Situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Licky Chan is the ice cream parlour that packs more than a punch. Whether you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth or even get a little buzzed, Licky Chan has you covered with their wide (and mind-blogging yet addictive) flavour combinations. Below, we talk to the sweet house on their wild rise to fame, plans for the ice cream scene and more.
What are your brand's creative direction and artistic approach?
Serving boozy ice cream named cone-tails with an in-house tattoo parlour!
Please share what has been the brand's most admirable achievement thus far!
KLFoodie posted about us when we just opened and overnight we had 105K views! Needless to say, that weekend the queue was the longest we have seen. Also, The W Hotel x Licky Chan collaboration for an ice cream cocktail event was probably the most exciting event that happened this year.
What are some hardships that the brand has gone through and how did you overcome them?
The pandemic has been the biggest hardship thus far. First, it caused our initial plans to fall through, causing multiple delays for renovations and opening, and now having to close our outlet after only being open for a couple of months.
How are your products sourced and made?
We try to source as many locally grown/made ingredients as we can. We use locally farmed, grass-fed cow milk and skyr. One of our flavours was created with a local chocolatier, Ning, a chocolate concierge. This was a really fun flavour to make as we got to try many of Ning's amazing chocolates to find the perfect one. The spirits and liqueurs we use are those Rick loves using for his cocktails too, such as Sake, Fernet Branca or Mezcal. Absolutely no low-grade alcohol or artificial flavouring is used!
Can you describe your brand's creative approach in making your products? Has it evolved much over time?
We always try to do things a little differently and plan to apply that to different outlets. We're still very new in the game so we'll see in time how that grows.
How did your brand come about?
Suddenly and unexpectedly, which seems to be where our best ideas come from! We had been renting our shop lot for a while now but because of the pandemic, our initial plan had fallen through. While chatting with Chef Brian, he told us he was considering opening another tattoo studio. Being a bunch of tattoo lovers, we jumped at the chance to work with Brian on this and offered up the space we had.
We had been pushing to have boozy desserts on our JOLOKO menu for ages but it just didn't quite fit. We suggested cocktail-themed ice cream and Rick immediately came up with a few flavours to play around with. We approached our partners with the idea and they got straight into designing the outlet.
It was a great outlet for all of us to get creative again and sink our teeth into a new project. We knew with LICKY that we needed more creative input so we brought on Joanne who owns The Fictionist to help with the brand ID and Chef Foo and Brian to help us make our crazy ideas come to life.
We look at creating flavours from a bar or culinary perspective where we layer textures and flavours as you would in a dish or cocktail.
Who/what are your sources of inspiration?
We guess this is a good place to mention your creativity with ice cream too! From unique flavour combinations such as ghost peppers and chocolate to fresh milk and soy sauce, it's clear you are taking the ice cream biz to a new level and territory. In your own words, what gaps are Licky Chan looking to fill?
We love ice cream and the comfort it brings to many people. There are a few amazing local brands that already specialise in comfort flavours that we figured we'd like to try the path less travelled and get as creative as possible. We look at creating flavours from a bar or culinary perspective where we layer textures and flavours as you would in a dish or cocktail.
What are some of the values the brand holds dear to and why?
Dare to be different, don't let fear hold you back. It would be easy to stick to comforts and safe routes but we wouldn't be half as happy with the outcome.
Why did you choose the name, "Licky Chan"?
Chan is my surname and my family had nicknamed my partner Ricky Chan (as it's my running joke with him that he'll be taking my last name). When a friend taught us how to write Ricky Chan in Mandarin and told us it's pronounced Licky Chan, the name just stuck and was perfect for an ice cream brand!
What are the top 3 things you wish you knew before starting out as a brand? Do share some advice for other local business owners out there!
Be passionate about your brand and understand what you want to achieve out of it be it on a business or personal level.
Recognise your own shortcomings and hire or partner with someone who can fulfil these, this way you can focus fully on what you do best and learn the skills you lack along the way. I think the biggest problem is we sometimes think we can do everything ourselves, but running F&B especially has many aspects we either don't have time for or the experience. Think of marketing, product photography, package design, finance, admin, HR, customer relations, supplier relations, quality control, promotions, delivery software, day to day operations and the list goes on and on.
Lastly, you can't please everyone, but do listen to feedback from your customers and friends. Reoccurring comments should closely pay attention to, no matter how much you might disagree with it sometimes it's best to compromise.
Who/what are your sources of inspiration?
We love that your space is just as colourful and loud as your products! Tell us more about Licky Chan's ice cream parlour that is full of fun props and fun interior design.
Penny and Shin of MentahMatter are our partners and the creative minds behind the design. When we were planning the direction of the brand, we realised that most ice cream parlours are tailored towards take away service rather than dining in. That's where we came up with the idea to create a playground that adults could enjoy. We wanted to release the inner child that is often tucked away.
In your own words, what do you think makes your brand and its products truly unique?
I think the mix of our unconventional flavours, our outlet ID, and our tattoo parlour make us really unique.
Lastly, what are your goals and vision for your brand in the years to come?
We would like to explore the possibility to open in other countries around SEA. Wish us luck!