Sageflo’s 3×3 Podcast: Episode 4

Lori Joyce of Betterwith Ice Cream

In the latest episode of our 3×3 Podcast, Julian sits down with Lori Joyce, Founder and CEO of Betterwith Ice Cream, to discuss the struggles she has overcome and the strategies she has implemented in order to grow her company to where it is today.  

Podcast Excerpts

Julian Scott: You have a really interesting history and fascinating backstory about how you got started working in the world of desserts. Do you mind sharing your story and where you started and where you are now?  

Lori Joyce: I started my first food business with my best friend. We always talked about starting a new business together and not working for the big guy. In 2002, we made that come true with opening Cupcakes. We opened 15 locations, we turned it into a franchise, we then had a TV show that went global. After we’d had Cupcakes for about 12 years, one of the things that really drove me crazy about Cupcakes is that it wasn’t a product that could easily scale. And when I became a mom and I had to make food choices for my two growing babies, the idea and the reflection of the upbringing that I had on my family farm became very important to me all of a sudden.  

One day when I was buying ice cream for my kids and I discovered that it wasn’t anywhere on the package called ice cream and it was called frozen dessert, I was very confused and I felt very betrayed as a consumer. Being an entrepreneur already, I saw this as a tremendous opportunity. Taking the lessons of everything that my parents taught me about food accountability, sustainability, and freshness, I just immediately in the aisle right there saw this as an opportunity to make an all-Canadian dairy, real wholesome, real clean label, full-fat dairy ice cream unlike any other. And as they say, the rest is history.  

Julian Scott: What have been your most successful strategies to attract and retain long-term customers? What are some of the marketing initiatives that you’ve implemented that align with your company philosophy?   

Lori Joyce: Today, the biggest difference that I can say, is really utilizing what I didn’t have in the days of Cupcakes: digital social media platforms. When I first launched, I was doing demos. That was my opportunity to create the experience and that generated tremendous engagement with the consumer that I could connect with. But there’s only one of me and there are 2,000 stores that I should be in, in just this local market, so that wasn’t scalable. I had to go and say, “How can more people experience my message and the brand values and what it stands for faster and at a much bigger level?”  

Here I am stranded on a five-acre organic farm during a pandemic and that actually turned into a magical opportunity. I took that as an opportunity to narrate, go into further detail about the values of Betterwith and really communicate the message that when you eat whole and you eat real and we live sustainably, we can produce better foods and we can create those products in CPG for the consumer. I think social media and digital advertising for that reason is an exceptional tool for startups and entrepreneurs that are creating new products that are better for you, that actually have a strong purpose. 

Julian Scott: As you now look ahead, how will the learnings of the past shape what you do moving forward?  

Lori Joyce: The pandemic really made me appreciate the real purpose and act that out in a way so that we can grow a company that truly has real authentic purpose. For me, it’s just honing into why food sustainability is important and continuing on harder and louder with that message. And the consumer is responding to it. I think more people want to learn and want to know where their food comes from and that’s the whole big goal of Betterwith, with traceability. Being on the forefront of that and making sure the marketplace knows your values and what you’re bringing to the market and why consumers should care, are all really important points and messages that will as I said continue to resonate over time.  

Julian ScottAs you look back, anything you would change? Any mistakes you would sweep under the carpet and try again?  

Lori Joyce: Even during a pandemic, the whole point of being an entrepreneur is resiliency and if you don’t have resiliency, you can’t survive in this. I wish I really understood how hard the CPG industry is. It is not what it is from a consumer’s perspective. I didn’t know that you had to pay to play. That took me years to understand. As I said, I invested a lot of money in a beautiful brand package. I shouldn’t have done this. It’s not the prettiest brands that are the biggest, it’s not even necessarily the best food products that are the biggest, right? I think we can all admit that. The strategy, the planning behind it, having people sooner, all of those things could have really helped me. And either way, I’m here today and I’m listening to the things that I need to do and I’m adapting to them. We’re growing together as a team and I’m really excited about that.  

View the full podcast episode here to hear how Betterwith Ice Cream strives to stand out in the CPG industry and communicate its message to customers.  

Posted by Aaron Smith

CEO at Sageflo