Engineer Brings the Dessert Flavors of Mumbai to San Francisco with SBA Assistance
A civil engineer who worked on large-scale transportation infrastructure systems like BART and Muni, Priti Narayanan was feeling burnt out at her job. One night, while walking with her wife in San Francisco, she was run over by a party bus in a near-fatal accident. She was hospitalized with third-degree burns and her leg was crushed.
The event made her re-evaluate her life, and Priti decided to quit her job as an engineer to pursue a career in craft ice cream. She had always been obsessed with sweets and desserts, something she attributed to her family’s roots in South India. As a transplant to California, Priti wanted to combine the fresh local flavors with some of the classical dessert flavors from her youth. In Mumbai where she grew up, kulfi—a popular frozen treat made with milk cooked with nuts, sugar, and spices—was indispensable.
While preparing to start her business, Priti signed up for a series of classes at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center’s Women’s Business Center to help her write her business plan. Soon thereafter, Priti and her wife, Madhuri “Mads” Anji, started Koolfi Creamery.
Priti also took classes at East Bay SCORE, which offers free business mentoring, low-cost or no-cost training, and numerous templates to help business owners start their business.
With a background in hospitality, Mads runs the back end of the business, while Priti is in charge of making the kulfi-inspired ice cream. She doesn’t use any artificial flavors and prides herself on creating complex flavors from simple ingredients.
Koolfi Creamery’s flavors range from traditional ones like malai kulfi, mango lassi, and Alfonso mango to more daring California concoctions like chipotle-chocolate, goat cheese-blueberry, and salted caramel. There are also flavors for a younger palate, such as fairy glitter and perennial favorite cookies’n’cream.
Eventually, Priti and Mads hope to open a permanent location. But for now, Koolfi Creamery sells its ice cream in retail stores throughout the Bay Area or through online order and delivery.