As a child growing up in Saratoga, CA, I developed a passion for culinary arts as I admired the works of famous chefs (such as Jacques Pepin and Julia Child) on television. Despite my love for all things food related, I decided to pursue a degree in Computer Science and put my childhood dreams on hold.
I earned a BS in Computer Science at Santa Clara University. I then worked in corporate finance for the biopharmaceutical industry for 7 years and obtained an MBA from Arizona State University. At last, I reached a point in my life when I realized that passion and career may not necessarily have to be mutually exclusive. I decided to return to what made me most happy, this time as a career. I first staged for Christopher Kostow at Chez TJ in Mountain View, CA, and then studied at the prestigious École Supérieure de Cuisine Française – Ferrandi in Paris. I soon began to find myself working alongside some of the world’s top chefs, including: Hélène Darroze (**Michelin stars), Mauro Colagreco (Mirazur, **Michelin stars), and Jean-François Piège (Les Ambassadeurs, **Michelin stars).
Ironically, I began to develop intolerances to the most basic ingredients in the kitchen! Being especially sensitive to gluten and dairy, I switched to a Paleo/Sugar Free lifestyle which eradicated most of my health problems. I know how difficult and frustrating it can be to plan meals around these intolerances. That’s when the idea for Jöne’s Gelato came into play. I wanted to create something that was not only delicious, but also safe for people with dietary intolerances to consume. By creating Jöne’s Gelato, I devoted my childhood dream toward the most altruistic endeavor that I know of: to allow people happiness without sacrificing their health.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Based in San Francisco, California, Jöne’s Gelato is not your average gelato. While gelato and ice cream typically involves a base of dairy and a frighteningly high amount of sugar, Jöne’s Gelato goes against what gelato usually entails. Our gelato is dairy-free, cane sugar-free, soy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free, making it a safe dessert for people suffering from food intolerances and sugar imbalances.
How do we do it? We use Birch Tree Xylitol in place of table sugar. Having fewer calories per gram and a much lower glycemic index than table sugar (7 vs. 68), Xylitol is an excellent alternative natural sweetener for those looking to balance their blood sugar. Additionally, we replace dairy with organic coconut milk so that people who are lactose intolerant can still enjoy our gelato. All of our ingredients are organic and intended to promote health, whether by moderating blood sugar or decreasing calorie consumption. By sourcing our Xylitol from birch trees rather than GMO corn and using organic gum-free coconut milk, our gelato is gluten, dairy, nut, soy, egg, gum, cane sugar free—free of the top 8 allergens!
What is the purpose of this loan?
Since Jöne’s Gelato is sugar and egg free, the texture is a bit tricky to work with. This Kiva loan will help tremendously as I have been needing to buy some kitchen equipment that will help maintain consistent texture of the gelato, roughly $6K – $7K. Also, I want to continue to do marketing in forms of demos and events; this will allow me to hire awesome event specialists to spread the word of Jöne’s Gelato! With the amount of demos and events I am doing, I spend about $1K – $3K/month. This will help boost sales so that I can then use any profit for marketing in the future!
It is really great to see a company like Kiva zip; having a small business is no easy feat, but being able to receive a loan from Kiva zip will impact my business (growth) and personal life (less worry!) in a great way. You need to spend money to make money, and I am happy to bootstrap this and see Jöne’s Gelato grow, in order to provide options to the masses of those who suffer from food intolerances, and health problems. Just because you suffer from food allergies or have dietary restrictions, doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy the good things in life.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years