Being an ice cream business who operated mostly at events and seasonal venues, we got very used to the idea of summer being busy and winter being slow. But when COVID hit, we lost the entire summer in the blink of an eye and that was time for things to change. Rather than sitting around feeling hopeless, we almost immediately launched an online store....delivering sammies + pops and 'Build Your Own Sammie Kits' to people's homes who were stuck in quarantine with or without their families.
These home deliveries turned into interactive, fun activities for parents to do with their kids. For employers to send to their staff who were newly working from home. They became a new 'virtual' way to celebrate holidays and birthdays that everyone was missing. They cheered up people who were alone and in need of a sweet distraction. The notes that were written on the cards would melt my heart daily. It was the only light going on during such a dark time.
For as stressful as a time that it was and no matter how much we were criticized for not 'staying home', playing ding-dong-ditch with ice cream is something that I will remember for the rest of my life. We were dressed in protective gear from head to toe, would send a text when we were on the way, run up to the door, ring the doorbell, drop the treats on the porch and sprint back to the car as fast as possible. It is so strange to think about, but I feel so grateful that it happened for two reasons.
1) Because the community came together. The community stepped up and supported those who needed it. It was a feeling of unity and support that I had never experienced before. From the minute that we launched our online store, our people showed up. People being family, friends, neighbors, college friends, people I grew up with but haven’t talked to since high school, customers who I met back in 2015 when we first started at the Fells Point Farmers Market and more! The online orders came from people who I had some sort of a connection to. Back then, I promised to throw a party to repay the favor and I still stand by that. One day when the time is right, the party will go on!
2) Having an online store is something that I always wanted to do. Shortly after I started the business, I spent pretty much every penny I made in one summer on a very expensive label printer with the intention of offering custom labeled sammies to personalize orders and ship them to customers. Great idea right? Terrible execution on my part. The timing was not right so the project failed miserably. So when COVID hit and we started the home deliveries, the time was finally right. We quickly did some testing, sent out some practice runs (view some of our round one failure boxes here and please feel free to laugh) and began shipping through UPS. The online store still has a long way to go, but it's pretty cool to look at what has come from such a yucky situation. Our website is 100% self taught, I am proud that we have hired no one to help other than good old google and youtube. If I can do it, so can you :) Check out some of my resources below to help you take the leap to the online world!
⇢ Download our 'Brick and Mortar to Online Store In 5 Steps' guide
⇢ Download our 'E-Commerce Holiday Planning Checklist'
⇢ Download our 'Guide To Shipping Frozen + Perishable Products'
And don't forget to shop our ⇢ 'Cream Cruiser Holiday Gift Guide'