Sarah Johnston | Owner
Fat Cat Creamery
Q: Why did you start your business?
A: I started Fat Cat Creamery for a few reasons, most importantly, ice cream is my favorite food! I was at a local coffee shop one evening with friends, and we were craving ice cream. We were disappointed that our great neighborhood didn’t have an ice cream shop, and we jokingly said we’d open a shop. I went away and started experimenting with flavors here and there, and it blossomed into a small wholesale and catering business. After a couple of years, we took the next step and opened an ice cream parlor with our own production kitchen in the back.
Q: What are some key factors or decisions that contributed to the success of your business?
A: We make our ice cream from scratch with milk, cream, and eggs from Texas farmers. A lot of ice cream places purchase their ice cream base and then flavor it and churn it in-house. I truly believe that the quality of our ingredients AND the fact that we make the ice cream from scratch right in our parlor are the two major factors in our success--it’s what makes our ice cream so delicious.
Q: What are some challenging aspects of your business?
A: The factors that make Fat Cat Creamery ice cream so special and successful also present us with the most difficulty. Our ingredients are considerably more expensive and the prices are constantly rising, so keeping costs in check is a real challenge. Also, because we make and pasteurize our base, we have to register with the state as a dairy processing facility, which presents a whole new set of hurdles.
Staffing is also a major challenge. Making everything in our shop from scratch takes a lot of hours, knowledge, and training. Finding “cats,” as we call our staff, who care as much as we do and can learn the details of the job is not easy.
Q: Do you feel you made any serious mistakes as you were starting or growing your business? Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently?
A: The major factor that I would change is our kitchen space. It’s very tiny in our little parlor, and our kitchen produces an insanely large amount of ice cream and goodies for the space we have. I wish we had more space in our kitchen, fridge, and freezer!
Q: What other advice or words of inspiration would you like to share?
A: Running a business is difficult, and it’s not a one-person job. Find people you can trust and give them what they need to help you. Fat Cat Creamery wouldn’t be as great without our dedicated staff, especially our Ice Cream Chef/Production Manager, Dylan. He’s been with us since the beginning, and he makes us who we are. Always be open to ideas and don’t be afraid to let change happen.
About Fat Cat Creamery
Fat Cat Creamery is an ice cream parlor in Houston, Texas. The cats at Fat Cat Creamery handcraft unique, small-batch ice cream using milk, cream, and eggs from Texas farmers, and we use sustainable packaging in our shop. You want this in your tummy, trust a bunch of cats.
"I truly believe that the quality of our ingredients AND the fact that we make the ice cream from scratch right in our parlor are the two major factors in our success--it’s what makes our ice cream so delicious."—Sarah Johnston