SAN JOSE, Calif. - Sisters Gwen and Christine Nguyen admit they knew nothing about baking or food production two years ago. They looked at YouTube food videos and did a lot of recipe experiments. Their perseverance paid off.
Their eight flavors of macaron ice cream sandwiches are now selling in 70 dessert shops. As of today, the Mavens Creamery treats are now being sold in selected Safeway stores.
It was a typical start-up. Gwen and Christine reached for their credit cards for capital. They asked family and friends to invest. Now they have their own production facility in San Jose and 17 full-time employees. They're looking to hire 13 more.
It's very much a hands-on business. Automation might be used for some production in the future, but for now, each ice cream sandwich is made individually by hand.
The most interesting process is watching Gwen Nguyen pounding trays of extruded macaron dough to remove air bubbles and to let the pounding flatten the dough into the right diameter. Macaron production and assembly of the sandwiches are done on alternate days.
The San Jose facility near Spartan Stadium can produce 30,000 ice cream sandwiches per week. They can go through 500 gallons of milk, 150 pounds of sugar, 40 pounds of blueberries and 60 pounds of strawberries in a single day.