14 Gary Maietta Parkway,
Kristie Green has a passion for organic ingredients and artisan foods. So at her South Portland-based business, Maple’s Organics, she and her staff create gelato and sorbetto in traditional “micro-batches,” with fresh, natural and local ingredients. Today, the shop’s frozen treats are distributed in 100 markets throughout New England. And just recently, Green brought another comfort food into the mix – pizza, through Maple’s sister business, Pizza Magnolia.
What were your most important needs in getting started?
Inspiration and developing a strong vision. I really wanted to create a business that was in line with my values and my passions. We work with local organic farmers. We are making a food (frozen desserts) that I am excited to eat all the time. Building a brand has been a big deal and a learning process – it’s not necessarily something I understood fully at the beginning. Also, developing product testing flavors, traveling a lot, eating a lot, talking to chefs, trying to figure out what flavors would be unique, exciting and delicious.
What factors from your upbringing gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
I come from a family of food entrepreneurs. My grandfather opened the first pizza restaurant in Maine after World War II. My father and my aunts all run restaurants, so I grew up in family restaurants. I always assumed I would do something in the business. Also, my mom raised me and she is amazing, just having her support and the confidence to feel I can do anything.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a female entrepreneur?
There haven’t really been a lot of disadvantages, except in the very beginning, when I was trying to build the space, dealing with contractors and the city. In the food business, there are a lot of woman-run business. In general, people have been insanely supportive and helpful. When you’re a young woman, people are willing to help you out, because you need it.
What advice would you give an aspiring female entrepreneur?
Have a very strong vision, and know where your passions lie. If you don’t do something that you’re passionate about, it’s going to stink doing it every single day. You need to really be doing something that you love and that you are proud to do.