Pooja Bavishi, founder of the artisanal ice cream company Malai, likes to compare the struggles of launching her business with those of navigating New York City in the rain.
Getting rejection after rejection, "it’s like you’re walking through these puddles, you can’t get a simple errand done, and you can’t get a cab," she said. Then you score a win, or a Lyft, "and you're driving across a bridge and you see this amazing city. There's something about that that makes it all worthwhile."
Bavishi is one of at least three women ice cream makers and entrepreneurs promoting their sweet wares Friday at Brooklyn Eats, the borough's largest food and drink trade show.
Like the borough that incubates their growing businesses, Bavishi, Hannah Bae of Noona's Ice Cream and Shelly Marshall of Island Pops offer diverse flavors. Their frozen desserts tap vastly different heritages and memories for inspiration — from a childhood in Trinidad's capital to post-college years in a Korean-American household in Queens — but they all transcend cultural boundaries, they said.
The themes of their working lives also align: the centrality of family, the chance to pivot the course of the careers and the hustle that transformation entails.
Here are their stories and their flavors:
Hannah Bae: Noona's Ice Cream
Shelly Marshall's (and Khalid Hamid's) Island Pops
Pooja Bavishi's Malai