Molly Moon is the owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream. Molly Moon’s shops are Seattle’s favorite ice cream boutiques, located in Wallingford and Capitol Hill. Molly keeps busy with a cute, bright blue ice cream truck roaming the streets of Seattle and the East Side and plotting the build-out of a new shop (or two?!) in 2011. Molly’s ice cream, made from local, seasonal, and organic ingredients, is the kind of sweet, creamy satisfaction that one craves whether they’re two or eighty-two. And, like the eclectic neighborhoods she has settled in, her shops are places where classic flavors like Vanilla Bean and Chocolate live alongside the creative and exotic Cardamom and Balsamic Strawberry. Prior to her ice cream filled days, Molly was the executive director of Music for America, a nonprofit that partnered with bands to register and educate their fans to vote.
Working on right now?
I’m working on a lot right now — as is usually the case in the Winter! I like to work really hard in the winter so that the summers, while really busy, are not chaotic for the company. So right now it’s all about systems and planning and preparing for everything we can think of that will come up in the busy months! We are planning on opening two new shops this year and I’m finishing up my cookbook manuscript. We’re also launching a new project called Molly Moon’s Perfect Summer Soundtrack, which I’m pretty excited about.
3 trends that excite you?
I love the “trends,” if you can call them that, of local ingredients, sustainability, and social responsibility to your employees and your community. But while some of these things seem trendy, all of these are core values that are very old and I hope they stick around!
How do you bring ideas to life?
Wow. That is a huge question. With a lot of hard work, a lot of planning for every possibility, and huge amounts of luck. Assembling the right team around you is really important, too.
What inspires you?
Gosh, this all sounds so cheesy, but really my community is mostly what inspires me. I saw a city that needed really good ice cream and cool shops to hang out in while eating really good ice cream. So a need my community had is really what inspired me to start this company. I also wanted to prove the concept that a business can be socially and environmentally responsible and profitable.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
In my previous job as the executive director of Music for America, a nonprofit that partnered with bands to register their fans to vote, I caused the organization to lose a lot of money because I wanted to do something big and splashy that didn’t quite pencil out. What did I learn? If it doesn’t pencil out, don’t do it! And if you haven’t penciled it out, you’re an idiot.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Refillable ice cream cone, anyone?
What is one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?
The entire reason my business was so strong from the beginning is because i had a plan. I recommend a piece of software to every single person who asks me about starting a business: Business Plan Pro. It was basically like going to business school. Follow all the wizards. Take a few months to really do it right. You’ll come out with a great plan.
Who would you love to see interviewed on IdeaMensch?
Renee Behnke, Founder of Sur La Table
Is it worth it to spend money on organic and compostable stuff? And is it worth it to pay for a good health insurance plan for all of your employees?
YES! people feel good about my company and good about themselves eating my product and composting the containers. My employees are happy and healthy and stay in their jobs with such great benefits and regular raises. My business is successful because of my progressive values — not in spite of them like some people assume.
Do you eat ice cream every day?
Yes! (and usually with hot fudge on top!)
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.