Today we’d like to introduce you to Sam Rose.
Sam, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
The RoseBud journey began my senior year of college. After spending over a year working on a business plan, I presented my idea for an Oregon marijuana dispensary to a potential investor and was laughed out of the meeting. Immediately afterwards, my friend and I were smoking a joint and I questioned what I should do with my life now that my dreams had just been crushed. My friend jokingly suggested that I start a marijuana ice cream shop in Denver. I took his joke seriously and went out and bought an ice cream machine. After buying the hardware, I started teaching myself how to make ice cream from scratch and how to infuse it with THC. That June, I graduated college then moved to Colorado in July telling myself I’d have a THC ice cream business within six months of moving there. To help improve my ice cream education, I got a job at an ice cream shop near my house. Over the years, I worked in various door to door sales roles and found an impressive amount of other less than great jobs to pay the bills. In late 2017 I met someone who was interested in investing in the company which was still just a pretty well thought out business plan with a lot of assumptions. In 2019, shortly after winning the Colorado Golden Gloves, which was a life-long accomplishment, I learned that the investors who I’d been courting were pulling out of any potential deal, a low to say the least. It was at this time that I decided to pivot to doing a CBD infused ice cream product because there were less hurdles to get the company started. So for the summer of 2019, I spent all of my free time working to get this business started and finally in November 2019, we got into our first stores. From November through March of 2020, I was still working full time at my day job and then another 30-50 hours a week on my ice cream business, and I was miserable 24/7. After a pretty jarring epiphany in early March 2020, I decided to quit my day job and pursue ice cream full time. Two days before the Denver stay at home orders were issued, I quit my job to finally fully chase my dreams. Since then, we’ve grown from being in 6 stores in March to over 35 as I write this in September—and we’ll be getting into 15 CO Whole Foods grocery stores in October 2020. Although the timing has never been ideal for anything I’ve done with this business, it’s been a great joy to finally do something that makes me happy.
Has it been a smooth road?
Since the company was originally going to be a THC dairy product that required me to learn about an incredibly complicated legal landscape. The dairy laws and Colorado’s THC laws are both very strict. Starting any THC business has some pretty expensive barriers to entry, and coming from a person with an anxiety disorder, it often made me paint a pretty negative self-portrait when I was trying to get started. So when anything would go wrong, I was never shy about beating myself up about it. Starting a business is already tough enough, and when you have a million suggestions of the “right move to make” it definitely makes bumps in the road feel like mountains. Even pivoting to CBD felt like a failure to me, but now with the hindsight I’ve gained I couldn’t be happier to have made the switch.
Another tough thing was the timing of everything on this journey. I launched an ice cream company in the winter, which if you hadn’t heard already, isn’t exactly ice cream season. That, coupled with leaving my day job and health insurance to pursue a start-up at the beginning of a global pandemic, was also not ideal. The pandemic had some other negative impacts as well. Sampling out new brands like ours is the most critical and effective way to acquire new customers.
Because of COVID, we were not able to do that during peak ice cream season, which was quite lame. A lot of businesses who we were trying to sell ice cream to (restaurants, cafes, etc.) went out of business which also impacted our ability to get the product out there.
I’m very fortunate to have the business still and know that others have been much more negatively affected by this situation than I have. All things considered, I’m incredibly fortunate and just happy to have this business.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with RoseBud Ice Cream – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
The goal of RoseBud is to be the best. Ice cream has always been my favorite treat and I believe that it has the power to brighten a person’s day. In a lot of my early planning and goals the same phrase kept popping up “making people’s lives better with delicious ice cream”. That’s still what I’m seeking to do. Beyond making people’s lives better with ice cream, I’d also like to find other ways to give back to our community. We did a sock drive this summer that resulted in over 100 pairs of socks being donated to benefit Denver Homeless Out Loud. The goal is to keep on finding ways to give back and the more we grow the more we can give and help others.
We specialize in making great ice cream, but I think what get’s peoples attention is that we’re the first CBD infused ice cream brand in the country. I guess we’re also known for our ice cream being really creamy and having fantastic texture (other people’s words not mine). Beyond having CBD ice creams, I think that our unique flavor offerings really help to set us aside from others. Not many brands offer the line up that we do, and the names of the flavors only make us more unique.
There are a lot of things that make me proud about this company. I try to stay humble but I can say with certainty that I’m making the best ice cream in Colorado. One of my proudest moments came when I was doing a sampling back in March and someone said “this is so much better than (first ice cream shop I worked at)’s ice cream, we were there last night but this blows it out of the water”. That ice cream shop’s ice cream was what I was always trying to be better than, and so to hear that let me know that I could start coming up with some new goals.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What’s great about Denver is that it’s got a city vibe but a small-town feel. I moved here from Chicago so I’d have to say my least favorite adjustment has been the pizza out here. (If anyone has recs for good pizza please send them my way)
- Website: www.rosebudicecream.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @rosebudicecream
- Facebook: @rosebudicecream
Jackie Collins Photography