We had the good fortune of connecting with Libby Lefanowicz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Libby, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I wanted to be able to work on something that mattered to me and that I was passionate about. I had worked in technology and in internet security and healthcare technology and never had a strong drive for it. I have always been passionate about food. I have been cooking with my family from a young age and loved cooking and experimenting with new recipes. When I found out I had to be dairy and gluten free I felt so left out form my favorite desserts. I was passionate about finding desserts I could share with my family and friends that didn’t cause harm. Not harming my physical health, but also no harm to the environment and no harm to animals. I got to start a business and work every day to make, eat and sell amazing ice cream!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Kula is San Diego’s only all vegan and all gluten-free ice cream company. When I found out I couldn’t have dairy or gluten my after dinner dessert with my family was turned upside down. I wanted an ice cream that still tasted like dessert and was loaded with goodies, just without the upset stomach, the inflamation, the cruelty to animals and the harm to the environment. We are proud to be San Diego’s first all vegan ice cream company. We were unlucky to get our first food permits right at the start of COVID lock-downs. We had to pivot if we wanted to get started still. I had already signed a lease at a shared kitchen and started my recipes so I decided to start delivery in San Diego. We were so successful at delivery in San Diego that we were able to keep growing the company as markets and festivals opened up and in August last year we opened our ice cream shop! We are so happy to provide people with ice cream that they can actually enjoy. We are looking forward to getting into grocery store shelves in the next year!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love San Diego! My fiancé and I live in downtown San Diego in Little Italy and we love it here. We would show them around Little Italy, hitting up all the cool cocktail bar spots, Craft and Commerce, Kettner Exchange and more. Stop to get food at Underbelly (obviously the best ramen in SD). Take them to The Waterfront to get the dive bar scene in. Maybe later in the night we would head over to Mission Hills and go to Lamplighter for some karaoke. The rest of the weekend would be spent enjoying the beaches during the day and exploring more restaurants and bars in the evenings all around SD.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family is my support system. My awesome youngest sister motivated me and gave me the confidence I needed to start my own business. Just having someone who really believes in you and thinks you will be successful is so powerful. They are also there when you need the support to keep going when things get tough. I am so appreciative of the support of my whole family including my parents who have always pushed me to be my best self. With out my fiancé’s advice and support I dont think I would have gotten the business off the ground. I feel so lucky to have surrounded myself with so many amazing people.