Laura O'Neill

Laura O'Neill

Co-Founder and Owner


Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Met Ben Van leeuwen in London, decided to move to NYC with him 2006.
In 2007 Ben, Pete and I started making ice cream and writing a business plan for our truck idea.
Rolled out the first 2 Van Leeuwen trucks in the spring of 2008.
Got approched by Whole Foods about packaged pints on our first day in business.
Opened the first Van Leeuwen Artsian Ice Cream shop in Greenpoint Brooklyn Feb 2010.
Opened the Boerum Hill and East Village stores mid 2011.
Moved our production from Upstate, NY to our very own space in Brooklyn 2011.
2013 Signed a book deal for "The Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Cookbook" due out spring 2015
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
certification
Certification/License
Events and Tourism
Career

Career

Co-Founder and Owner

I co-founded an ice cream truck and store business in New York City.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Food
Food
Entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship
Upholding a Cause and Belief
Upholding a Cause and Belief

Day to Day

When you have a small business everyday is different and your day never goes how you think it will. Being the boss means dealing with things as they arise. With that said we do have an amazing team and amazing managers that help keep things smooth across the board. A typical day for me is spent at the VL HQ in Greenpoint, home to our office, ice cream production and new Indonesian restaurant Selamat Pagi. About half my evenings I'm working at the restaurant.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Although I didn't go to college, I would still recommend going unless you are super sure of what you want to do right out of high school. It will help keep as many doors open as possible. None of us went to culinary school and while ice cream is simple, some more culinary experience wouldn't hurt. Lucky for us we three (me, Ben and Pete) have a varied set of skills, so we can lean on each other to elevate our weaker suits.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Work. From the age of 14 up until starting Van Leeuwen, I had a lot of different jobs. The skills I learned and contacts i made at my past jobs have been super helpful in starting and running VL (even if they seem completely unrelated). It's also important to grow a good work ethic from as early as possible.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:

undergrad
Bachelor
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"You should put stabilizers in your ice cream- But why? we thought. We've been making amazing ice cream at home using only fresh milk & cream, cane sugar, egg yolks and the best fruits, nuts, spices & chocolates from small producers around the world."

We just stood by our recipes and ignored what had become "the norm" in commercial ice cream making. It felt right to us to keep it simple. We weren't trying to reinvent the wheel, just perfect the classics.