Jeni Britton Bauer

Jeni Britton Bauer

Jeni Britton Bauer, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, in Columbus, shares her career timeline and advice for up-and-coming talent.


I think ice cream can be better. I’ve been making it for over 21 years and haven’t unlocked all the secrets yet. Ice cream is such an art; it combines agriculture and science. There’s still so much work to be done, in terms of body, taste and texture. It's what gets me out of bed in the morning and it's also fun!


EXPERIENCE
My grandmother said: "if you can’t find a job, make a job." I always wanted to be an artist and an entrepreneur because it gives me ultimate freedom. I never really worked for anyone else, and I started working for myself at a fairly young age. Build your own boat and sail it!
I always knew I’d be an entrepreneur. While working at a bakery, the French guy I was dating was a chemist, and got me hooked on perfuming. Once I started making ice cream, I realized that I could use it to carry the essence and scent of each flavor. I knew ice cream could be better than what I knew it to be. And at that moment, I knew this was going to be my business and my path. Thankfully, my family did not expect me to go a traditional route, so it didn't occur to me to explore anything else.
The science of ice cream is very important. You can’t simply achieve the flavors you want. For example, strawberry ice cream is very complex. You have to pull all the ingredients apart and then piece them back together to find the right consistency, flavor, and color. It’s so scientific. It can take years to develop flavors.
We love building our company as a community. We work directly with farmers, and we have produce that is grown specifically for us!
Every day I show up and am developing with my team. I’m always with the team. You can’t build a company without being there. We do everything in-house—write all the recipes, design our pints and scoop shops, and style photo shoots. You have to become the one and only expert for your business. You create your own world, and it’s awesome, but you have to be there for it to exist! That’s how you inspire people.
When hiring, I look for someone who is scrappy. I don’t want to increase the size of our team, as it then becomes more difficult to manage. I want someone who can think on their feet and doesn’t need a lot of direction. I call it "talent hustle". Just jump in and do it! Be brave!


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