District Boss Interview: Violeta Edelman
Meet Violeta Edelman, Co-Owner of DC's Dolcezza Gelato!
Violetta Edelman is a passionate creative and an explorer at heart. Though she never meant to settle down with a husband and kids in DC, we are certainly glad that her exciting and adventurous path led her here and that we get to enjoy her gelato and espresso locally. Read on to learn more about her story and family life!
1. Tell us about your business!
The idea for Dolcezza began in Buenos Aires in the year 2000 on a warm humid night in South America under the lights of a popular gelato shop. My husband and I had just landed in Argentina after an epic journey which began in the Brazilian Amazon and finished three months and 4,000 miles later in Buenos Aires. To say that possibility was ripe is an understatement. The idea came from a moment in time when the engines of synchronicity revved loudly. We opened our doors in Georgetown in July 2004 without having ever made one batch of gelato, we just knew we wanted to create something with our own hands, something we would be proud of and something delicious, and we did. Today, Dolcezza serves daily-made gelato & expertly crafted coffee drinks in more than 10 shops, 100 restaurants and hotels and more than and 500 grocery stores throughout the east coast.
2. What lead you to where you are today?
I never thought I was going to end up making gelato. I was born in Argentina and studied communication. I worked producing TV shows and writing in magazines in Buenos Aires. I always thought that I was not the marring type (I am fiercely independent and my goal was to go to Europe and travel alone) but then I met Robb in the Amazon jungle and everything changed. He is American, so we ended up moving to DC because of his job at the time and decided that Washington, DC was a great city that was going to embrace and appreciate our product. We opened Dolcezza in 2004 and 14 years later here we are with 10 shops and three kids.
3. What brings you the most joy when creating gelato flavors and working in your shops?
I truly love eating gelato and drinking coffee and I love coffee shops and everything about them, so the ability to create this experience for others is very fulfilling. I also love working with my family and being able to share my everyday with them.
4. What’s the best part of being an entrepreneur? The most difficult part?
The best part is the freedom to make my decisions, shape my life, execute my vision and mentor others. The most difficult part is that everything is on the line and the highs are really high, but that means the lows are really low and one wrong decision can cost you a lot. So, you have to have strength, trust yourself, follow your vision and at the same time be able to adapt to the changes in the market and in your industry to stay relevant.
5. How do you stay motivated and continue to grow, personally and professionally?
Staying true to myself, which means making sure that I have time for self care: I eat well, I sleep well, I prioritize my couple and make sure that Robb and I have time to enjoy our relationship, I put my family first and spend quality time with my children. All things that are not directly related to work but that make me feel balanced, so that I can go out and tackle the every day challenges at work. I also make sure that at Dolcezza I surround myself with smart, honest, compassionate people with good sense of humor that challenge me and motivate me to grow.
6. What’s your nighttime routine?
We have dinner together with Robb and my three girls, all sitting at the table. This is the most important part of our day and dinner is sacred, there are no screens at the table and we all say what we are thankful for that day. I read books to the girls before going to bed, if I am not exhausted, I go down to the living room to spend some time with Robb and talk about the day and then go to bed with a book myself.
7. What’s one piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs in your industry?
At first it's going to be difficult, so make sure you truly love what you do because it is going to take double the time that you think you have to put into the business and have twice the working capital you think you need because you don't want to fail because you run out of cash. You have to be willing to work harder and longer than the rest and be bold.