We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Vedder and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, what inspires you?
First of all, my dad is an inspiration.. he’s an entrepreneur who started his own business 45 years ago and is still going strong with the same business. He works so hard and has taught me to keep going, keep moving, and it will pay off. But, he is lucky on the other hand that he had my mom to take care of his children, his house, provide gourmet meals and help whenever needed. The two of them together made him successful and their life together a success. So, I guess I have to say my mom inspires me as well. With the other side of my business which is my family. Taking care of kids, getting them to practices, providing meals, being the therapist, the mental sports coach, homework tutor, etc. My mom was also a huge inspiration in the kitchen. She taught me how to cook and the love of really good food! My mom would throw the best dinner parties. She even auction a few off during my high school years. And years as an adult for fundraising. She started a small catering company and just constantly had friends, family, did every holiday, throughout all the years. She spent the majority of the time in the kitchen.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My ice cream was created for people who need to eat healthy or like to eat healthy and could do this while eating a sweet frozen dessert. My ice cream was created because there was a need for it in the market. There was not an ice cream out there that was only sweetened with dates, maple, or coconut sugar. There was not a shop that supplied gluten-free cones and Paleo, non-dairy, unrefined sugar ice cream sandwiches. This sets me apart from every other shop. Then we thought we could share it even further by getting it into grocery stores. For people who cannot make it down to San Clemente.
It was not easy to get to where I am today. It was so hard and challenging. I just kept going, and kept going. I started producing ice cream in my kitchen in 2017. I started with one ice cream maker delivered from Amazon. A months later, I ended up with six small ice cream makers from Amazon. I just kept going and I kept creating recipes, writing them down in my book, giving them a five star or three star, etc. I kept going until all my friends, family and neighbors enjoyed it. Then and 2021, I started at a farmers market in Ladera Ranch California. Here it was a good testing market. This market let me test my flavors and find out what people liked and enjoyed. Then in July 2021 I opened my store.
Trust me I made a lot of lotta flavors and threw those all away. We have to just keep going the more you try the more you will find out the right combination of taste, texture, longevity. There was so much science that went into it I never thought about before. But I also didn’t know what I was getting myself into and I had no idea where this could go. I just decided to take a risk jump in and go for it.
I’ve learned a lot of lessons along the way. I’ve learned a lot about licenses, what the health department and agriculture department expects. I’ve learned about special walls you have to have in your shop when producing non-dairy and those walls have to be made for dairy. I’ve learned a lot about customers and how to read them when they walk in. But mostly we just want to make people happy, let’s put a little light in this world and enjoy some good ice cream that is non-dairy, and has a lot of health benefits.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend was visiting from out of town, I would definitely take them to the beach cities. All the cute little restaurants along the coast in San Clemente, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, etc. so many fun restaurants to enjoy. I do like eating at Nick’s Restaurants in San Clemente or Laguna Beach. I really am a homebody though. I like to hang out in my backyard and sit around a fire and chat till it gets really late. But mostly because I’m always so exhausted. I never stop right now in this time of my life. Salt Creek has a beautiful grass area you can go have a picnic enjoy the sunset and the view. There are some beautiful hikes in Laguna Niguel and Dana Point I could take them on as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to give a thankful shoutout to my husband Justin, my kids and my mom. My husband has poured tons of our life savings into creating this business because of my dream. He has supported me, joined my board of Vedder’s Organic Ice Cream and continues to pick me up when I get down. When things get hard, he reminds me I’m a CEO and I need to arrange this meeting, or get up and keep moving, that we have to keep going, there is a light at the end of this tunnel. My kids have had the upmost patience for me, while I’m building this in every aspect and have supported me through my journey. Of course, there are times when at least one child says, “Why are you doing this?” But then when I reach a mile stone that one child will say, “Mom, I’m so proud of you. I honestly did not think this ice cream would go anywhere and I can’t believe where you have taken it.” He said this as soon as we got excepted into the Ohana Festival. Eddie Vedder’s concerts which are coming up at the end of September. We will be in the VIP section and he was so thrilled.
Lastly, I have to think my mother, Patty Olivieri who loves my children as much as I do. I’m only able to do this business because of her. She helps me pick up kids from sports, helps me when someone is sick, helps me gather supplies at different places for my shop And will help pick up my kids from school. She is so wonderful.