Get to know Lois Ko, the fearless and creative force behind Sweet Alchemy. Sweet Alchemy is in Seattle’s University District located on University Way Northeast (a.k.a the Ave) by the University of Washington. The Ave’s beloved ice cream shop uses all locally sourced and organic ingredients with an emphasis on sustainability. In this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A, Lois talks about the entrepreneurial spirit of U District, garlic ice cream, and why it’s important to #SpendLikeItMatters.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What’s your favorite part about U District and why?
I love the U District. [It’s] very open to minorities. There are quite a lot of businesses on the Ave started by former UW graduates, so I feel like there’s an entrepreneurial spirit of supporting small [businesses] that I really enjoy being a part of. I feel like there are so many treasures on the Ave that have been here for a very long time because consumers have supported and loved [them]. It feels like a place where if you offer a valuable commodity and the consumers love it, that’s what makes you grow.
As a business owner, what’s the craziest idea you’ve ever tried?
The craziest [flavor] we tried was garlic. It wasn’t received well, but people came in to get samples or dared each other to buy a scoop of it. I thought it was good! [She laughs] But I like garlic. It was around that time in the beginning where we were just experimenting, and my fearlessness was at the forefront.
Why is it important to you and your business that people #SpendLikeItMatters?
As consumers, we don’t really realize that where we choose to spend our money has a huge consequence. Take a few more minutes to learn slightly more about the company you’re going to buy that product from and choose with more knowledge. We used to have about 200 customers a day, which is now down to about 50 or 60 a day. Which means we really need to make every one of our pennies count. I feel like it’s really important to spend that money at a place that will make that business survive this.