Start-up in focus: Mama Dolce
Mama Dolce (Sweet Mama) is a luxury free-from ice cream company with a focus on sustainability and social impact. Founder Jane Visram, a lawyer, grew frustrated with the lack of allergen-free desserts available and came up with the idea of Mama Dolce.
The Mama Dolce‘s range boasts six coconut milk-based ice cream flavours that are free from dairy, nuts, gluten, soya, eggs and wheat.
Mama Dolce’s ice cream is available in Banana & Lime, Chocolate Indulgence, Coconilla, Mango, Raspberry and Strawberry. The start-up’s motto is: ‘We are free from allergens but not from flavour’.
For Mama Dolce having a social conscience is as important as making a delicious free-from frozen dessert, and the company is involved in a number of initiatives to provide opportunities for young people from low socio-economic backgrounds and under-represented groups, as well as working with suppliers – from ingredients to packaging – with strong sustainable, environmentally-friendly and fair trade values.
Founder Jane Visram pitched Mama Dolce to a panel of investors at Food Tech Matters in April. I’ve caught up with Jane to talk about the process of launching a start-up, the challenges and, of course, the successes.
Jane, you are a lawyer. How did you go from working in law to launching Mama Dolce?
The problem that caused much frustration was that I suffered from intolerances and desperately craved an ice cream free from the main allergens, yet still rivalled its luxury, dairy counterparts. So, I started working on recipes in my kitchen, and the idea took off once I realised that there was this rising interest in plant-based lifestyles and the fact that individuals are really focused on what we are putting into our bodies. It seemed that this was a problem I could solve for many more people.
What inspired you to launch Mama Dolce?
The challenge of launching a new business was exciting to me. I was ready to start something different.
Start-ups are always born from an idea. What happened in between coming up with the concept for plant-based allergen-free ice cream to actually launching your business and how long did it take you?
There was so much work in between the idea stage and bringing the business to life – from sourcing ingredients and a manufacturer to packaging and logistics. All in all, it took just over 15 months to launch.
What were the first challenges when you decided to launch your own business?
One of the first challenges when deciding to launch was finding a supplier that could adhere to our allergen requirements.
What are the challenges now?
A current challenge would be being able to keep up with deliveries during this current HGV driver shortage!
You pitched Mama Dolce to investors at Food Tech Matters last April. What advice would you give a start-up pitching to a panel?
Have confidence and belief in your product.
What has happened in Mama Dolce’s world since pitching last April?
We have launched online and have also been privileged enough to be part of the current ADD PSALT accelerator cohort.
What advice do you wish you’d been given when you decided to launch your business?
Do your research and stress test the product.
What advice would you give to a young start-up?
Have confidence and believe in your vision.