This month, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Chris White, founder of Nice Vice Cream in Vancouver. We’ve fallen in love with this dairy-free creamery. Read on to find out why!
What is Nice Vice?
Nice Vice is a double meaning play on words… The V in vice is for “vegan Ice cream”, written by Jeff Rodgers, who was called the naughty vegan and who wrote one of the first Vegan ice cream books. The second meaning is after 7 years in recovery I now have many nice vices as opposed to the bad vices I had during my addiction.
Tell us about your background.
I could write a book on my background but to save us time and space for your blog I entered recovery seven years ago, got clean and with no girlfriend, no drugs, and no alcohol, I was consuming a lot of ice cream as my vice. Unfortunately, I kept getting really sick from the experience and discovered I’m lactose intolerant. This lead to a hobby of making dairy free ice cream with a small cuisinart ice cream in my home kitchen. When I had sold my last business, I was looking around for another business to purchase, several of my friends told me that I should open up a dairy free scoop shop as they were enjoying my infamous chocoholics anonymous 🙂
Most successful marketing tactic?
The first thing we did was write a branding book, this gave us a guideline to use & build the brand. Whether we were at a farmers market, or a street event, or our first pop up shop in Richmond, we always had a guide to what the brand should look like, what the meaning was behind it, and the purpose of our participation. In a coconut nutshell, this brand MAP and consistency with our brand, has been our best tactic.
How has opening a brick and mortar changed your business?
After the success of the pop-up market in Richmond, we needed to move to a permanent location to service our wholesale clients and our small tribe of followers. With how quickly we have expanded, the change has come in learning how to manage the growth of Nice Vice.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
On March 30th, 2015, we sold vice cream “dickie” cups to customers at a Hawkers night market. Nine months later, we opened up our permanent location in Yale town. This has been a huge achievement for us.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
I could go on about the necessity of passion, faith, integrity, and hard work to ride the small biz emotional roller-coaster, but I think the best characteristic is persistence and the ability to get through large amounts of criticism, rejection, negativity, and pessimists.
Favorite Nice Vice Flavour?
Ten minutes ago, we just finished experimenting with our new black sesame & dark chocolate flavour. I ate half the batch. So right now, that’s my favourite flavour! I always get excited about new flavours we are developing and the integration of plants into our flavours. Last week, we used Kabocha squash to make a new coffee flavour…so last week it was coffee!! Hahaha.
Check out their Yaletown location at 1022 Mainland Street!