Vivienne Li — It’s quite a journey from an art gallery to a gelato studio, but Vivienne Li has made that leap thanks to the passion that she dedicated to both callings. Sun Ye talks to a most unusual ice-cream maker.
This summer, Vivi Dolce started selling its homemade gelato and almost immediately attracted a base of loyal fans who not only bought the frozen treats but also helped publicize the fledgling business.
Many knew gelato maker Vivienne Li when she was the communications manager for an art gallery at the Beijing 798 Art Zone, and many were taken by surprise when she quit her job and disappeared.
The slender and vivacious Li had decided to go to Italy to enroll at the famous Carpigiani Gelato University. She did not return until she had earned five diplomas, all related to making that famous Italian sweet.
Less than two months after starting her gelato workshop, Vivi Dolce, Li already had 300 subscribers to her weekly updates on WeChat, where she posts stories about the gelato flavors and the ingredients that go into them.
This modern young woman not only makes use of social media to push her products, she also realizes that the personal touch gives her a competitive edge.
Her creative weekly flavors start with the search for quality ingredients, whether local or imported. She tones down the sweetness for Chinese palates but also nudges her customers into trying unusual flavors.
Early in the week, Li posts the week’s flavors online. Bitter orange and dark chocolate for a special treat. Damascus rose for Valentine’s Day. An osmanthus gelato for the Mid-Autumn Festival. Coconut pina colada. Japanese ume sake. Mango sorbet.
Once she has her regulars intrigued and hooked into ordering, Li starts making the gelato. Delivery is every Thursday, when Li or her assistant makes the rounds with an icebox filled with tubs of gelato at the back of her SUV to eagerly waiting customers.[db:内容2]