Bailey Scott loves to get into her favorite ride, grab her friends, crank up the music and hit the streets to cruise around. Bailey’s “ride,” however, isn’t typical for most 20-year-olds. It’s a brightly decorated baby-blue ice cream truck filled with prepackaged ice cream treats and sweets. You see, Bailey, a Billings West High graduate, is the owner and operator of Bailey’s Frozen Novelties, a business she started from scratch at the age of 18. Now in her second full season, Bailey doesn’t have just one ice cream truck, she has a mini-fleet of two trucks plus several ice cream carts she brings to citywide events. It’s a thriving business and Bailey is turning ice cream into some serious cold hard cash.
“If I’m having a bad day all I have to do is get in my truck,” Bailey says with a smile. “Kids freak out over ice cream and older people are nostalgic about the truck. Everybody is happy to see me. Even the colors of my truck make me happy! The bottom line is this business brings people joy and I love that.”
So how does a teenager create a small ice cream enterprise? She does it with a lot of hard work, support from her family and a few Pinterest idea boards to spur on the dreams she’s held since she was a child.
“I remember Bailey talking about owning a business and coming up with ideas since she was little,” says her father, Pat. Knowing his daughter’s ambitions, in the summer of 2016 while Bailey was at a summer camp in Vancouver, British Columbia, Pat spied an old Utilimaster truck sitting in front of an HVAC business in town. He purchased the van for $1,000 and from that point on the truck sparked a crash course for Bailey on owning a business. “I had her write out a business plan for me,” says Pat, who bankrolled his daughter’s venture. “Even though I was loaning her the money, I wanted her to think through some of details of owning a business.” As with all businesses, Bailey’s Frozen Novelties began with a lot of sweat equity.
“The truck was crappy,” Bailey says with a laugh. “It was rusted out and had rats’ nests in it.” The previous owner had used the truck as a business sign, so it had sat empty for quite some time. During about three weeks of hard work, Bailey and her dad ripped the truck apart and replaced much of the interior. “Bailey worked really hard sanding the truck,” her dad says. “She burned up two sanders just trying to get the paint off!”
Since the early days, Bailey’s village of friends, family and business connections have shared knowledge and ideas with her as she’s tried to keep her finger on the pulse of her business every step of the way. “I did a lot of research. You would be surprised at how much stuff there is out there for ice cream trucks,” she says today.
Everything about the look of her fleet has been Bailey all the way. She designed the menu. She drew out ideas for signage. She chose the specialty freezers that hold her delicious treats. She handpicked the Blue Bunny and Wilcoxson’s items to sell. She handled all the licensing and she worked with the City/County Health Department to make sure everything was up to code. She even designed her logo with help from a free online logo resource. A Billings creative company refined the look and made it user ready for her sweet little startup. The result was a cartoon version of Bailey herself with a smile at the top and her trademark Chaco sandals at her feet.
After two months of hard work, Bailey’s Frozen Novelties was ready to hit the road
“The support and excitement around the business has been really cool,” Bailey says. She adds that one of her biggest obstacles was self-doubt. It was something she had to work hard to get through. “Keep talking about it and somebody will believe in you and be on board. You just can’t defeat yourself before you even get going,” she says.
Even after pushing that self-doubt aside, Bailey knew there were unique challenges to being a young business owner. “It’s hard when people think I didn’t come up with the business and didn’t do the work myself since I’m so young,” she says. Bailey’s father has had a front row seat to the challenges. “She has had some tough lessons to learn about business. You know, with our children, we want them to have unlimited success. It’s tough to watch them struggle, but she has done it on her own,” her father says. “I just hate it when people are mean or super critical,” Bailey says. “And I hate being told ‘no.’” Obstacles aside, Bailey’s homegrown business is doing exceptionally well.
After an incredibly busy season last year and witnessing a little burnout, this year Bailey has brought on nine employees, added another truck to her business plus some ice cream carts to help her fill all her scheduled events. While Bailey admits the hiring process was hard, “I wanted outgoing people and people who I enjoyed being around.” She found the right mix. With employees trained and trucks already on the move, Bailey’s Frozen Novelties is booked all season, serving up sweetness for birthday parties, community events, MontanaFair and even a few weddings. “Weddings are so fun! It’s really creative to have something different at the wedding like an ice cream cart.”
With a lot of hard work, Bailey’s sweet dreams are becoming a reality. Since she’s not one to sit idle, she’s already planning for growth to be able to bring more joy to Billings, one frozen treat at a time. “I’m so grateful for all the support and to my family for helping me get started,” Bailey says. “Bottom line, people will support your dream if you let them.”
YOU CAN FIND BAILEY’S FROZEN NOVELTIES on the company Facebook page at facebook.com/baileysfrozennov