“We wanted something simple, bold and impossible to mis-pronounce.”
At Summer Funday Sunday with by CHLOE. the guys at DÁPPA spoke to us about their career backgrounds, as well as their motivations for now being plant-powered entrepreneurs. If you missed out on the event, keep on reading to find out more about the vegan business that is re-defining ice-cream.
What made you want to sell vegan ice-cream?
Justin: Since my first foray into the vegan ice cream world with banana-based ice cream parlour "Nanabar" in 2017 I have wanted to prove that ice cream can be thick, rich and creamy without using dairy. My weapons of choice became almonds and cashews when I realised that bananas didn't really work in the way I wanted!
Where did the name DÁPPA come from?
Ollie: We wanted something simple, bold and impossible to mis-pronounce. We took a big sheet of paper and a pen to the pub with the intention of choosing between 80 or so potential names, and just as we arrived Justin said to me "what about DAPPA?" I instinctively spelt it the same way as he did with the A at the end, and we agreed it there and then. We added the accent to create "DÁPPA" as a nod to our shared love for Colombian culture; we both spent time living there and have taken a lot of inspiration from the way Colombians approach life putting fun, friends and happiness before work. There was a local ukelele group playing at the pub that night so we spent the rest of the evening drinking beer and singing along.
“People go wild for our soft serve with the DÁPPA queue often exceeding an hour, which is mind-boggling really.”
What has been your summer highlight with the business so far?
Justin: It's really hard to choose a highlight as despite the very average weather versus last year we've had an incredible summer, well beyond our expecations. Vegan Nights has been a highlight every time we've been there - it's such an amazing atmosphere and people go wild for our soft serve with the DÁPPA queue often exceeding an hour, which is mind-boggling really.
Ollie: There was also one very memorable moment at El Dorado Festival when the two of us were having the best time dancing on the Treasure Island stage. All we had to do was look back over the lake to see our trailer parked up with a snaking queue all day. We've built an incredible Cream Team, it genuinely is like one big family, and when we can relax knowing that the team has everything under control it's a great feeling.
All time favourite DÁPPA ice-cream creation?
Justin: I can't get enough of the Peanut Butter Cup, which is untouchable as our most popular serve, week in week out, regardless of the new flavour combos we introduce. We use creamy Manílife peanut butter which is the best in the business in our opinion; with our housemade cacao fudge sauce and salted nut crumble it's such a winning combination.
Ollie: I seem to be one of the few people that doesn't get excited by peanut butter and would have to go for the Cinnamon Crunch "Black Edition." Our miso caramel is taken to a whole new level when combined with cinnamon, we add popcorn for that sweet/salty combo and double up on crunchiness by adding our cinnamon, chia seed and activated charcoal cone pieces.
“We are redefining ice-cream.”
Do you get many non-vegans trying your ice-cream? What do they usually think?
We're partnering with Backyard CInema at their LA Nights event in Camden.... despite the event having absolutely nothing to do with veganism our ice cream is going down a storm there. Every single day since we've been open we've had feedback from both vegans and non-vegans saying it's not just the best vegan ice cream they've tried, but the best ice cream full stop. It really is amazing every time someone tells us that, and a vindication of what we are trying to achieve. We are redefining ice cream.
What do you think of the vegan scene in London?
It's absolutely buzzing! You hear stats about London having more vegan start-ups per capita than anywhere else in the world and it feels like that could be true. For us Vegan Nights is leading the way in the new-wave of veganism showing that it's cool to be plant-based. We meet thousands of people each week through serving our ice cream and it's interesting to see how many 16-24 year olds are vegan, which is an amazing sign for what the future holds. There are so many incredible vegan options available in London now, although it does still seem to be postcode-dependent with some areas not catering quite so well for vegans. It's great to see big business and the supermarkets paying attention to veganism and accepting that it's more than just a trend.
Are you guys working toward having a permanent spot for DÁPPA? Or do you prefer going to events?
We are all about energy and buzz, and the last thing we want is to have our Cream Team wearing coats and scarves trying to sell soft serve outside in a freezing cold winter, or dilute our offering by selling waffles and hot chocolate like other ice cream parlours do in the off-season. We initially saw DÁPPA as a seasonal, primarily events-based business, but plans change quickly in the start up world...
“The DÁPPA of next year will be completely unrecognisable from what you see today.“
Do you have any exciting plans for the business in the near future that you want to share with us?
The DÁPPA of next year will be completely unrecognisable from what you see today. We have hugely ambitious plans... we want to be the go-to vegan ice cream brand in London before taking on the rest of the UK and expanding internationally. We are working on a version of our product in tubs which will enable us to reach far more people than the soft serve offering, and spread our message throughout the year rather than just over summer. We're also in discussions with some restaurants and large venues about installing permanent fixtures, so you'll have to watch this space :)