“For some reason I thought an ice cream shop would be super easy to run. I thought, ‘It’s just ice cream, how bad can it be?’”
I really like desserts, and I really like this idea. So I was like why not? Why not give it a try? I wasn’t 100% sure if it was going to make it or not, but because we made the ice cream and we did the calculations, and did the research – and we’re still young. And I feel like because we’re so young, there’s some room for mistakes. If this doesn’t work out we still have the rest of our life to do something else.” – Sophie
Former sorority sisters Sophie Gao and Vida Feng turned their avid love for sweets into their first business: Stax Ice Cream. After Sophie went to Vida with the idea to open an ice cream shop, the duo worked to refine their product for an entire year. With the support from friends and family, they were able to make their dream a reality.
I think the most exciting part is seeing that this is all actually our work, and it actually became real. Now that I actually look around the store, everything is a reflection of us. Our personality, our hard work, every little piece was our design. We put so much thought into everything, whether it’s the ice cream flavors or even how the menu looks, or how many dangling lights there are. All the little details are us. We put our heart and our soul into this store.” – Vida
Sophie and Vida pride themselves in creating a nice blend of Asian and American flavors, such as matcha, milk tea, cornflake bourbon, and earl grey tea. Besides their ice cream products, they created the Cremella, a hot donut ice cream sandwich. The inspiration for the sandwich came from a fried, sweet Korean pancake (sometimes served with ice cream) called Hodduk.
I love talking to customers, I love hearing their opinions and they love listening to our stories. I don’t know how to cook, and for me to know how to make ice cream and to hear people say, ‘I really like your product,’ it makes my heart melt.” – Sophie
Since Stax Ice Cream opened, Sophie and Vida have asked customers for honest feedback to improve and grow the store. They will continue to do so in order set themselves apart from the others in their field.
The duo admitted that because they are young ladies, people don’t usually take them as seriously as they would adults. But Sophie and Vida combat that with their focused mindset and attention to detail. They’ve been working nonstop since they started planning for Stax Ice Cream, and that work has paid off.
I think that everything is also hard work, and if you’re willing to put in the hard work, you’re willing to earn the respect, you’re willing to come in every day and do everything you have to do, and then some more, it’s going to be worth it at the end, because you’re doing something you love.” – Vida
The duo mentioned a new product in the works (shh, it’s a secret), which may debut early next year. Until then, Sophie and Vida have grown their team so they can shift their focus to marketing and business planning. Needless to say, their ambition and love for what they do will take them far.
Stax Ice Cream is located at 279 Grand St., New York, NY 10002.