Meet Luanne Ronquillo, the Force Behind Ruru Baked, Toronto’s Most Delectable Small-Batch Ice Cream

Luanne Ronquillo worked as a luxury villa rental specialist before becoming a partner at Hook, a social media and content creation agency. She started Ruru Baked—selling specialty ice cream and treats—as a side hustle, along with her full-time career. 

“I am a Pastry Chef by trade, and after being asked by one of my best friends if I could make ice cream, I decided to go home and make a batch,” says Ronquillo. “To be honest, I was about to throw out my ice cream churner, but I had so much fun making ice cream again, I decided to keep it. I got really excited about creating new flavours and kept making ice cream, and then eventually decided to start a business around it.”

We chatted with her this week.

SDTC: What was the biggest challenge you faced with your business, and how did you work through it?

LR: My biggest challenge is finding time. Along with Ruru Baked and Hook, I also have to balance my personal life. I need to make sure I stay healthy, exercise, make time for friends, and make sure my relationship and support for my husband are strong.

Currently I work through it by not feeling guilty if I need a break or need to say no to opportunities to take time for myself. I set boundaries. The end goal is to eventually replace myself at both businesses. It’s an ongoing challenge.

Tell us about the process for creating/testing/releasing a new flavour.

If I ever have an idea for a flavour, I usually do a test batch first. Sometimes I nail it on the first run; sometimes it takes ten or more iterations. After I land on a recipe that I think is the best, I’ll have a group of friends and customers try the new flavour and give me their feedback, then I’ll make any edits if needed and will do another taste test. After that, it’s a matter of creating labels, taking photos for the website, creating content for social media, and announcing the new flavour.

Fave flavour you’ve ever created?

This is a loaded question. They are all my favourites! It’s like asking me which of my dogs I love more.

What is your most popular product?

Honeycomb and Sponge Toffee Ice Cream, Pandan Ice Cream, and Vietnamese Coffee. People also really like the candy caramel bars, but we haven’t made those in a while.

Tips for other entrepreneurs on the verge of starting up?

Just do it. (Not an ad for Nike.) But really, just do something if you want to. Invest in yourself. Network and ask for help. Don’t be afraid to let fires burn; be prepared as much as you can be, but issues will always arise and knowing where to put your time and energy can be the difference between success and over exhausting yourself.

Also, make sure you know why you are doing something. What is your intention? Does it fall within your values? As Simon Sinek says: Start with Why.

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