Snehee Chaplot was a food scientist by trade who wanted to transform her own diet. Now, after years of research, she’s revolutionizing the world of ice cream with a blend of traditional techniques and modern technology.
Gallivant Mawa Ice Creams slow-cooks milk and Indian milk solids to help mitigate the negative effects of lactose. From Indian Mango to Black Sesame, every ethically-sourced flavor is egg-, gluten-, and peanut-free. And, thanks to Snehee’s ingenuity, Gallivant is even creamier than gelato.
Recently, we caught up with Snehee to learn more about her journey and hear her advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
1. Why did you start Gallivant Mawa Ice Creams?
I developed severe gluten allergies and several food sensitivities after a personal health scare. It became very difficult for me to find affordable, delicious food that did not make me sick. I’m a food safety scientist by training so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
First and foremost, I wanted to understand what was different about the food my mother and grandmother would feed us versus what I was eating. I dug a little deeper about where my food was grown, how it was grown, and how it was actually brought to the stores I purchased it from. This exercise gave me a decent understanding about the food systems here in Texas and how I could leverage and modify it to meet my dietary needs. From there, I did additional research into how food and dairy should be consumed as well as nutrient timing. This exercise helped me manage my health much better.
I created and launched Gallivant Mawa Ice Creams in August 2019 with the same principles in mind. Our ice creams are made using Ayurvedic principles of dairy farming and processing. We cook milk and mawa (Indian milk solids) together at 175°F for 3+ hours, instead of the traditional process of 30 minutes at 165°F. This cooking process helps reduce the harmful properties of milk that elevate lactose intolerance. Additionally, we work with reputable suppliers to source all our ingredients in their rawest form possible. This allows us to offer a premium quality product that caters to a variety of dietary needs and preferences.
Combining ancient validated technologies with modern wisdom of commercialization is what makes Gallivant a unique, modern innovation.
2. What obstacles did you face along the way?
Sales was a major challenge in the beginning. I overcame this by having mentors from the industry that held my hand as I learned the sales lingo. I also attended numerous webinars and courses. All this training helped me hire a director of sales that I trust fully to support this function.
Another challenge was getting my story right. I think this will be an ongoing challenge as it’s something you really never stop adjusting and refining. It is both a science and an art.
Funding was — and is — a challenge for us. Being a woman of color also presents its own set of unique challenges, but I think this also gives me a unique edge. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish.
3. What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
I think the best advice I can give to fellow entrepreneurs is to surround yourself with an army of people who always have your back. You do not need “yes” people — you want honest and authentic people on your team as well as a board of advisors. Your chances of success increase significantly when your team has the right mindset and the right attitude towards the mission and you.
4. What’s on the horizon for Gallivant Mawa Ice Creams?
We’re currently focused on domestic growth. Down the road, we plan to enter key international markets like the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. We are always looking for strategic partners to help us enter international markets.
5. How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
I strongly believe that good food is not a privilege, it is a right. Good food is no longer affordable and I’m on a mission to change that. When your mission is aligned with your work, the long days and the hard work come naturally.
I don’t think work/life balance in the traditional sense applies to any entrepreneur. Though I might not be physically working, I am constantly thinking about Gallivant. I also know that I am not alone on this journey — my team is with me.