Friends with Leafage: Jess Salamanca

Vegan ice cream made from Bananas? Yes, it really does exist and we were lucky enough to catch up with Jess Salamanca, the founder of newly launched Banana Scoops. Jess has managed to get Banana Scoops into Ocado, Planet Organic and As Nature Intended within the first year of her biz so we couldn't wait to hear more about her entrepreneurial journey. We hope you'll love our chat!

Who is Jess Salamanca and how did your entrepreneurial journey begin?

Hi! I’m Jess, Spanish, 25, living in London. I moved to the UK when I was 17 (all on my own, without any family or friends here!) to study Business Management. Fast forward a few years and I’m now the founder of Banana Scoops, a healthy, vegan and banana-based ice cream brand. So thrilled to say that we’re now stocked in Ocado and Planet Organic as well as independent shops around the country.

You freelance part-time alongside growing your brand, so you must be really busy! We'd love to know what a typical day looks like for you. 

Ha, yes, quite busy but I love what I do. I think it’s all about prioritizing. I have to wear lots of different hats, both for Banana Scoops and for my freelance work, so no two days are the same. Day to day life isn’t really that exciting – wake up at 8am, scroll on my phone, shower and get ready to be at my desk by 9am. I usually work solidly until lunch time where I have a break and watch an episode on Netflix. Then it’s back at my desk until 5 or 6pm. There are also days where I do a final work sprint roughly 8-10pm. Pre-lockdown life was a lot more exciting, including lots of foodie and business events, catch-ups with friends and date nights always trying out new restaurants. 

The work I do really varies, and you might find me on certain days hosting an (online) event for 100+ small businesses but others are more admin-based where I’m mostly doing emails and spreadsheets.  My favourite days definitely involve trips to our manufacturer to taste new recipes! 

Any routines, or rituals, you like to practice to stay focused? 

There are lots! My routine has changed a lot since lockdown, but having a slow start to the day always helps me start work without feeling rushed. I wake up, make a cup of tea and just scroll on my phone – business Instagram, emails and WhatsApps. I rather do this than going straight to my computer as I feel a lot more relaxed and grounded!

Music is also key, as well as having a very well organized to-do list. I really believe it’s all about prioritizing and making sure you get your big projects done first rather than doing all the small tasks first and then running out of time for the bigger, usually more important jobs!

Although Banana Scoops is a sweet treat, there must be some health benefits from choosing Bananas as the main ingredients in Ice Cream? Tell us more about this process! 

Yes definitely! I started Banana Scoops because I wanted a healthier ice cream that still tasted amazing. Our ice cream is made primarily from bananas (60-80% depending on the flavour) with natural & plant-based ingredients. We don’t add any refined sugars, preservatives or artificial ingredients, so it’s just all-natural goodness. I like to say it’s ice cream so healthy you can have it for breakfast (it’s like a frozen smoothie in a way!) and it even counts towards your five a day ☺  

At Leafage we are all about spreading joy so tell us about something that’s brought joy to your life through starting your business?

Seeing our products on shelf for the first time! That was such a crazy, speech-less moment. Seeing them on the shelves at Planet Organic was a dream come true, as well as the first Ocado order that I received with our ice cream in it. It’s so surreal!

I’ve also met SO many new friends through Banana Scoops. There’s so many lovely people starting and launching a food brand, and we have so much in common. We’ve even started a foodpreneur accountability group and have calls every Friday – it’s so nice to speak to others who are going through the same process, barriers and challenges.

Lastly, please share with our audience what you’re currently up to. Any new things you’ll be launching soon, or something exciting happening in your business right now? We’d love to know!

So much going on!  A lot of it is linked to our manufacturer - tweaking our current recipes as well as coming up with new flavours and new formats for our ice cream. Product development is definitely one of the most fun parts of my job!

We’re also talking to lots of new retailers so definitely watch this space as Banana Scoops may be in more shelves around you.

And finally…

Describe your business in one word?  Fun!

Name a book you’ve read that’s positively shaped you? Everything Is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo

If you could have any superpower, which would it be? Teletransportation

Favourite podcast? It’s a tie between She can She did - love the inspirational stories; and Alice Benham’s podcast for practical advice and motivation when I need it the most.

Favourite house plant? My new prayer plant in my office – so colourful and bright.

Favourite self-care tip? I have two – napping and scents (candles, pillow sprays, oil diffusers, etc).

A destination you'd love to visit? Bali

If you weren’t an entrepreneur what would you be doing instead? So many things! I’m a big foodie and love cooking so would love to be a chef if the working hours weren’t so antisocial. I’d also love to do something with animals!

 

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