Create & Cultivate 100: Food: Maryellis Bunn

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OK. It's a little tongue-in-cheek to put the 25-year-old founder of the Museum of Ice Cream Maryellis Bunn on the C&C 100 Food list, but the MOIC is a little cheeky with a cherry on top.

In the most brilliant ways. (As is everything having to do with ice cream.)

The mastermind behind the viral with a cherry on top Museum of Ice Cream, said people thought she was banana splits when she first came up with the idea. Then she launched the first MOIC space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district with biz partner Manish Vora. 30,000 tickets, then priced between $12-$18, sold out in less than a week. Everyone was sweet on the idea.

People, including Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Blue, all went wild for the second MOIC location in Downtown Los Angeles. The sprinkle pool was everywhere on IG. Inherently understanding the importance of online shareability (people crave content) and offline experience, the interactive confectionary-filled “museum” served up a saccharine escape that the public desperately wanted. NYMag called her The Millennial Walt Disney. Far cry from crazy.

So yeah, she gets Instagram, but what Maryellis also understands is supply and demand. She opened the brand’s third location in San Francisco, housed in a landmarked 1910 former bank building in the middle of Market Street. But as SF opened, the LA location announced its really, truly, no more extensions, final date as Sunday, Dec. 17.

If you shut it down, people will only want more. Kind of like when your mom told you no more cookies. If you give a millennial an ice cream museum… they’ll definitely want a cone.

Read more of Maryellis’ confectionary journey below.

Where do your drive and passion come from?  

My drive and passion come from the desire to create places where people feel they have the tools to explore their own imagination and live a more fruitful life. 

What has been your biggest lesson learned with Museum of Ice Cream?

Museum of Ice Cream provides daily lessons that anything is possible. 

When you run into a career obstacle, what drives you forward?

I believe that every obstacle is a disguised opportunity. When I started this journey, vulnerability was the key to the process and has remained so. The more I put my work out there the better it becomes. Fear is not my friend. 

What is your biggest pet peeve?

Excuses. They don’t exist within our company culture. Commandment number one of Museum of Ice Cream is “Anything is possible.” When you build a company that turns “what if’s...” into realities it shifts thinking. This is why I love what we do. 

Who or what are you most inspired by?

The Museum of Ice Cream community, from our contractors and visitors to #TEAMMOIC they inspire me to continue to create spaces and experiences! 

When you first approached someone and told them about your idea— did they think, that’s kind of crazy, but it might work?

No, everyone thought it was nuts. They didn’t understand the mission or the concept.

What are your biggest fears about running a business?

Not having enough time to seek out my visions. I want to build a city, I spend more and more time on the frameworks that can live on.

"Everyone thought it was nuts. They didn’t understand the mission or the concept."

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If you had to build an apocalypse team of 5, who would be on it and why?

My core team is 4, they would remain as is. What we lack in experience we make up in imagination! Time and time again, we defy what is said to be impossible due to our desire and ability to get things done. The fifth would be a role I am currently looking to fill, lead experience architect/designer, if I had it my way I would hire a kid, they have the ripest of ideas and designs. If you think like a child and want to create experiences around the world check our job listings! 

What's something you'd like people to know about your job that they probably don’t?

I run the business and all creative aspects of the brand. There is no corporation or investors behind Museum of Ice Cream, we are fully self-funded. For our V1 in NYC my core team and I worked the floor and managed every day. We painted the walls and cleaned all floors. On the design I direct everything from the trash can design and each installation to the items we manufacture for sale. In turn, I also create the structures and systems our business runs on. While leading our teams and oversee all operations. As we grow I am excited to share these responsibilities, one thing, however, will always remain, creative first then business. We have our own metrics to measure success, which allows us to always put the experience first. 

What about your career makes you feel the most complete?

#TEAMMOIC, I could have never fathomed the family that we continue to build each day. 

If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?

I’m living my dream! I have big dreams and know that this step is one of many I need to take to achieve them. The process and journey are how I evolve. 

At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?

Still working on it.

What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?

That the first step is vulnerability. 

What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?

I take a bath and turn the lights off!