As an enthusiastic ice cream entrepreneur, Molly Moon Neitzel, started her company with one shop in Wallingford in 2008. Now, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream is a thriving and beloved Seattle brand with six shops in the city, all of which use as many locally-sourced products as possible, including lavender from Sequim, honey from the Olympic foothills and organic, fair-trade chocolate and coffee from Theo Chocolate and Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
At the Brenthaven Entrepreneur Unplugged event, Molly Moon Neitzel revealed the hardest part of running her business: making sure you’re doing all the right things on the people front. For Neitzel, a supporter of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage law, that meant raising back-office salaries to $15 an hour or more. She said her staff is more loyal and connected to the company as a result, and that paying more helps with recruiting “above-market talent.”
Another challenge for Neitzel is finding the work-life balance. Though as a thriving business owner, she can set her own schedule to some extent and hire a nanny, she often feels torn between her love for her family and her love for her company. She described how finding the right people to help her grow and being humble while being the boss has helped her find that work-life balance and help grow Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream.
From picking up pennies from the floor of the saloon that her grandparents owned when she was a child to working for the mayor’s office, Neitzel has been through the ups and downs every entrepreneur experiences. When asked about the best advice she has received, she responded, “Don’t focus on cutting costs, but rather on finding more ways to increase sales.” One other tip she stressed for future business owners was to “be authentic, be honest, and don’t be afraid of total transparency.”
For more information about Molly Moon Neitzel and Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, visit http://www.mollymoonicecream.com/.
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