Lori Joyce, Betterwith, Victoria
Lori Joyce was looking forward to taking a break from business when she happened upon a perplexing situation in the freezer aisle of her local grocery store; the ice cream in her basket was now labelled as “frozen dessert”.
What is frozen dessert, and more importantly why is it not ice cream?
Discovering that the ingredients were so far removed from what ice cream should be, this problem re-ignited her entrepreneurial flame. Growing up on a self-sustaining farm on Vancouver Island, Lori has a passion and priority for fresh, whole food that she carries to this day.
She began her journey to create BetterWith, a cleaner ice cream product with significantly less sugar, no gums and no preservatives.
But this isn’t her first venture; before ice cream, Lori’s entrepreneurial journey was all about a different dessert.
Back in 2002, Lori started her first business, Cupcakes, with childhood best friend Heather White. In less than 10 years, the pair grew the world’s first-ever cupcake-only bakery, into a hugely successful franchise across Canada. They also co-starred in “The Cupcake Girls,” a show which completed 3 full Seasons, 45 Episodes, and won the 2010 Gemini-Award for ‘Best New Reality Show.’
Building on the past success of Cupcakes and already in the mindset of an Entrepreneur, Lori saw a tremendous opportunity to make a better ice cream product.
For me it wasn’t about taking the leap, I was already all-in, but how was I going to do it? How was I going to scale a better, cleaner ice cream product with no understanding of the industry or the frozen CPG (consumer packaged goods) category. I didn’t have any understanding of how the industry worked nor who worked in it. But I believed a better ice cream product was needed and customers would buy it and that I had the chutzpa to get it on frozen shelves.
Lori turned to Women’s Enterprise Centre for support, as she had in the early days of her first business.
I have had a relationship with WEC since the early days of my first business Cupcakes. I am most thankful and must take this moment to say it has formed into a long, trusted and very supportive business relationship. I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for WEC, honestly. With my ice cream company Betterwith, WEC was the first to be there for me and really gave me the support I needed right when I needed it.
With determination, passion and support, Lori has capitalized on the comfort food surge during the pandemic, and credits her trusted network of advisors for getting her through.
I wouldn’t have gotten where I am today without my tribe of trusted advisors.
There has been a lot of learning in ramping up this company and it was critically important to build my small, tight tribe of industry expert advisors.
I am incredibly thankful for this because being a solo entrepreneur in a category where most of our competitors are global brands, I now have the support I need to play out this long game.
Lori’s commitment to the BetterWith promise of real ice cream the Old-World way; full-fat cream, simple ingredients, and an expert process is steadily building brand loyalty. By leading with accountability, transparency, and traceability Lori hopes to raise the bar for the industry and ultimately restore consumer trust in food brands.
Loan Client Q&A
Q. What’s the biggest lesson you learned when starting your business?
In the first 4 years, every decision was critical and most ended up being the wrong decision with scars for life of learning.
I had everything from co-packers, to partners, to formulators to marketing mishaps but these lessons were important hurdles that I needed to experience to better appreciate the path going forward.
Startups and entrepreneurship are all about risk and it comes down to how well you can handle the situation when you are most uncomfortable and vulnerable.
Q. What are your greatest strengths as an entrepreneur?
I actually asked my Team to answer this! Here are their answers:
- Keeping true to the brand promise – providing the cleanest-labelled ice cream made with real ingredients and no added preservatives.
- My ability to see the big picture and then take the image, turn it into a reality, and bring everyone else along for the ride.
- Vision, execution and knowing my strengths, then filling in the voids with the right people who have the strengths in those areas.
Q. What are your goals for the business?
In 2020, the consumer trend reports indicated that customers have less trust than ever before in national food brands. The customer deserves better and as a CEO of a food brand, my goal is to lead in the industry with accountability, transparency, and traceability. Be the company that raises the industry bar and leads with accountability.
I have barely survived due to the lack of accountability in this industry, and I am determined to change this and eventually invite the customers into the process. Connecting the customer with traceability will allow them to understand why and how the industry works, and ultimately earn their trust and lifelong loyalty.