Pooja Bavishi

Malai | Brooklyn, NY

Making ice cream inspired by globally-sourced whole ingredients, aromatic spices, and unexpected twists on old classics.

#ToryBurchFellows

Malai’s ice cream in a variety of flavors.

Company description…

Malai, meaning “cream of the crop” in a North Indian language, is an ice cream company that draws inspiration from globally-sourced ingredients, aromatic spices, and classic twists. Our super-premium ice cream is handcrafted, eggless, and churned with very little air, resulting in pure, robust flavors, and the lightest, creamiest textures.

I started my business because…

While I have always loved making desserts, what really touched me was sharing my sweet creations with others and seeing how happy it made them. I wanted to keep spreading those “sugar rushes of happiness” by introducing new flavors inspired by my cultural heritage. I discovered that ice cream provided the perfect blank palette for the bold and unique flavors of my childhood. Malai combines those flavors with the creamiest ice cream base, creating a unique, ultra-satisfying experience. I want to keep pushing boundaries with never-before-seen flavors and growing recognition within the industry.

What makes my company unique…

Our flavors are inspired by my childhood memories, largely thanks to my parents, who exposed me to the fragrant spices of their homeland, India. I always love watching customers try my products and make connections to flavors that are familiar to them. For example, I created an orange fennel flavor, combining fennel seeds (a common palette cleanser in India) with citrus, to brighten it up. I later learned from customers that orange and fennel is actually a classic European combination. It’s very special when someone with a different background connects to something I created from my cultural reference points.

Mantra I live by…

Moving on to plan b does not signify failure, but rather another chance to get things right.

You should vote for me because…

Just one spoonful of creamy Malai ice cream, with its globally-inspired flavors like Masala Chai or Rose with Cinnamon Roasted Almonds, and it will be obvious! Plus, I am an entrepreneur with an unparalleled passion for delivering the highest quality product and a deep understanding of the spices that are transformed into such unique flavors. My background in serving the most vulnerable communities, combined with my business training, has made me well-equipped to lead an ethical and responsible business. I am ready and excited to participate in the Fellows Program to grow my business and impact even further.

Top 3 goals for my business are…

  1. Scaling for national wholesale expansion.
  2. Building out a brick and mortar store.
  3. Developing a social impact strategy.

Women entrepreneurs are…

Determined, powerful, and a still-too-small but increasingly influential force.

Being a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow would allow me to…

Join a network of successful women entrepreneurs whose firsthand experiences, trials, and tribulations would provide me with invaluable lessons and support.  It would also provide resources and mentorship that would enable me to hone in on my social impact strategy as I continue to expand and grow my business.

Best moment at my company so far…

It’s hard to pick one best moment. That’s the nature of a small business – goals are incremental, and the bar is always set higher. One of my most rewarding moments early on was finalizing my logo, which perfectly embodied everything I wanted in my ice cream brand – global appeal, outward-reaching, and luxury. I knew at that moment that I was onto something different. A more recent “best moment” was learning that our products were added to our eighth Whole Foods store. This showed me that consumers were reacting positively to our products and wanted them to be more accessible.

I am inspired by…

Anyone who follows their passion. I’m lucky enough to find that inspiration every day from my parents.

I #EmbraceAmbition because…

It’s the only way I know! Ambition is the driving force behind everything I do – starting my business, growing it into what it is today, and visioning for the future. Launching my business has been the hardest thing I have ever done – embracing ambition makes it worth it.

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