‘We keep things new and continue to innovate’

Melbourne-based gelato chain founder Lisa Valmorbida discusses why treating your business like a laboratory can help with keeping your product offerings original and up to date.
Lisa Valmorbida 16x9 hero

‘Keep things fresh’ might seem like a pretty obvious business lesson from the founder of an ice cream company, but Lisa Valmorbida means it in more ways than one. Pidapipo – the company that she started with her brother, Jamie – makes ice cream the traditional way, using only fresh ingredients and following the Italian method, with Lisa having studied at the Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna. But the 33-year-old mostly keeps things fresh by regularly surprising her customers with new flavors and products, to keep them coming back and to prevent her employees from feeling stale. The rule also applies to her store whereabouts and atmosphere. ‘Location and ambience are incredibly important. Almost as much as the product,’ Lisa says. 

Playing it cool

Alongside traditional Italian gelato varieties, the siblings also offer customers fresh, unique flavors, often using ingredients that can be hard to source. They also frequently collaborate with creatives both within and outside of hospitality. For example, they've created flavors with Australian musicians and artists, which often cause a buzz and rival traditional flavors, if only for a few weeks. 

Pidapipo is gearing up to open its fourth store, which will see a team of chefs experimenting with not just ice cream, but with other sweets, too, including cakes and a chocolate range. The new venture, named Pidapipo Laboratorio, will also test and release new products before they make their way to the three other stores. 

‘We've always remained true to our mission to create quality products, but we also keep things new and continue to innovate,’ says Lisa. ‘It's really resonated with our customers.’

For our ‘25 big lessons from small business’ series, we scoured the world to find inspiring people to share the lessons they've learned from running their own companies. Click here to read the other stories.

This special feature was first published in Courier issue 45, February/March 2022. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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