First published in New Zealand Herald 17 February 2015
James Coddington, one of the Kiwi founders (the other is ex-Icebreaker GM Tony Balfour) has clocked up impressive trans Tasman air miles throughout 2014, laying the groundwork for an Australian expansion.
In New Zealand, Joy operates 10 ice cream pods and a retail store in the Auckland Viaduct. Coddington anticipates Australia will have 150 pods within 5 years, with Queensland first off the rank this February.
But Pride & Joy is not your typical commercial ice cream brand. It was created with a philanthropic end-goal: to give undiscovered or struggling entrepreneurs (Joy calls them the ‘remarkable unemployees’) an opportunity to run their own business with minimal personal investment or risk.
Kiwis have a knack for creating memorable and cohesive brands from scratch and Joy has a good story to tell, its own lexicon and some pimped up ice cream vans.
Coddington, former CEO of NZSki Limited is no stranger to running businesses. He’s clear and unwavering in the number one driver for Joy, which is to provide opportunities for unemployed people in New Zealand and beyond.
“New Zealand was always a trial for us,” he says. “A place we could get our systems and our products right, ensure we had the best infrastructure and then take our model to other parts of the world.
“Long term the US will provide the most opportunity, but right now Australia is a logical extension for the business. Queensland even more so, given the state’s high youth unemployment, population density and warm climate.”
In New Zealand, Pride & Joy has faced many challenges, the biggest being New Zealander’s attitude to social enterprise. Coddington says this took him by surprise.
“If you mention social impact in New Zealand, people’s eyes glaze over. The awareness at corporate level for youth unemployment and similar issues is minimal. I’ve sat across the table from senior people and they just stare at me and say, I don’t know why you want to help them James. I’m making generalisations, because we’ve had some great support too, but I don’t get up and have aspirations to make as much money as I possibly can.”
Coddington has found a much greater willingness and understanding of the Joy concept in other regions. In Australia, it has been easier and faster for corporate and government bodies to connect with the Joy strategy. This is due to working with local partners and helping employ local individuals, but it’s also an attitude to social impact that Coddington feels is more apparent overseas.
Local strategy means the “New Zealandness” of the business only extends as far as the raw ice cream, made by Green Valley Dairies and shipped around the world. Business strategy and positioning is determined by each market. You won’t see Pride & Joy marketed as a New Zealand business anywhere else in the world.
Partnerships are the lynchpin of the business and the part Coddington says finds most difficult when taking the brand global. Nothing beats face-to-face contact, which accounts for his relentless travel itinerary.
“I’ve been to Australia eight times in the last year, working my own networks and through introductions made by individuals and NZTE. The more times I go over, the better. Finding the right Australian partner took six months and I talked to a lot of people, with failures along the way,” he says.
In Australia, Joy has partnered with Melbourne-based Benefit Capital, which brings strong connections, pulls the Australian team together and offers financial support.
Pride & Joy quickly follows the Queensland launch with 20 pods in Riyadh from April; aims to have 350 pods in Pakistan over a period of four years, and then heads to South East Asia where partners have committed to 100 pods over two years.