Inside Pride & Joy's delicious formula for fixing youth unemployment

Pride & Joy aims to be more than just an ice cream company, thanks to its "remarkable unemployees".

Pride & Joy aims to be more than just an ice cream company, thanks to its "remarkable unemployees".

With 100 million unemployed youth around the world, many with tertiary qualifications struggling to get a foot in the door, Pride & Joy founder James Coddington saw an opportunity for a business model to connect with them.

Along with business partner Tony Balfour (Silver Fern Farms director and former Icebreaker GM), the former NZSki chief executive settled on ice cream as a vehicle for that – New Zealand is known as a world leader in dairy and ice cream is enjoyed internationally, so as Coddington says, there wasn't exactly a need to do a feasibility study on that aspect. 

james coddington tony balfour pride and joy ice cream idealog

Pride & Joy was launched in December, with the two-pronged aim of adding value to a primary industry product and “entrepreneurising” the unemployed at the same time – in particular, those fresh out of uni, enabling them to set up their own retail businesses.

Pride & Joy's first three hires are new grads who had been applying for jobs around the country for a couple of years with no luck. "That is the reality," Coddington says. "[Companies] are looking for people with experience, who've been there and done that." It's the old chicken-and-egg conundrum. 

Their "unemployees" sell ice cream from nifty, shiny little stainless steel pods. Pride & Joy has partnered with BNZ to remove the funding barrier for those who sign on, he says. 

Kapiti and Gourmet Guru cofounder Ross McCallum brings the ice cream wizardry, and the Auckland Food Bowl helped with early product development. Pride & Joy's ice cream is made fresh every day from local ingredients (“not from the other side of the world, or from something that looks like a nuclear facility”) in about a dozen flavours, at similarly compact 'factory in a box' style hubs.

pride and joy ice cream outside anz centre auckland

​PHOTO: Robin Smith Photography

Spend a few minutes on the Pride & Joy site and you quickly get a feel for the brand's philosophy – irreverent, down-to-earth, and youthful. According to Coddington, with their target market being mainly under 30, they're trying to tip conventional business wisdom on its head.

Four Pride & Joy pods are now established around Auckland (outside the ANZ Centre on Swanson Street; in front of the Downtown Shopping Centre at the bottom of Queen Street; and in the new Waitemata Plaza site on the Viaduct) and another six or so are in the pipeline further afield – Christchurch, Wellington, New Plymouth, Tauranga, Hamilton.

Coddington hopes to see 10 pods up and running by winter and another five on top of that before the next summer. With those 15 successful pods on the go, Pride & Joy can then look to scale internationally. He says there's already interest globally from people seeking exclusive licences for the concept in their own countries.

According to Coddington, Pride & Joy's success is wrapped up with the success of their people – if in five years they've gone on to do amazing things, "that will be our success story".

"We don't view ourselves as an ice cream company, we view ourselves as a personal development and professional development company."

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