Five years of the 707 Hub: Liv a Little vegan ice cream

In celebration of the five-year anniversary of Marquette University’s 707 Hub, Marquette Today is looking back at past winners of the Brewed Ideas Challenge.

Name: Olivia Menzia, Comm ’18

Major: Advertising at Marquette and Graphic Design (minor) at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design

Business: Liv a Little vegan ice cream

What made you choose Marquette?

I wanted to be in a city, and Milwaukee felt like not only a great starter city, but also had a lot of personality. For me, it is the perfect size and a little less overwhelming than somewhere like Chicago or New York.

In addition, I went back and forth on whether I wanted to go to art school or a university like Marquette. Marquette’s program that allows you to minor at Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) was a way for me to get the best of both worlds!

What are your interests outside of class and how did you discover them?

I love running and I know the city of Milwaukee like the back of my hand thanks to it.

Other passions of mine are biking, sailing and exploring. It is safe to say that I love to be outside! I paint just about anything I get my hands on. The more color the better, always! A lot of the things I do for fun I have been doing my entire life.

What is one thing Marquette has taught you since coming here?

Be authentic.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

My resume is currently floating all across different cities throughout the United States. I am applying to a wide variety of companies, advertising agencies, in-house design firms, small business, etc.

I am open to any new experience and am hoping to get a few answers soon. A small part of me is freaking out that I don’t know where I’ll be in a month or so, but the other part of me is so gosh darn excited. It would be great to be able to stay in Milwaukee for a while, but no matter where I end up I plan to grow my ice cream business.

Tell us about your ice cream business.

I am pitching my business that will allow me to meet my demand and sell at a more efficient scale. It will allow me to purchase a bigger ice cream machine, rent a food kitchen, buy in bulk (which will increase profits per sale), and pay off any and all food licenses/selling permits.

What ingredients are used?

The base of my ice cream is coconut milk, sugar, vanilla extract, corn starch and salt. There are extra ingredients for each flavor of course!

How did you come up with the idea? What inspired you?

I kid you not I have ice cream just about every day. It is one of the main reasons why I run (lol).

My best friend from home is lactose intolerant, so when I started making ice cream I wanted to create ice cream that she could have too! Then I’m thinking, if I’m going to take the time to make it dairy free I might as well make it vegan.

I also had to find a way to differentiate my ice cream from places I LOVE and admire like Purple Door, Salt & Straw & Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. By being a vegan ice cream shop, I have created a whole different product and market for Milwaukee & Marquette.

Is there a meaning behind the name?

My motto is to “Liv a Little,” since my friends call me Liv. I have always wanted to start some sort of small shop. Whether it be a coffee pottery shop, or well…ice cream!! Liv a Little is written in one of my middle school journals. I have been saving the name for this very moment.

What makes your idea unique?

Like most vegan products, existing vegan ice cream brands like Halo Top and Wink focus on the low calorie, low sugar aspect of their product. What makes Liv a Little stand out is that we focus on the flavor, experience and homemade aspect.

How do you think this will benefit the Marquette community and/or greater Milwaukee Community?

It is something that has yet to be done in Milwaukee. The vegan and dairy free population has only been increasing, so this is a perfect opportunity to fulfill an unmet demand/need. What I have realized is that many of my customers do not even have any dietary restrictions…they are just food curious and support what Liv a Little stands for. Who doesn’t love ice cream? It brings people together.

Any long-term goals you have in mind for your business?

Short term goal is to partner and serve my ice cream at local Milwaukee restaurants who cater to dietary restrictive audiences and attract foodies who are always down to try something new. I also would like to be apart of some community farmer’s markets.

After reaching this step, I am thinking of getting some sort of ice cream truck to sell from at festivals and places with heavy foot traffic. A long term goal is to open a small shop. To do so would be an absolute dream; I think that it would be so fun to have a family business down the road.

Any additional thoughts?

Do something the kid version of yourself would be proud of. I dropped everything to do what I love. I just want to thank everyone — friends, family, the Marquette community, Milwaukee for being so supportive.