Creating an ice cream culture It all started in his parents’ kitchen. Today, Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream is teaching customers to truly appreciate this gourmet product.
johannesburg-based entrepreneur Paul Ballen’s talent for gourmet ice cream has turned into a business success. Along with his business partner, Josh Amoils, he has built Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream and distributes the unique flavours to a number of cafés and restaurants across Johannesburg and Cape Town. Using social media to promote their famous “Ice Cream Sundays” and innovative flavours, such as “Birthday Cake”, which is a crowd favourite, Amoils says Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream is attracting customers with an appreciation for the craft.
1. Where did the idea come from?
I started making ice cream in my parents’ kitchen in 2009 while I was studying. I started supplying small restaurants and some stores in very small volumes; it was very low-key and it got a bit of hype. Then I did a business diploma at Wits and partnered with Josh to get the business started.
I was excited about new ventures and new opportunities and we decided to give it a go in March 2014. We moved from the garage at Paul’s parents’ house to a workshop in Orange Grove, which was a small step up. We had to work until late at night to make up orders.
We simultaneously had to get on the road and visit distributing outlets to try get our ice cream out there.
Things just developed from there. Slowly, consistently, and sometimes not so consistently. We just constantly kept moving forward. Today it’s an entity where Paul is the driving force behind the ice cream creation and the craft. There’s a major focus on the craft and what we do. Our product is our company. That’s very important and we invest a lot of time, effort and money into our product. Innovation is also important to us to make sure we have the best stuff out there.
“There’s a major focus on the craft and what we do. Our product is our company.”
2. How did you make your first big deal?
We’re still waiting for our lucky break. From our experience, there’s no such thing. We are very proud of what we’ve done so far, but we’ve found there’s always a next big challenge to move on to.
3. How did you get funding to get started?
Paul Ballen Co-founder of Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream