Foto: Private

Selling Ice Cream to the Eskimos

The Englishman Alex Beeton runs the first ice cream business in Tromsø. Since 2014, he owns the company Funky Glaze and sells ice cream in summer and crêpes in winter on a bicycle. Why he came up with this crazy idea and is that successful today, he explained in a talk at Flow on Wednesday, 24th of August.

Text:: Franziska Schäfer

Imagine you were lying on a beach in Sardinia, with a view of the sea and the mountains, enjoying your ice cream. Why shouldn’t you be able to experience the same in Tromsø? This is what Alex Beeton thought in 2014. In Tromsø there are mountains, there is a beach and since two years, there is ice cream, too. But the big difference is: Tromsø is located in the Arctic, while Sardinia is located in the Mediterranean region.

When Alex Beeton came from Cambridge to Tromsø in 2012, he initially worked as a dancing teacher. But soon he wanted to try something completely new, as he explained in his talk at Flow, a coworking and innovation space in Tromsø. Something crazy, creative and bold. “I chose a life in which my future is not written”, he describes the way he lives and works. So when he got the idea of selling ice cream in the Arctic, he decided to jump in at the deep end.

He started Funky Glaze although many people thought it would not work. Due to the Arctic climate it was likely that people would be more interested in buying waffles or hot beverages instead of ice cream. In order to overcome these concerns, he sought for professional advice. By talking to many different people, he strengthened his idea and figured out a business plan and a bicycle design. According to Alex Beeton, the most important thing is to “really put yourself in it, so other people can identify themselves with your vision.” Moreover, when it comes to creativity, children are far superior to adults. “We don’t grow into activity, we grow out of it”, as the British author Sir Ken Robinson said. So why not try to see the world through the eyes of a child or ask a child for advice? “School stigmatizes mistakes as being wrong”, so Alex Beeton. “They teach you how to learn and work in one specific way only. This is why people feel at some point replaceable. People are individual and good at different things, therefore do not punish them for what they are.”

Private photo

Today, three years later, Alex Beeton has established his own seasonal business of selling ice cream in summer and crêpes in winter. Besides selling the products in person, he is currently working on different marketing campaigns. One of them is called the Funky Glaze Challenge: People involved in a local business have to eat some hot peppers. Afterwards they have to cope with the hot taste in their mouth and explain their business idea while the situation is filmed. The videos can be found on Facebook.

In fact, Alex Beeton succeeded with his crazy idea of selling ice cream in the Arctic. His success story is a great example of how regional business can work: through networking, creativity and courage.