In this episode, I had the privilege of interviewing Thereasa Black, CEO and Founder of Amore Congelato, a start-up gelato brand taking a different approach to treats, community and the definition of success. Thereasa takes us on a journey of being a professionally driven single mom finding a way to develop a dessert that her daughter fell in love with, while Tereasa was deployed overseas, to create a new opportunity for her family and her community. Along the way we explore the hurdles of starting a new food brand with no experience in food or frozen desserts, CPG, or retail.
In this episode we learn:
- The genesis and inspiration of Amore Congelato.
- How Thereasa's military experience influences her decision making and level-headedness.
- How to stay focused on the mission of a company regardless of challenge.
- To always have a real plan B, ( and C).
- How leaning into other people and resources can help at every level of business.
- How to stay inspired when working through unfamiliar situations.
- That the real key to success is balancing work life with personal life.
She leaves us with a word of advice: “Your drive should be the want to achieve your goals."
About Thereasa Black, esq.:
Thereasa Black is an attorney, Naval Officer, and the CEO and founder of Amore Congelato, a company that makes all-natural, nutritious gelato and sorbet that contains zero cane sugar.
In March 2018, a month after she was sworn into the Maryland Bar and a week before her daughter’s 2nd birthday, Thereasa was deployed to Djibouti for a 13-month deployment. This was Thereasa’s 4th deployment, but her first as a mom. Every day away from her daughter was s struggle because her toddler, who believed that Thereasa had dropped her off and moved to a new home, was suffering greatly.
Thereasa knew immediately that she couldn’t deploy again and that returning home and practicing law working 8o hour weeks was also not an option, so she decided to start her own business. She chose gelato in honor of the last food that she and her daughter shared before their long journey apart. Thereasa had made an ice cream cookie cake to celebrate her daughter’s birthday the night before she deployed. It was the first time that her daughter had ice cream and she fell in love with it.
Thereasa decided to make an ice cream that was nutritious so that she would be happy to allow her daughter to eat it. She removed all of the cane sugar and replaced it with a tasty combination of date syrup, agave nectar, and coconut sugar. It has up to 16 essential vitamins and minerals and 24 grams of protein. Now her daughter can enjoy gelato that has more nutrients than kale and Thereasa will never have to leave her side.
Guests Social Media Links:
Amore Congelato: Gelato sweetened with dates, coconut sugar, and agave nectar. Zero cane sugar.
Stacy’s Rise Project: Created to help bridge the funding gap for female founders, Stacy’s Rise Project™ has been connecting and empowering women business owners for years. That’s why Stacy’s is sharing our resources with other female-founded businesses like those founded by these 30 women. Support them by adding their products and services to your cart.
HelloAlice: Step-by-step guides, expert resources, and collaborative communities of fellow entrepreneurs - all for free.
MassChallenge: MassChallenge was founded in 2009 with a singular purpose – to make it as easy as possible for entrepreneurs to launch and grow new ventures.
Episode Sponsor - Retail Voodoo:
A branding firm building, growing and evolving brands in the food, beverage, wellness, and fitness industry. If your brand is in need of positioning, package design, or marketing activation, we’re here to help. You can find more information at www.retail-voodoo.com
2:21 Thereasa shares a little background of her brand and why she started it
5:54 Thereasa explains the meaning of her company’s name ‘Amore Congelato’ and how she came up with it
6:49 Thereasa talks about location, how to identify that particular spot to set up your business for it to thrive
9:53 Thereasa also talks about inspiration, somewhere you get your strength from that makes you do what you do
11:50 Thereasa advices young entrepreneurs why they should consider doing both the scoop shop component and the CPG in their businesses
14:11 Thereasa also gives the importance of comparing your brand with other brands that are bigger than yours
16:07 Thereasa talks about the importance of focusing on the mission of a company and making sure you accomplish it regardless of the challenges
16:20 Thereasa also speaks of the importance of following the rules and regulations stated by law as a company for you to stay on the safer side
17:15 Thereasa recommends or calls for a change in the society for everyone to be treated fairly for it to grow
20:54 Thereasa shares some tips on how to identify where you get the strength to keep on pushing harder such as giving the people you love a better life
24:30 Thereasa shares her military life story and how it helped her grow and succeed as an entrepreneur
26:35 Thereasa talks about having the right mentality when entering in to the business word of pivoting every time your plan A fails
29:00 Thereasa shares the importance of caring for the other business person because you get to hold each other’s hands
31:55 Thereasa talks about balancing your work life and personal life and why that is important if you want to succeed
35:18 Thereasa talks about Stacy’s Rise, what it is and how she is involved in it
37:41 Thereasa speaks of the importance of having a mentor as an entrepreneur if you want to become successful
40:03 Thereasa also talks in details of some of the trends in her industry
42:28 Thereasa also shares the comparison between Gelato and Kale
45:40 Thereasa talks of how she keeps herself sane especially in this time of the pandemic
Business and investment books
https://www.stacyssnacks.com/ Created to help bridge the funding gap for female founders
Better-for-you, these are foods low in salt and sugar, high in fiber or with added vitamins.
“Don’t just stop at where the status quo was.”
“Your drive should be the want to achieve your goals.”
“Don’t just sit there and always talk about your goals, you take action.”
“Being able to pivot is the key to being a business person.”
“We all need to succeed in order to hold each other up.”
“The brain needs a break too.”