Kaitlyn Kuld is a self proclaimed ice-cream obsessive. She can’t pick just one favourite from the dozens she’s handcrafted with her husband Mati at Kuld Creamery in Perth. Roasted strawberry, baklava, lemon butter with almond poppyseed biscuits and cornbread with rhubarb swirl are just some of the quirky flavours that make her top five.
What started out as an idea jotted in a notebook, became a reality when after a difficult day at work Kaitlyn and Mati scored an old commercial ice-cream machine on Gumtree.
“I came home from work one day, so upset. I was crying and I just didn’t want to do it anymore. Mati was like, ‘Well what do you want to do?’. I said, ‘I want to make ice-cream’. He said, ‘Ok, let’s make ice-cream then!’.” says Mati.
Their small batch organic ice cream with unusual flavours and produced with locally sourced ingredients was an instant hit. Before long Kaitlyn and Mati had quit their day jobs to focus on the business full-time. Fast forward two years and Kuld Creamery now has two stores.
We chatted about having a job that brings people joy every day, what it’s really like to launch a business and the lessons they’ve learned in being mindful along the way.
Know when to ask for help
Learning the business of running a business, coping with the anxiety of maintaining a profit and creating boundaries between work and home were all new challenges for Mati and Kaitlyn.
“I’ve never worked this hard in my life – that’s for damn sure,” Kaitlyn says. “I could never have been prepared for the workload. It’s probably like having a kid – everyone tells you it’s the most rewarding job but I wasn’t prepared for the hours and the sheer stress.”
Recognising that they were at breaking point after having worked on every aspect of the business for the two years since its launch, Mati and Kaitlyn made the decision to expand to from two to eight staff.
“It just really settled in that we can’t manage it all. We were always stepping in doing the day to day things and that’s really hindering to moving forward and growing. We’ve realised now that it’s OK to hand off those tasks you don’t need to be involved in all the time,” says Mati.
Managing two stores has also made taking time off more challenging.
“Mati has churned every single batch of ice-cream that we’ve ever sold. He was the only one that had ever done the machine until two weeks ago,” says Kaitlyn.
“And then I do shop hours and admin,” adds Mati.
As well as growing their team to help with the workload, they have committed to closing the stores every August for their own time to recharge and rejuvenate. Last year they went to Bali, the year before back to North America.
“We see each other all the time but we’re not hanging out. You’re talking about business stuff and strategies and orders. It’s not the same,” says Mati.
“I think quality time is the important thing for us to gain in our lives right now,” says Kaitlyn.
Have daily rituals just for you
Taking the time to slow down and create daily rituals is a goal for Mati and Kaitlyn to create balance between work and life. Time at the beach and coffee are two of their favourites.
“I love a good cup of coffee. We live in South Fremantle and for me, breakfast and coffee at Third Wheel with Mati and a beach walk is my perfect morning. If I could do that every day I’d be the happiest person. It sets my day up for going well. I feel like I’ve had such a good day when I can start it like that. I love the community aspect, going to the local coffee shop and everyone knows everyone there,” says Kaitlyn.
For Mati it’s an ocean swim.
“There’s nothing better,” says Mati. “It shocks your system, wakes you up, you’re in nature. It’s not just rolling out of bed and going to work. It breaks up the day and feels like a vacation.”
Take everything as a lesson but keep looking forward
Kaitlyn and Mati admit that their passion for the business means they often take on a huge workload which at times has been overwhelming. But rather than reflecting on what they could have done differently, they see all their experiences as a learning and focus on the future.
“I think it sort of happened exactly as it should have happened. When we started it was bare basics, with nothing and it just went from there. We didn’t overextend, other than ourselves. You got to put in those hours in the first place anyhow,” says Mati.
Remember why you’re doing it
Despite the stress and long hours, Kaitlyn and Mati love the joy they bring to their customers and the community spirit at the stores.
“It’s pretty great that everyone’s always excited when they come in. It’s really rare to have a bad day at work. The only way we have a bad day is if we make it a bad day personally,” says Mati.
“Everyone’s in a good mood when they’re buying ice-cream,” says Kaitlyn.
“It’s good for the soul. We have the best job in the world – we get to give people ice cream all day. Everyone is always happy to be here. I don’t know how many jobs are like that, where people are genuinely excited to be here. We get to create that. We see people with our ice cream and how happy it makes them and we get to be a part of that joy. How many jobs are there like that?,” says Mati.
Enjoy the happy vibes at Kuld Creamery’s stores at 460 Beaufort Street, Highgate and 11 Essex Street, Fremantle.