Creamistry is a Southern California-based ice cream brand that uses liquid nitrogen to create the ice cream product. The business model is based on an experiential retail business where the customer is wowed with an exciting show and presentation while waiting for their product to be served. The business was developed using proprietary equipment and machines which were developed for this specific purpose. Jay Yim’s family had been in the baked goods and sweets market for decades in Korea and at one point, Mr. Yim came across the idea of using liquid nitrogen to create ice cream. The wheels of innovation and entrepreneurship started and in 2013, Creamistry was born in Orange County, California. What makes the Creamistry brand so fascinating is the level of competitiveness within the ice cream market at the time Creamistry launched the model (2014) was so high and there were so many strong competitors, that it was difficult to see where the model would fit into the market. Despite this, the brand was amazingly well accepted in a very short time period, and quickly, customers began to ask about the franchise and how they could get involved in opening their own locations.
In 2014, Creamistry hired Franchise Marketing Systems to design the franchise platform, build the franchise marketing strategy and create the Creamistry franchise development program. Being that the business was in the retail and ice cream franchise market, previous business models could be leveraged as examples for the ice cream franchise, but new marketing and business development models needed to be implemented to effectively take market share from older, larger more established ice cream franchises. Franchise sales strategies for the ice cream brand centered around showing people the experience and helping them understand just how different this model was from others in the market space. Franchise tradeshows were a primary function of the franchise development model and along with this was a focus on pushing for discovery days early in the sales process to get candidates into the stores and to experience the Creamistry difference.
Creamistry developed a sales team to implement the franchise marketing model and the first marketing event was the West Coast Franchise Expo held in Anaheim, California in 2014. The booth display was developed to showcase the brand, the business model and the overall excitement of the concept, it was truly a miniature ice cream store within a tradeshow display. Creamistry retained independent sales representatives to market and promote the brand and facilitate the sales process for new recruits. The response was amazing – over 750 candidates signed up with interest in the franchise platform at the first event and more were coming in as the brand recognition caught on. In the first year of development, almost 200 franchise commitments were signed and the brand was quickly becoming known as a market segment game-changer for the ice cream franchise market.
By 2016, the organization had opened up the Middle East with a master franchise relationship, developed several master franchise opportunities in the U.S., and was continuing to expand rapidly in key markets around the U.S. The organization was growing quickly and taking on more responsibilities as a franchisor. Site location and real estate development became a core function within the organization that needed to be addressed with the number of units that were opening each month. A dedicated commercial real estate team was developed and put into place. Unit level operations concerns were magnified with the growing number of operations and franchisees needed more documentation and technology to support their employees. The marketing, branding and strategic opportunities continued to increase and the organization needed to bring in an experienced franchise COO. In the coming years, Creamistry is now positioned to be a global leader in the ice cream market.
Why did the brand have so much success and so much rapid growth through franchising? It boils down to three factors, a great approach to a business model with proven unit-level economics, second, a business owner’s willingness to commit to the marketing and business development side of franchising and third a fun brand that organically drove franchise interest. Creamistry is an amazing story in that the brand was able to leverage franchising to accomplish a speed of growth unseen in the ice cream franchise market for many years, it is an ideal example of having a better mousetrap than the rest of the market and utilizing the franchise model to capture market share.
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