By Colleen Hagerty
Four years ago, Diana Hardeman was a business school student in New York City with a bit of an ice cream addiction. On her way to purchase a pint one day, she had a realization.
“I thought, ‘This isn’t even that good,’” says Hardeman. “I didn’t love what I was eating anymore, the pints had shrunk, the ingredients weren’t natural, and I just decided, ‘I bet I could make this better.”
Using a small ice cream maker and fresh ingredients, Hardeman started crafting her own flavors to enjoy with friends. Word quickly spread, and her ice cream starting receiving nods from popular local blogs. From there, MilkMade was born.
“Ever since I was seven, I’ve had business ideas, but I never took that next step, it was always just an idea. With MilkMade, the opportunity really just presented itself, and I decided to go for it,” Hardeman says. Her business model is simple—every month, she creates a new, unique flavor and delivers it straight to the doorsteps of subscribers. Today, Hardeman’s staff helps her delivery up to 300 hand-made pints each month throughout the city.
“I don’t have a culinary background, it’s all self-taught,” admits Hardeman. “I build the recipes from the ground-up, and for each flavor, we do between one and ten iterations until the recipe is just right. It’s a lot of hands-on work!”
Past flavors include pine needle, pumpkin bread, and marzipan. All are made with locally-sourced ingredients. “For me, that was even an impetus for starting MilkMade,” explains Hardeman. “I really believe in supporting the local economy and closing the gap between producers and consumers.”
With a Kickstarter campaign in the works, Hardeman is hoping to expand her business outside of New York and share her creations with ice cream lovers across the country. She is also looking to launch a signature line of flavors for retail. You can follow MilkMade’s journey by visiting milkmadeicecream.com.
About the Writer
Colleen Hagerty is a New York City-based multimedia journalist. Currently, she works for a local television news station, where she has covered everything from Hurricane Sandy to Fashion Week and interviewed some of the top politicians, athletes, and civic leaders in the city. When she’s not following a lead, Colleen loves exploring all of the unique restaurants, shops, and sites the city has to offer. An avid traveler, she tries to visit a new country ever year. You can follow along with her adventures here: http://about.me/colleen_