Buoyed by her success in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s 10k Business Challenge last year, Rowena Millar has now brought her Crazy Rabbit Ice Cream range of plant based treats to local streets.
Rowena, who launched her business with the support of the Go For It programme, successfully pitched the Business Challenge judges her innovative plans as part of last year’s Enterprise Week. The Go For It programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.
Taste as Good as Traditional
Rowena’s aim is to offer local people accessible dairy free, gluten free, soya free sweet treats and ice cream that taste as good as their traditional equivalent and are made from 100% natural and organic ingredients. The presentation and business plan earned her a handsome £2,000 stake in the £10k Business Challenge prize pot and she wasted no time in furthering her plans with the purchase of an ice cream cart to allow her to sell the Crazy Rabbit offering on Derry Quay and at local festivals and events.
Since launching the business last year, Rowena has been thrilled by the public’s feedback at markets and festivals, giving her the confidence to take the business to the next level by widening its customer base and exploring new product lines.
“In just the first few months of trading, Crazy Rabbit achieved an overwhelming response and following, We already have nearly 700 likes and numerous five star reviews on Facebook to date and have acquired keen interest from noted restaurants in Belfast like the Mourne Seafood, Home Restaurant, Edo Restaurant and Ormeau 387.
“I was completely overjoyed to be placed in the top three of the £10k Business Challenge as I understand over 40 businesses entered. Talking to the other candidates on the day of the pitch, I realised just how many fantastic new business ideas there are springing up here in our City and District. The prize money has been used to obtain equipment and an ice cream cart so I can continue selling our ice cream and promoting through festivals and markets.”
Crazy Rabbit launched with the help of Council’s Go For It programme and Rowena praised the local authority’s approach to business support.
Go For It
“I feel the Go For It programme provided a brilliant joined up service to help start-up the business,” she continued. “From initial support in producing a business plan to creating the opportunity to pitch my idea through the 10K Start-Up Challenge Dragon’s Den, I really had to focus on planning a competitive and sustainable business idea.
“Council continues to provide ways to promote and sell my products, through the local Walled City Market, festivals and granting me a street vending licence to sell without the huge initial outlay for premises. All this has given me an amazing start and I cannot thank them enough.”
While the idea of providing plant based diet options locally remains in its infancy, Rowena revealed a period living in Barcelona proved inspirational in opening her eyes to the potential for making 100% natural foods accessible here.
“When I was living in Barcelona, eating a plant based diet every day was very easy, There is an abundance of options, from entirely organic supermarkets to vegetarian and vegan restaurants on every street.
“I decided I wanted to create something here at home that is free from chemicals, environmentally sustainable and cruelty free. I also wanted to challenge the usual belief that a plant based diet is a bit of a sacrifice in taste and enjoyment. To begin this food revolution locally, my focus was to create food as good as, if not better than the traditional equivalent.
“Crazy Rabbit began its quest focusing on non-dairy ice cream and chocolates, that are not only delicious, but are also naturally gluten free, soya free and contain only five natural organic ingredients.
“I am looking forward to serving my own version of plant based deliciousness by way of ice cream and chocolates from the cart on the quay and in local food markets.”
To keep up to date with the latest developments for The Crazy Rabbit on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/crazyrabbit.ice.cream/.
For more information on the Go For It programme, call the free phone enquiry line on 0800 027 0639 or register here.