Interview with Xzavian Cookbey for Brown Haus Presents: Boss (Available on all platforms).
Q: Take me to the moment you realized you wanted to start a business?
Xzavian: It was November 2015. I was I was on the phone with my mother. I was telling her that I was tired of working for people. She expressed her desire for her own business. She says, I really want that for you. You should do it.
And from that conversation; I was in the process. A couple of months later I decided to do Ice Cream, but only if it was well-made and just not like a shit ton of sugar.
So I started hustling.
Q: You started with a cart, right?
Xzavian: I bought a small cart from Home Depot for like 400 bucks. I went online found the ice cream pan, and a generator.
I started watching YouTube videos on how to roll ice cream. I was on the streets, in the co-op parking lot of West Alameda in Santa Fe.
Q: When you ditched the cart and upgraded to the truck was it a reaction to how popular you were or was it an expectation to how much bigger you could be?
Xzavian: My first year was horrible. I had no idea how to market or do anything. And finally, I discovered how to market the ice cream using Facebook and Instagram. And in the second year, immediately, my first month was great.
But it was just me with two hands. Each ice cream takes about a minute and 30 seconds to make. So if you have ten people waiting for ice cream. You got a lot of work to do.
I would see people leave. So I just started thinking if I can get a second pan… I can get someone to help me. Then I started looking for a truck. I didn’t have a lot of money so I expressed my plans to my buddy JJ.
He slept on it and reached back out to me was like, Hey, I can loan you some money to help you build out this truck. I found the truck for like $2,000.
I put his money in, the money I had saved up and built it out in four weeks.
Q: So what about the pandemic, a lot more than a deadly virus happened. So, when George Floyd was murdered, there was renewed focus on Black people and Black businesses what was that like for you?
Xzavian: The truck was closed because I couldn’t find a location. I was forced to find something new. So, I ended up going camping for two weeks, which is something I never do in the summertime.
I opened my phone and saw that I had 200 new followers. And I was like, What’s going on? Why are people suddenly interested in ice cream?
When we finally got to a campsite with better reception. I was reading up on what happened to George, and I switch over to Instagram. Freezie Fresh was tagged in posts that were encouraging people to support Black businesses.
I got a lot of attention. I definitely felt conflicted. It’s a weird thing to associate the hard work you put in, the care, the dedication and the love to a violent murder.
At the same time, I definitely appreciated a lot of the outreach and the connections that were made through it.
But they’re just checking within themselves to be like, Hey, this is something that I don’t want to see happen again. I definitely want to be on the right side of history, so that’s what it looked like.
Q: Do you feel like there’s some sort of association with you because you’re a black owned business?
Xzavian: I decided to embrace it because I guess when you look back on history; how proud people were to be Black and own a business. Black Wall Street and all those other places.
It still means the same thing now. A lot of Black owned businesses put out great products that are very innovative and extremely creative, products that are different.
I think it’s something I should advocate more for and make more people aware.
Follow BROWN HAUS on Medium
Learn more about Xzavian's Process in this YouTube video.
Listen to the extended interview on Spotify