everyone loves the “Bitchin’ Hot Chocolate” because it’s a rich dark chocolate flavor with a hint of cayenne. People don’t taste the cayenne at first, but then it’s this pop of heat at the back of your throat. It makes the chocolate taste even chocolatier!
Just for fun, we asked Ann and Beth to spotlight which Beachy Cream flavors would best suit our favorite retro-fabulous beach babes:
- Gidget –Strawberry Balsamic Swirl
- Marilyn Monroe –Brown Butter Pecan
- Annette Funicello –Vegan Coconut
Enjoy some Beachy Cream this summer….visit their Santa Monica shop at 1209 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90403 or check the web site for a Whole Foods or other location near you.
*Source: Organic Trade Association
Other Sources: Food Business News 2014 & International Dairy Food Association
Ice Cream c/o Beachy Cream