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.