Cool School Information
To sign up or get more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form.
Our first Cool School of 2017 will be January 23-27 in Austin, TX at Sweet Ritual's store and kitchen. Class will be from 10-5 each day with a one hour lunch break. All lunches are included will be provided from Austin's amazing vegan restaurants.
Sunday evening: Dinner with students to meet and greet
Days 1-3: Production! Learn the recipes we use for coconut, almond, peanut and cashew bases. Experiment with other bases including avocado and fruit sorbets. Try out your own ideas for different bases, alternative sweeteners, or crazy flavors on our professional equipment. You'll also learn how we make all of our sauces, toppings, waffle cones, and mix-ins. Recipe pamphlet with all of our basic recipes is included for you to take with you.
Day 4: In the shop! You will get a chance to see what it's like to work in an ice cream shop: how things are set up, the register program we use, customer service, etc. You'll get hands-on experience and be able to ask lots of questions (and sample lots of ice cream). This day culminates with secret shopping at other ice cream shops in town with vegan options to compare their product and service.
Day 5: Business! We'll go off site to have a full day of looking at the numbers end of the business: how to determine cost of goods and find your nut, how to set prices, raising capital (crowdsourcing vs. loans vs. investors), retail vs. wholesale, marketing, finding a location, and anything else you have questions about.
Saturday morning: Brunch to say goodbye and wrap up loose ends.
A small class size (max 6 students) means you'll get lots of hands-on experience and personalized attention throughout the week. You'll get to learn all about our business while meeting with other passionate small business owners and entrepreneurs from all over.
Earlybird special! Book before December 15th: $1750 per person
After December 15th: $2000 per person
The above price includes 30 hours of class time, 7 delicious vegan meals from Austin's best vegan restaurants, secret shopping at other ice cream parlors in town, and plenty of Sweet Ritual vegan ice cream. You'll have a chance to take home samples of what we make in class each day to enjoy or share with friends. You will receive printed recipes of everything we make in class, with information on substituting ingredients and resources for developing your own recipes. Your course packet will also include resources on running an ice cream shop, hiring and training employees, finding a location, raising funds, and other business management topics covered in the course.
What have past students said about Cool School?
"From using the professional equipment, to trying out recipes, to talking about the business end of things, I think it was the whole package that appealed to us. Having you both on hand to discuss things with was priceless."
"I would definitely recommend the experience to others. The course is an even balance of hands-on, watching, discussion and practical skills. The course was fun and I walked away with a new set of skills from which to grow upon."
"What a bargain! I would have paid more for the value I received."
"I walked away with a sense that this is really what I wanted to do for a business and that it meant a lot to the customers of Sweet Ritual. I have had the same experience in opening my new shop in Vancouver."
"It was a heck of a lot of fun."
"Thank you so much for the amazing experience and being so welcoming and helpful."
"If you want to open an ice cream shop, go to Cool School. You will literally learn EVERYTHING you need to open one. The owners are the most generous business owners I've ever met. They will share all of their knowledge with you, so you can avoid all the pitfalls of opening your own shop."
"Thank you for your generosity. I truly enjoyed every min of the course. I left SO INSPIRED!!"
"Having the opportunity to meet the two of you and receive some consultation for our upcoming business was all we were looking for, but we got so much more! Our decision to come to Cool School was a no-brainer. Getting a chance to learn shop setup, production, base recipes and ask questions about your experience gave us a huge advantage going into this new venture of ours."
"If you're looking to open a vegan ice cream shop, Valerie and Amelia's immersive course will give you an in-depth look at the logistics of opening and running a specialty vegan business. Their willingness to share their experience, passion and expertise was invaluable and will help you see if you've got what it takes."
"You guys are incredible. Seriously. Our experience was amazing, and we took so much away from the course."
About the instructors:
Valerie Ward and Amelia Raley opened Sweet Ritual in December 2011. They started with Amelia's vegan soft serve recipe, and as demand grew developed their own hard-pack recipe. They attended Ice Cream University's 2 day non-dairy course with Malcolm Stogo, the "godfather of ice cream." Combining that knowledge, their own recipes, and ongoing experimentation and resources from the best ice cream makers around the world, they have developed some of the best and most original non-dairy ice creams in the world. Sweet Ritual has been open almost five years and grew from just over $100,000 in sales in their first year to an anticipated $400,000+ this year. Valerie Ward (owner, operations manager) has a BA in American Studies from UT Austin and has worked as a manger for several successful small businesses in Austin. Amelia Raley (owner, production manager) has a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas, an MFA in Photography from The University of Oregon, and an M Ed from Texas State University.