I want to own a dairy-free ice cream shop!

Three students from our February 2019 session taste flavors they made during our “make your own flavor” session in our ice cream production facility.

Are you interested in opening your own vegan ice cream shop, or expanding your current offerings to include dairy-free options? We created Cool School, an intensive, immersive learning experience for plucky entrepreneurs wanting to lay a ground work for success. After 7 years in business, the owners of Sweet Ritual share the Dos and the Don'ts of developing recipes, opening a shop, purchasing equipment, and running a business from day to day. 

If you are a business owner or serious budding entrepreneur, this course is for you. Prior to the session, we will conduct short interviews to tailor class time to your specific needs. 

Class is from 10am - 5pm Monday-Friday with a one hour lunch break. All lunches are vegan, included in payment and will be provided from a local Austin restaurant.

Upcoming sessions:

NOVEMBER 2019 - Registration opens august 2019
December 2019 - Registration opens august 2019
January 2020 - Registration opens august 2019

If you are interested in a future session, please fill out the form below to get on our mailing list. Sessions fill up quickly.

Name *
We do not take students who want to open shop in the Central Texas area.


Sunday evening: Dinner with students to meet and greet

Monday-Wednesday: 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 sauces, toppings, and mix-ins. Recipe packet with all of our basic recipes is included for you to take with you. Each day ends with field trips to other ice cream shops in town- Austin is, after all, the vegan ice cream capital of the world!

Thursday: Production wrap-up, day-to-day operations, and marketing/social media! You'll get one last chance to try out any crazy techniques you've been thinking about in our kitchen.  You'll also take a tour of our current scoop shop to see how we set things up and have a hand at scooping ice cream.  We'll spend some time exploring your best and easiest marketing tool- social media!  You'll learn how to take the perfect picture, how to build a visual brand, and how to use platforms like instagram to turn "likes" into sales.

Friday: 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, manage employees, marketing, finding a location, and anything else you have questions about.

Friday evening: Dinner to say goodbye and wrap up.

A small class size (max 8 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 the world.


$2,500 per person 

The above price includes: 30 hours of class time, all ingredients used in class, delicious vegan meals from Austin's best vegan restaurants, field trips to 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 a printed course manual (over 100 pages) with recipes of everything we make in class, 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 over the week.

Past participants in Cool School have gone on to open their own ice cream shops including

Monkey Wrench in Salt Lake City, UT, 

 Like No Udder in Providence, RI,

Brightside Creamery in Denver, CO,

CocoBella Creamery in Los Angeles, CA,

Rosanna's Dairy Free in Atlanta, GA.

Sunset Swirl in Santa Fe, NM.

We have had students from as close as Houston, TX and as far as The Philippines, Australia and Ireland. 

What have past students said about Cool School?
"I'd been seeking a course in ice cream making (in a safe for me, dedicated dairy-free environment, as I'm milk allergic) & Cool School was one of only 2 for professionals that I'd come across. It was the best option!"

"Do it. You must! You want to learn everything there is to know about vegan ice cream making, then do it. The best, most impeccable ice cream, do it. And you want to learn from the top talented experts, the most generous, the kindest & most intelligent; Cool School is for you. You need business training from scratch to huge prospering success, then Cool School will teach & model that to you. You will be thoroughly impressed & will walk away with more than expected & plenty upon which to build/thrive. And learning within the context of Austin's collaborative business community will blow your mind. It's a great place. Cool School all the way!"

"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."

"I was overwhelmed with Amelia & Valerie's warmth & integrity & knew I'd be learning something great from these brilliant women."

"All of it surpassed what I'd expected. It was all encompassing & more, even covered wholesaling ice cream."

"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."

"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."

"It was a heck of a lot of fun."

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. In 2014, 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 highest-quality and most original non-dairy ice creams in the world. Sweet Ritual has been open over six years and grew from just over $100,000 in sales in their first year to $700,000+ in 2017. In the Fall of 2017 they participated in the FASTForward entrepreneurial incubator through the The City of Austin's Small Business Program and UT's IC2 institute. They have become leaders in the local business community, founding and supporting groups of businesses focused on vegan food, responsible entrepreneurship, and local marketing. Valerie Ward has a BA in American Studies from UT Austin and has worked as a manager for several successful small businesses in Austin. Amelia Raley 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.