Bringing back ice-cream sandwiches with a whole new twist, Zach Leonard, the founder of Cold Boi, is doing it right. Unique flavours like you’ve never seen before (Baileys Tiramisu, anyone?), plus an authentic nature behind each product and just general great vibes all around! What started as a Covid project became a hugely successful business with high demand, so we had a chat with Zach about his journey starting Cold Boi.
What is ColdBoi?
ColdBoi is a frozen treats business that I started during Covid! I have a frequently changing menu of weird & whacky ice cream sandwiches currently available.
What brought about the idea for ColdBoi?
A lot of spare time and a fondness of Icebergers! I am a chef by trade and have been fascinated with the world of desserts since I started. After losing my job due to Covid I needed something to keep me busy, and with ice-cream being such a great vessel for flavour I knew it would be a great way to trial different flavour pairings, and so the Boi was born!
How did you get the whole process started?
Just under 2 years ago I whipped up my first sample batch of Bois’ & dropped them out to my friends to trial. Once I got the green light, I met the wonderful Marie Therese of HourKitchen who helped me organise the food safety side of things & rented me a kitchen unit to produce from!
How did you spread the word?
Mainly through word of mouth! I had a weekly stall in St. Annes Park Market in Raheny every Saturday during the summer and this helped dramatically grow my followers. I have also done some flyer drops, online competitions & giveaways to try spread the word!
What role did social media play in building the brand?
I focused on Instagram when I launched the business & it has worked wonders in growing it. I have only done two ads since launch, as I wanted to grow a natural following, but I reckon down the line it’ll be the key to progressing.
Did you use trial & error with social media or did you have an idea on your strategy from the get go?
Absolute trial & error! Looking back, a strategy wouldn’t have gone a miss, focusing on colour schemes, consistency in posts, consistency in photographs etc.
But these are all things I have learned along the way & you will see come to fruition over the coming weeks with my rebrand!
What was the inspiration for the brand design?
The design & concept of the brand has changed a lot since launching. The packaging I have kept minimalist as I love the monochrome packaging (it’s also recyclable!) But I have learnt over time that a large part of my customer base are young guys & gals, and the slightly more vibrant colours & addition of the Cold
Boi character really draws them in! I worked with a very cool Dublin based artist called PENS who did an incredible job on the character. The website branding I did all myself, again you will see the magic come to life soon with the website relaunch! I don’t want to say too much for now…
Where do you source the ingredients to make ColdBoi?
As local as possible. A lot of my base ingredients I order from generic wholesalers, but always 100% Irish milk & cream. As far as the ingredients for the flavours I love getting to work with fellow market stall holders, there is so much variety available & as I am there early you get to have a good rummage before the park fills up! For example, there’s a lovely chap named Ivan from Kilmore Quay in Co.Wexford & he grows the most incredible strawberries, amongst other fruits. He would be my go-to guy during the summer for berries & together we created the “From Wexford with Love” sambo!
You serve very unique flavour options – how do you get the ideas for the different flavours?
I like to draw inspiration from everywhere! From what is available locally, what I have seen whilst abroad, and also, cocktails can be a great one to spark inspiration.
Do you have a favourite flavour?
‘The Prickly Boi’ without a doubt, & it is also probably one of my more unusual flavours – Prickly Pear (a type of Cactus) Ice-Cream with Apple-infused honey & lime. It will be re-launched this summer! Keep those eyes peeled. This will be the one that blows the Boi out the water !
Are there any new flavours in the pipeline?
ALWAYS! Currently I am doing a monthly changing menu to give me time to plan & plot. But there are plenty in store! Lychee & Rose, Baklava, Guava & Pandan etc… Y’all have not even seen the tip of the Ice-Burg(er).
What made you start catering for private events?
I had a few different people inquire about private events, custom flavours etc. & it made me realise I had a slight niche in the market. I mean, ice-cream brings a smile to everyone’s face, young or old. So why would you not want the Boi at your event?!
What has been your favourite part of the journey so far?
Definitely all the people I have met along the way! I’ve learned an insane amount about the world of desserts, flavour theory etc. but the people, I never would have met if it weren’t for going down to St Anne’s market every Saturday! I love getting to chat away with the customers, but especially the other market-iers, they’ve all got a story to tell.
Do you have plans to expand the product range?
Most definitely. I have 2 products ready to rock, I just need to lock in the flavours. I plan to re-imagine the entire ice cream range as we know it, from Cornetto’s to Loop the Loops.
What are your future plans for ColdBoi?
I am actually taking the Boi abroad at the end of this year! So it will be farewell to Dublin for a little while, come the end of September, but I have every intention to
make as big, if not bigger of an impact no matter where the Boi goes!
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of starting a business similar to this?
Keep it fun! If you’re in it for the money either sling hot dogs or move on. You have to be whole-heartedly behind your product & enjoy creating it. There will no doubt be some days you go out and won’t even make enough to cover the rent, or in my case, a wee bit of rain and there goes all your business for the day. And those days can be a killer, but if you have an idea of where you want to go with the business it will help you push through. Do up a small business plan before you hit the shelves too! Just for yourself – outline your costs, margins, where you want it to go, how you plan to sell/advertise etc. It helps to ensure the business is viable.
Where can people find you?
Solely online for now! My social media page is Coldboi.co on Instagram and you can place your orders via DM. The website is currently getting a face lift but once its back up an running you can find it at coldboi.ie
I’m a Palestinian who grew up in Cyprus and moved to Dublin in 2013, so I’ve had a mishmash of different cultures and cuisines surrounding me my whole life. I’m an avid foodie, and after realising that life as a lawyer was not for me, I studied media and became a radio host for Dublin City FM. I’m now writing for TheTaste full time, but I also have my own food blog where you can find a mixture of restaurant reviews and the occasional recipe. I talk a lot about being Palestinian; to be honest, I talk a lot in general. That’s why I did radio!