This year I had the absolute pleasure of stumbling across a new and absolutely darling store popped up in Yarraville, Melbourne. I had a chance to chat with the young owners, Jelena & Goran (21 & 27, respectively) about their experience setting up their own business, working in the food industry and really focussing on good, wholesome food. Here’s what they said.
What motivated you to start your own frozen yoghurt store?
Basically our background was nothing to do with yogurt. Goran is in Supply Chain Management and I was in my final year in Science with a major in physiology. We eat really well 80% of the time and have a really active, well balanced, healthy lifestyle—I like long distance running and Goran is a cycling enthusiast. Even when we have our weak moments we still eat wholesome, real food and nothing overly processed.
That said, from time to time, you still feel like a really nice treat but don’t want it to be a chemical nightmare. When we found out about how frozen yogurt is made—powder (with 30+ ingredients) mixed with milk, or sometimes just water—we were astounded! There’s no regulation about what people can label as natural—and there’s no regulation about what people can label as ‘frozen yogurt’! As long as there’s a culture in these powders it’s still classified as yogurt but it’s definitely not a fermented, wholefood.
We really wanted to give consumers an option to have frozen yogurt that is honest, guilt free, and goes back to the traditional way of making yogurt. At the time we had no idea—but we’re actually the first in Australia to make frozen yogurt the way we do.
We also wanted to use more wholesome, less processed sugars i.e raw sugar, panela, stevia (whole green leaf) & rice malt syrup.
What has been most challenging thing about running your own business?
We’re a single store and making yogurt on a small scale is ridiculously expensive. Culturing times vary between 10-17 hours depending on the milk we use, so it’s labour intensive. We use real quality milks—proper farm milk, inside out almond milk, and quality thai coconut cream to make our coconut milk (this minimises ingredients compared to a store bought coconut milk). Because it’s not a mass produced chemical powder, other retailers can sell at a much cheaper price point. Ultimately, we’d be pricing a bit higher but need to stay competitive. Logistically also getting fresh yogurt deliveries can be a lot harder. It’s funny that the less ingredients you use the more expensive it is!
What is the biggest lesson you have learned?
It’s been surprising for us to realise how disconnected people are from their food. I’ll often see mums posting on the community page about an unlimited cup of a powdered frozen yogurt for a set price and how great the offer is without thinking maybe as to why they can offer it so cheaply. The machines really desensitize people from what they’re consuming for sure.
What is the most rewarding thing about running Goje?
I guess the most rewarding thing is really just being proud to sell a product we believe in. Not a lot of people get that kind of opportunity—so I’m pretty thankful. It’s also really nice when I get customer feedback about how they can taste the quality and just how it tastes real. Just makes sense to me to flavour with real fruit and use real ingredients.
Ultimately the slow food/real food movement will come down to educating consumers about their food. That’s when we’ll begin to see a real shift towards wholesome, nourishing foods.
I absolutely loved the dairy-free and naturally sweetened frozen yoghurt options! A real godsend for vegans, people with food intolerances or anyone looking to enjoy a treat while still eating well! The real food toppings were a far cry from what’s available at cold rock, that’s for sure. I’d love to see a Goje everywhere!
You can see more about Goje on their facebook and instagram below.