CHILLIN’ WITH LULU: A little girl’s dream becomes Lulu’s Shave Ice
-By Ted Scheffler
With temperatures headed for triple digits along the Wasatch Front this week, it’ll be important for us all to keep cool. And what better way to chill than with cold, delicious shave ice?
I find it fascinating how so many artisan businesses get started and why. And that’s especially true of Lulu’s Shave Ice. Lulu’s owner, Tony Tan - a software solution architect - explains how his shave ice business originated. “In 2017, my 5-year-old daughter wanted to attend an overpriced theme park like all her friends. I explained that we could go if we saved up enough money. She took it to heart and came up with ideas. Selling shave ice was one of her ideas. To support her good idea and entrepreneurial spirit we moved forward with the business. The business is named after her nickname, Lulu.” He adds, “She is proud to announce that in 2019 we will be attending Legoland.”
Lulu’s serves traditional, Hawaiian-style shave ice made with sweetened condensed milk. Tan notes that Lulu’s offers sugar-free flavors, too, and that there’s a little bit of Utah in Lulu’s Shave Ice, saying “We are proud of our daughter’s entrepreneurial mind and willingness to work towards a goal, which we feel is reflective of the spirit of Utah.”
Although Lulu’s isn’t a stationary location, you can find their public events - such as the Made in Utah Festival - on the Lulu’s Shave Ice Facebook page.
Where does Tan hope to be with Lulu’s down the road - in five years or so? “My daughter has talked about someday running the business with her friends, again - an amazing idea. We were blessed to be able to be in a position to have a family business, though we know not every family has that opportunity. There are so many great lessons that can be taught through a simple business like ours that other children may not get. We look forward to expand not only this business but to have others where young people could take part in.”
Aside from his daughter, Tan also points to another person who was critical in helping to launch Lulu’s. “We bought the business equipment from Rylee Gagon, who had a similar business before. He could have easily just sold us the equipment and moved on, but he made sure we were successful. He spent time to help us develop contacts and helping at our first big event.”
What advice does Tony Tan have for others considering a venture like his and his daughter’s? He says, “I’m still learning this, but it's all about making relationships with people. For instance, through one event we met other vendors who helped us coordinate at another event, where we met other people, who again got us in contact with other events. We also reciprocated to other people as well. We didn’t expect to be in such a network with other event vendors, but they ended up being good friends who we always looked forward to seeing at every event. The Made in Utah Festival is our favorite event to attend.”