With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. CEOs are forging their own paths, blazing their own trails, and turning their passion into a profit. Curious to know how she does it? In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.
As a vegan, Dymetra Pernell was tired of not being able to find quality desserts that looked and tasted like what her grandma used to make, so she got to work on creating an ice cream that was both dairy-free and delicious.
She nailed the recipe on the first try, which sparked the name for her company First Batch Artisan Foods, a vegan ice cream and pastry company focused on introducing better choices without sacrificing quality or taste. The homemade desserts and hand-packed ice cream have resonated with vegans and non-vegans alike, selling over 3,000 pints in the first three months of its launch in 2018. In 2019, First Batch earned the Critic's Choice for "Best Ice Cream" by Creative Loafing, and continues to be a hit at local food festivals throughout the Atlanta region.
In this week's feature, meet Dymetra Pernell, ND of First Batch Artisan Foods.
Courtesy of Dymetra Pernell
Name: Dymetra Pernell, ND
Brand: First Batch Artisan Foods, LLC
Location: Atlanta, GA
Year Founded: 2018
# of Employees: 3
30-Second Pitch: "We are a dairy ice cream and pastry company that focuses on introducing better choices without sacrificing quality or taste. Our homemade desserts and hand-packed ice cream can be enjoyed without consequence by the 50,000,000+ Americans who suffer from lactose intolerance."
What inspired you to start your brand?
As a vegan, I was tired of not being able to find quality desserts that looked and tasted like what grandma used to make, so I decided to create them myself.
What was your a-ha moment that brought your idea into reality?
I met a friend for lunch and brought her some of my ice cream to sample. The restaurant staff happened to see it and asked to try it. When they all started dancing, I knew I had something special that resonated with both vegans and non-vegans alike.
Who is your ideal customer?
Anyone who is looking to make better choices regarding their heart health (our treats are absent of cholesterol, a major contributing factor in strokes, heart attacks, and type 2 diabetes), individuals who suffer from lactose intolerance, and the vegan population.
What makes your business different?
We are the only exclusively vegan ice cream and pastry shop in all of Atlanta. We've been able to start and grow our business on sales alone. We started in the black and remain in the black. Finally, we were voted Best Ice Cream (Critic's Choice) by Creative Loafing 2019; in other words, we beat out all local competitors in the dairy ice cream category.
What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand? How were you able to overcome them?
Finding work/life balance in the constant ever-increasing grind that comes with launching and growing a brand with a one-woman team. I'm still working through them, but for starters, I have set a start and stop time for work; I leave the kitchen each day at my scheduled time and I find that I'm much less stressed.
What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey?
I first began selling my pints out of a small gym called E.F.F.E.C.T. FITNESS every Saturday. After three months, I'd sold over 3,000 pints to non-vegans; that's when I knew I had something special.
Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?
To have my products in stores and homes all across the U.S. and expanding into Canada and beyond.
Where have you seen the biggest return on investment?
My biggest ROI has been word of mouth, vending at places like The Village Market ATL, the Atlanta Ice Cream Festival, and VegFest, and promoting through social media.
Do you have a mentor? If so, who?
Yes, Dr. Michael Imani, PhD, ND.
Biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS, or you risk losing it all, or risk running an insolvent business.
Anything else you would like for people to know, or take away from your entrepreneurial story?
On the surface, running your own business sounds sexy, fun, and exciting, but you'd better love what you do because the mental, physical, emotional, and financial toll can be overwhelming. And last but not least, stepping out on faith SHOULD include having a financial safety net. Faith is a beautiful thing, but it won't pay ONE bill.
For more First Batch Artisan, follow them on social media @firstbatchaf.
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32-year-old social media influencer and mother of five, Ariel B, did not set out to tell her story; but it was her truth that set her free. Her truth is also the inspiration for her new podcast "This Too Shall Pass," produced by Idea To Launch Productions. The podcast delves into Ariel's life and journey as a single parent and a domestic violence survivor. But it also serves as a window into her past traumas that have fostered her resilience.
In an exclusive interview with xoNecole, Ariel B. reveals that her online following grew after she decided to share the realistic, non-curated parts of her life on social media at the advice of her therapist. "Growing up, I was taught to hide things that made you seem less than," she says. "I didn't mind speaking at the shelter for women and children. I didn't mind speaking in my domestic violence group with other women, but I was ashamed to talk about it with people that I felt had a perfect life. So [my therapist] said 'No, you need to get used to telling your story. If you don't like it or you feel some kind of way, just delete it.' I started first on Instagram, and that was probably the first time I dipped my toe in the social media world of telling the truth."
Ariel's followers became inspired by her honest and raw day-in-the-life perspective: the days when she would be over her budget, her kids' rooms wouldn't be the tidiest, or when she'd be running late for pick-ups and drop-offs. Her relatability made single mothers everywhere feel seen, but there's much more to life Ariel's story that she's found the bravery to open up about.
The Florida native had her first child when she was 16 years old. Growing up in a middle-class suburban family, she says she felt judged by family and peers for having children out of wedlock. "I already had two kids before I got married," she says. "And when I got married, I think that was my parents' sigh of relief. Like, oh my gosh, she's finally married. She's not a single mother of two. She should be safe. It was a disaster."
Ariel says marriage was great in the beginning. Her ex-husband presented himself as loving and was a proud stepfather to her two children. After welcoming two more children with her ex-husband, she says that's when the problems started. "We were arguing all the time. The finances were bad. And then it got to the point where he was consuming a lot of alcohol all the time," she says. "And when the alcohol got bad, it got physical. I was embarrassed. I just invited all of my family to this wedding and everyone's so happy that I'm married, but I'm miserable."
Ariel eventually filed for divorce, and was then forced to get a restraining order after her ex proceeded to stalk her. Though these frightening moments are behind her, she's working every day to address the residual trauma. "It was a lot of trauma to get where we are, and a lot to finally feel safe," she says. "But I just wanted to do whatever I had to do so my children wouldn't have to heal from a choice that I made."
It's clear that Ariel's adorable children, ranging from ages three to fifteen, are her biggest inspiration. She often posts videos of herself teaching them important life lessons like how to create a budget and maintain good credit. It's these important life skills that many of her followers said they wished they had learned growing up. For Ariel, her greatest goal is to fill up their self-love tank. "The world is going to knock you down enough when you get older," she says. "So if I can push them out there at a hundred percent if the world can only knock them down to 80, I'd be happy with that. But if they only go out there at 80 and the world can get them down to 60 or less than half of who they are, that's a problem for me."
When it comes to her new podcast, Ariel isn't afraid of the judgments that may come, both from loved ones and strangers. "When you tell the truth, there's nothing to hide from," she says. "I am a single mother of five. I do have more than one child's father. We are on a budget. And when I was able to just be honest, I think I wasn't shameful anymore. I didn't have to pretend and I was able to tell my truth out loud."
"This Too Shall Pass" is out now!