185: Tamara Keefe (Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery)

Tamara Keefe on Innovation City

“When you really have a core belief, and you can get people to buy into what you’re doing, they’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.“-Tamara Keefe

Welcome to Season 5 of Innovation City (The St. Louis Edition), a podcast featuring innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency and Aīre Ventures, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s guest is Tamara Keefe, the self-proclaimed “Flavor Temptress” and owner of Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Creamery. Tamara used her tech background and her family’s Sunday ice-cream making tradition to create an innovative and award-winning micro-creamery that’s changing the industry. In this episode, Tamara sits down with the team to discuss her humble upbringing, Clementine’s creative ice cream flavors like alcohol-infused chocolate cabernet, and her undying love for St. Louis!

They discuss:

  • What is your superpower, and how did you first discover it?
    • Kindness rooted in humble beginnings
    • A solid understanding of what drives consumer behavior
  • Early family life
    • Tamara grew up in a large poor Irish Italian family where the family was a priority.
  • Tech background
    • Tamara got a job early on in the tech space during the dot-com boom.
    • Her mentor, Eddie Milstein, instilled a sense of passion in her and the team that taught her how successful a business could be when employees believed in it.
    • Early on, she learned that brand loyalty and attachment to an organization is so hard to cultivate yet so crucial to success.
  • The journey from tech to ice cream
    • The dot-com bubble boomed and burst, and Tamara’s life was at a crossroads.
    • Tamara got married and gave up her highly paid corporate role.
    • She got married, moved, and changed careers, then made the life-changing decision to go back to school.
  • The power of higher education
    • Tamara started on her journey to receive her bachelor’s degree at age twenty-five, and it changed the course of her life.
    • She went to Oxford, got an MBA, and began a new career as a consultant for food companies in California.
    • As a foodie, she realized that the food industry was the place for her.
  • A Foodie with a love for St. Louis
    • Tamara was relocated to St. Louis by Dupont, and within six months, she discovered her one true love, the city itself.
    • St. Louis is an accessible city with affordable housing, free museums, and a booming sense of community.
  • Inspiration behind Clementine’s Naughty & Nice Ice Cream
    • Ice cream has been Tamara’s passion since she was a child, and she got the love of ice cream from her mother.
    • One Sunday after church, her mom found an old hand-crank ice cream machine for $2, and the family started making ice cream as a family after church on Sunday.
    • As other families from the church began participating in the ice cream making, it created a sense of community her family had never experienced.
  • The craziest flavors at Clementine’s
    • At Clementine’s, they infuse the “naughty” ice creams with up to 18% alcohol. They were the first to do this in the country.
    • Some of the naughty ice creams are Maple Bourbon, Chocolate Cabernet, and the classic Manhattan cocktail.
    • They’re most famous for their gooey butter cake ice cream, a St. Louis staple.
    • Clementine’s took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the National Ice Cream Retailers Association (NICRA), the first time in the organization’s history.
    • It also made Oprah’s “O List” for being the sexiest ice cream alive.

Lightning Round:

  • How do you show love to others?
    • Kindness and lots of hugs
  • What did you learn from your biggest regret?
    • Save more money
  • If you could run your own country, what would it be like?
    • Full of ice cream
  • If money wasn’t an issue, how would you spend your time?
    • Traveling the world eating dessert
  • Describe a moment in your life and how it impacted you?
    • Education. It’s the only thing no one can ever take from you.

Get in Touch

Clementine’s Creamery Website– They ship nationwide!