Ice cream without frippery – Jackle & Heidi” conquered the food industry with a pioneering spirit

With their start-up “Jackle & Heidi”, ice cream makers, owners and managing directors Martin Horst and Franziska Göttsche from Penzlin have established themselves in the region and nationwide.

Zuletzt aktualisiert: 16.05.2024

Since 2016, the couple has been pursuing the mission of offering the best ice cream without the corporate dance. GründerMV talks to Franziska Göttsche (38) about the milestones of the passion project and her experiences as a founder and entrepreneur.

You started your start-up "Jackle & Heidi" as a passion project on the side in your garage. Did you always have ambitions to begin your own business?

With our mission to offer the best ice cream without the frippery, "Jackle & Heidi" was initially a playground for our cross-media agency 13 Grad. We spent a lot of time and money experimenting with ice cream flavors. We tried out campaigns and sank money again. The desire for our own product grew, without giving the whole thing a "fancy" name. One thing led to another, without consciously working towards independence.

Then the question arose: how do we get out of our garage and into a production facility so that we can meet the requirements of the hygiene authorities?

So we moved to Gerstenstraße in Neubrandenburg in 2016 and had our launch just in time for the Mecklenburg Lakes Tour in May. With four flavors of ice cream in our luggage, we started with our ice cream bike, which we once found on a classifieds portal. In 2018, we then founded a limited company with a factory outlet in Neubrandenburg and ice cream sales at events. While Martin is responsible for marketing, I take care of the operational business.

You trained as a pediatric nurse and were self-employed as a photographer. So the food industry was new territory. What did you have to pay particular attention to when setting up?

Apart from a love of ice cream, the most important prerequisite was the ability to think in business terms. Another advantage was that I didn't need a master craftsman to make ice cream. It's that famous "learning by doing". You have to learn to understand taxes and figures, to deal with maintenance and electrical inspections by the authorities. During a delegation trip to Sweden, I got to know a start-up in the industry with the perfect team. They had a business economist, a food technologist and someone for marketing. Ultimately, that's what makes an ice cream production company what it is.

"I didn't need a master's degree in ice cream production to set up in the food industry. The most important skill, apart from a love of ice cream, was to think in business terms."

– Franziska Göttsche, buiness owner

Franziska Göttsche personifies herself with the "Jackle & Heidi" brand and also embodies the company's main target group.
© Verena Teske-Mbalisike (3)

What happened after the official founding of Jackle & Heidi? What were the most important milestones for you?

We sold our ice cream at the factory outlet and at events. What we kept noticing was that people wanted to come to us. So we came up with the idea of opening a café. I wasn't convinced at first. But as a "flagship store" where you can also buy the regional products that we use as ingredients for our ice cream, it was a no-brainer.

We used LEADER funding to develop the old train station in Penzlin. We wanted to open at the end of 2019. In the middle of the coronavirus crisis, we opened our café on August 20, 2020. People were queuing up. Then the lockdown came. So we had to react and offer the option of takeaway. The bicycle became the food truck, an old UPS truck that we converted with a well-known saddler and artist. During the Corona period, we took the truck on a cross-country tour.

Then sales stopped and we sank a lot of money. Out of necessity, we implemented new ideas, such as donuts. Then our baker had a baby and we had too few staff. A catering unit in Penzlin on the one hand and the ice cream production facility in Neubrandenburg on the other. Those are two different pairs of shoes. It was a constant back and forth between the café and the production facility. Sometimes I was afraid to answer the phone to find out bad news.

I also fulfilled my childhood dream of writing a children's book. With the addition of sustainability. Children grow up with our ice cream and these are the customers for the future.

At the beginning of this year, you were faced with VAT increases for restaurants and rising operating costs…

Yes, it was clear to us that we would have to stop daily operations for the time being. Ice cream is a very energy-intensive product, as it requires a lot of equipment that is connected to a power supply. We now use the location in Penzlin for pop-up bar evenings, we offer events with the ice cream truck and the factory production in Neubrandenburg is still running. We are now also producing ice cream for dogs. Our aim is to reopen as an ice cream parlor in summer 2025.

As a boss and colleague, but also an organizer and mother of two, how do you manage to combine responsibility at work with time for your family?

Initially, I didn't see myself as a boss. Looking back on my experiences over the past few years, I can now say that it is a development process and that I have grown into the role. People management is a challenge and requires empathy. I can sense the emotions in the room. The ability to lead by example and assert yourself as an entrepreneur is a balancing act. The key to success is communication. The better and clearer the communication, the better the company runs. What's more, the more relaxed I am, the more relaxed my family is.

What does your typical daily routine look like?

I drink a large glass of water in the morning. Then my me-time with yoga starts at 6:20 am. Ten minutes where nobody disturbs me. Then we take the children to school and nursery. When I get to the office, I work through my email inbox. Then there's a meeting about new building projects or new ice cream flavors, for example. Tuesdays are for bookkeeping, Thursdays are the team meeting for production. Tuesday and Thursday are always the long days. Monday and Wednesday are for arranging who picks up the children.

This year I've finally managed to plan my vacation and long weekends. I know from previous years that otherwise you can't get out of the loop. It's a lot of conscious introspection and reflection.

"Initially, I didn't see myself as the boss. Looking back on my experiences over the past few years, I can now say that it's a development process and that I've grown into the role," says Franziska Göttsche.

You started up as a couple, but self-employment brings different challenges for women and men.

Having children changes the professional situation of women. When I was pregnant with my second son in 2018, I even worked until the last day. As a baby, I often took him to appointments and breastfed him beforehand. I made phone calls, for example, while pushing the baby carriage. I never had the feeling that it was out of place. In my private life, however, I was met with a lack of understanding.

After all, the company is also my baby. I personify myself with it and am also the main target group. Another thing that really bothered me was that after the birth of my second child, I lost my full-time entitlement to childcare for my first child.

Without our parents, who support us so often with the children, the business would not work and "Jackle & Heidi" would probably not exist either. A network is essential for self-employment. I am very grateful for that.

Being visible helps founders on the road to success. Which networks or trade fairs are indispensable for you?

My networks include, for example, the BMWK initiative "FRAUEN unternehmen". The initiative aims to inspire girls and women to become entrepreneurs and encourage them to become self-employed.

At Neubrandenburg University of Applied Sciences, it is the mentoring program for female students. I have accompanied female students as a mentor on their way into working life or before completing their studies.

I am also part of the network of the Wirtschaftsjunioren Neubrandenburg and am happy about every woman who joins.

My networks also include "VRauen", a project from MakerPort Stralsund, which offers women in the district of Vorpommern-Rügen the opportunity to network, learn from each other and grow together. I was there as a speaker with two presentations.

Trade fairs in which we participate as "Jackle & Heidi" are the GastRo trade fair in Rostock, the Rewe trade fair in Bollewick, the MeLa in Mühlengeez and the Green Week in Berlin.

At the Green Week, we also presented our beer ice cream, which was created in 2017 in cooperation with Störtebeker Braumanufaktur from Stralsund. We won the Product Lighthouse 2022 with our beer ice cream.

In 2016, we were recognized as a cultural and creative pilot brand by 13 Grad. This is an award presented by the German government for companies in the cultural and creative industries and their interfaces with other sectors, which is aimed at the self-employed, start-ups and projects.

What qualities do you think founders should have?

Definitely a pioneering spirit with a forward-looking mindset! Trying something new, breaking new ground. We at "Jackle & Heidi" started out with the aim of making ice cream from natural and regional ingredients. And we are still passionate about it today. Our ice cream has to mature for 24 hours as we do not use any binding agents, preservatives or flavorings. We do not allow our average of five ingredients to be replaced by industrial ingredients. We are still fighting for the lid-turning process.

Another quality that, in my opinion, should not be missing is flexibility: recognizing problems, finding solutions and taking a different path. Getting out of your comfort zone and daring to do something - that's also what defines our path to this day.


Jackle & Heidi GmbH

Franziska Göttsche
Martin Horst
Gerstenstraße 2
17034 Neubrandenburg

Phone: 0395 - 351 71 520