Cookies & Cream

We had the debut of our first new flavor of 2018 a few weeks ago and it happened to be the most requested flavor from our customers – Cookies & Cream.

The plan was actually to have this flavor come out in February but it took much longer than planned. Why did it take so long? Well, we had a delicious version with an Oreo cookie we found in stores, but we couldn’t find a cookie that was organic, glutenfree, & soyfree in addition to vegan.

I considered making an exception to this flavor and not hitting our checklist of allergens, but it just seemed wrong. So what do we do? We decided to try to make our own cookie so we could have it all!

After a couple of tries, it still wasn’t right. I felt a bit hopeless as it never was as good as our first batch with the store cookie. But then Megan took a pass at the cookie and that was perfect. We felt the cookie would work, but we were still worried about blending it too much, the color of the yogurt, etc.

It was crunch time because I was opening that Sunday and really wanted to debut it that day. I get so nervous with new flavors and I like to be there to make sure it runs through the machine okay and to get some customer reactions.

I did a test through the machine that week and I was really happy with it. I was seeing my family later that day so I brought them some and they devoured it. My nephew considers himself a Cookies and Cream connoisseur and he LOVED it.

The test was with cookies that Megan made. But now, I had to make them to make sure I knew how, could train my team, and keep making them in the store. I also had to buy a food processor as we didn’t have one.

So I got all the ingredients, the food processor, and took a pass at the cookies. It worked!!!! Those that know me know I don’t do much cooking so it’s always a big deal for me. We also had the cream recipe so I had to try that too.

So it was full on cookie production the next few days. The original food processor I bought was horrible and made everything really difficult. It took forever. I got a much bigger and better one a few days later, but OMG, was it painful in the beginning.

So, Sunday comes and we introduce the new flavor. And boy, did people like it. Actually, not like it, they LOVED it! We went through 6 gallons the first day. Crazy!

You know what that means – more cookies! We almost sold out everyday for the entire week. I was not expecting that so more and more cookies were needed. I was basically at the store until almost closing every night making cookies. Cookies & Cream took over my life!

This was the first flavor that consistently sold more than Chocolate Bliss for its entire run. That’s NEVER happened before.

It took until that Friday for us to get ahead of the cookies, but thankfully we did before the weekend, and have since then. I’ve made so many gallons of Cookies & Cream the last few weeks to keep up with demand. The good news is I can do it super fast now.

Speaking of demand, we’ve been really busy which of course is a good thing. But until I hire another Soft Serve Maker or two (happening this week thankfully), I basically became a soft serve maker the last 2 weeks. Pretty much every night, we were running out of flavors so I would come in the evening and flavor. The base is made in the morning, but there needs to be some time before flavoring so at a certain point, it has to be evening.

I wasn’t planning on being a soft serve maker, but as an owner, you do what needs to be done.

I personally LOVE Cookies & Cream. I will miss it like everyone else, and it will definitely keep coming back.

On another note, there has been a big change in my life recently, and I will share more about that soon.

Namaste!

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Transition / Change

Omg, it’s been so long since my last post. Time just flies by. There is so much going on to catch up on, I’m not sure where to begin. I think I’ll take it in pieces and start with the big transition I referred to in my last post. Then eventually cover Vegan Street Fair, Eat Drink Vegan, and more.

The big transition is that I no longer have my day job. I’m not sure if people realize that up until a few months ago, I have had a full-time job the entire time I’ve been working on Yoga-urt. I know – it’s crazy.

My project suddenly went on hold and so they had to let people go – and I was one of them.

This wasn’t just any job. I was a Senior Producer leading teams of 30-50 team members on international theme park/museum projects for an awesome company.

Juggling this demanding job with Yoga-urt has been the hardest thing I have ever done. I sacrificed my life, my health, and more and it will take me months if not years to recover.

Why did I keep this job so long? For 2 reasons.

1. It was a great job with great people. The projects were tough and clients were difficult, but I was surrounded by such amazing talent and people. I got to work with the best in the business and if my career in themed entertainment ends now, I feel so fortunate to end with these people and this company after almost 20 years in this industry.

2. Not going to lie, the money. It was my security net for Yoga-urt and got us through the first few hard years. It is a big part of my Yoga-urt story and I tear up just thinking about how grateful I am for it, as Yoga-urt might not have made it without this job.

And yes, they knew about Yoga-urt, although I had to completely separate the two while there (but I did bring some in from time to time). I had to work harder to prove myself to them because they knew I had my own thing. I had to be on my A-Game at all times.

Opening and maintaining Yoga-urt while having this job almost killed me. I don’t think anyone realizes how hard it was. I had to downplay it because I didn’t want to lose either.

My health had been so impacted that for many months my therapist, doctors, and family were all telling me to cut back – I knew I needed to too. I just couldn’t figure out how. I did go down to 4 days a week at my day job in the last few months on the job which really helped, but still very difficult.

And so here I am. For the last few months and for the foreseeable future, I get to focus on Yoga-urt and my health. It’s hard for me to believe. I don’t have to be in an office Mon-Fri. This is a HUGE change for me.

One of the questions I have been asked the most during the last few years is, so do you enjoy being your own boss? Must be great. And my response has been, I have no idea, I’m an employee 40+ hours a week.

Well, not anymore, at least for now.

I honestly feel like I can breathe again. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a full-time job with Yoga-urt, but I have more flexibility to my schedule. I can control it. And I can add in some things like maybe a social life or something fun.

So, I’m trying to find balance again. I have lots of things I want to do with Yoga-urt, and I’m working on them, but at my own pace so I can rest and have a life at the same time.

It was sad to say goodbye to my co-workers and hopefully they’ll visit me at Yoga-urt. They are a huge part of my story that I will always treasure.

Change. Transition. I’m so excited to see what this means for me and Yoga-urt. It was time!

With Phil Hettema from The Hettema Group where I worked