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We continue our series highlighting the personal and professional journeys of some of the most dynamic entrepreneurs. Artworks speaks with Åsa Modig and Martina Julin, founders of popsicle brand Pure Paletas.

7 min read

Who are you guys?
We are a popsicle brand who think ice cream goes so far beyond just a cold dessert. We want to change the way people think about popsicles and challenge the big ice cream brands who are basically selling sugar, cow milk and preservatives on a stick.
An ice-cream factory!! That’s like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory but in real life, you must be living the dream?
Our kids definitely think so. :) And yes we are, too! But to be honest, hanging out in the factory trying out recipes all winter is a bit chilly and we had to remind ourselves why we were doing this more than once… But looking back now it’s all worth it and we can’t wait to be on everybody’s lips (hehe) in 6 months...We’ve gotten so much positive buzz and PR so we believe the future is pretty bright!
Wow, that's ambitious! But lets back-track, when did it all start?
We launched in 2016 in a few selected retailers, validating our product and the market. Now that we have more insights and know-how, we will go big next year, in 2017.
That said, it's a challenge to compete with the big players and at the same time educate the consumers in what kind of ice cream they are eating and giving their kids.
Truth is, ice cream hasn't evolved a lot nutrion-wise since it launched more than 100 years ago. The industry has just made people believe that its normal that a popsicle is soft on the first bite and that a Piggelin never should melt. They don’t understand that it's all about really unhealthy substances.
Okay, as with all things, success does not come by chance, so what challenges make you stay up all night?
Since we’re a dairy-free, organic and use no preservatives it’s hard to find all-year-around supplies for our flavours. But the biggest challenge is to be a small actor in an oligopoly market. It's also a complex business with many regulations and finally, a frozen product comes with many challenges. As a start-up, that’s expensive and slows us down.
Despite early days for Pure Paletas, do you have any key values that drive your business ethics and culture?
Well, that’s all in our soul and our business idea, “real and passion”  i.e Passion for making real popsicles that matters”. Everything we do is made out of real stuff, we never compromise. Our ice cream is made out of the best organic ingredients and we hire people that for real believe in us and who strive to make a difference. We are the real deal in everything we do!
Rumours has it that you provide Spotify with loads of your healthy lollipops every month, and we’ve seen plenty of other cool brands hooking you up too - what is making you so attractive?
The fact that we are "real" attracts - and also that we are making popsicles in a new contemporary way.
The freshness, bright colours and the green-clean-eating trend makes a mix between cup-cakes and macarons and a green detox juice. Healthy for the body and candy for the eye. We believe people and businesses want to make a change and therefore rather support brands that stand for the same values as them. And we just love to customise our ice cream for cool brands, with their logos, special flavors, colours and special messages on the label. Who thought a popsicle could be art or fashion? For example, we got the opportunity to make customised popsicles for FilippaK's fall collection where we were matching the popsicles with their FW17 collection.

Your business has a positive mission (healthy, non-artificial ice-creams?), it that important to you?
Åsa: Yeah! I think when you have kids it’s important to try to make the planet a little bit better. This is our attempt :)
Martina: Oh yes, that’s why we started Pure Paletas. And I was convinced when my baby girl was slowly licking a Piggelin in 25 degrees celsius and after 20 minutes the shape still looked the same with no dripping. Right there and then I asked my self what am I giving my kids and I went straight to read what was in it, and the rest you know…   

You two are clearly fighting hard to make a success out of this, what is the toughest aspect of setting up your own thing?
Åsa: My advise is simple - don't listen to negative people. They obviously don’t believe in you or are just jealous! Try to test the market in order to gather proof of concept if you’re moving in the right direction. If you can’t vision where you are in 2 years you probably didn’t think it all through. Make allies with people who are different from you for the best dynamics.  
Martina: To be honest, you really need to be aware of how much time and effort it takes and be willing to pull it off. An idea is nothing if you don’t have the right energy and skills to make it happen. But most important, you need to be true passionate about your idea and always believe in what you do. then you can make anything fly.
During office hours, what does your social media diet consist of?
During production days we are too busy but on our way home we try to keep an eye on what’s going on in the market. But mostly, we are inspired by other factors such as fashion, art, music, other industries and interesting people. Instagram and Pinterest are our inspiration channels social media-wise.  
Instagram and Pinterest are great for consuming art when you can't visit in person, what does your art diet consist of and do you have any fab people that you follow?
Åsa: I don’t have as much time as I wish to visit museums and exhibitions but I try to go to my local venues such as Steinsland Berliner. I always try to support my artist friends  - Johan Pedersen, Simon Anund and Erik Berglin. On Instagram I follow accounts like @mocalosangeles, @thegetty and @sightunseen. Lars Lerin is my favourite artist!
Martina: Oh, I love art and I have had the opportunity to have a childhood family that are really interested in the arts and art history goes way back in the family. We really enjoy going to museums and exhibitions but of course the time are more limited now with everyday life. Social media is fantastic for a dust of culture and a great complement if you don’t have time to visit galleries and museums but want to be in the loop.
I follow @artspace @artforum, @friezeart, @artnews, @Cfhillofficial, @larsbomangallery and one favorite is run by a friend of mine Paul McCabe who is a fantastic international art dealer with a showroom here in Stockholm @mccabefineart.
So, when did you last visit an art event and why?
Åsa: I went to the opening of Ylva Carlgrens solo exhibition at Steinsland Berliner.
Martina: I went to the opening of the incredible show called "Icon" by the legend Robert Mapplethorpe at McCabe Fine Art that Paul McCabe and his wife and curator Jenny Ulving McCabe organised. Really a must see for anyone visiting Stockholm this winter.
What made it attractive or not so attractive?
Åsa: Hard to describe, but you how you feel instantly walking into a room when the ambience is just right. I went to the Tara Donovans exhibition at Louisiana and was blown away...
Martina: Art is like falling in love. First you get attracted and than you just enjoy the ride because the work will challenge you and you will discover things that you never saw at first. And if it is a really good match you will have a very hard time to say good-bye.