It’s time for another instalment of Local Folks: a collaborative series between Amy and Tomasz of Tomasz Wagner Photography and yours truly.
It’s no secret that we all are obsessed with popsicles. I mean, lickable dessert? Yes and yes. And who better to show us the art of the pops than the man himself; Johnny of Vancouver’s very own Johnny’s Pops. Read the full Q&A after the jump!
Amy: Johnny, thanks for taking the time to meet up with us today. We know you must be really busy gearing up for the summer, so it’s appreciated!
Johnny: My pleasure, thanks for having me!
Amy: We met at a Trade School Vancouver event last year, a few weeks before you launched Johnny’s Pops. What were you up to before then?
Johnny: I made things quite frequently. I was doing a lot of screen printing for about seven years and then I started sewing and making wallets and bags out of bicycle inner tube.
Amy: And then came the artisan pops—what are your favourite pops flavours, and why?
Johnny: The Avocado Lime, because it meshes ‘creamy’ and ‘refreshing’ really well. I’m always surprised at what you can do with avocado in desserts!
Amy: On that note, we’d love to know a bit about your process. For example, how do you come up with new flavours and decide which ones you’ll discontinue? We suspect it involves eating a lot of pops.
Johnny: It’s frequently quite hard to discontinue flavours because people come around looking for them and are sad when I stop making them.
Amy: Eating a pop will probably make them feel better though.
Johnny: It usually hits the spot! (laughs) As for my process, it involves trying out pairings of flavours in small batches, tweaking and rewriting the recipe, and then launching them when the fruit or berries come into season.
Amy: “Local” isn’t a passing trend for you and we love that it informs your business decisions. You’re entering your second year. Care to share any lessons you’ve learned from the first? Any challenges or revelations?
Johnny: Having a small business is basically a series of decisions to be made—which can be daunting. I’ve learned that when you bounce ideas off of as many people you live and work around, this the best way of making these decisions. It’s an invaluable opportunity to learn from others and to give yourself some necessary context.
Amy: It’s great to see so many new entrepreneurs make a place for themselves in the city. We wouldn’t be surprised if it’s largely due to the support people enjoy from their communities, as you mentioned! On that note, what are your favourite places, small businesses in Vancouver?
Johnny: I love Café Medina for the best breakfast in Vancouver and the Wilder Snail for their great Strathcona vibes and solid coffee. When it’s raining and I’m not selling pops, Burgoo’s comfort food hits the spot
Amy: Let’s get outside of the city for a bit. What’s your most memorable travel experience?
Johnny: Hiking in Nepal to an elevation where it’s hard to take fifteen steps without stopping for a breather.
Amy: Nepal sounds like my kind of place! (laughs) One last question before we wrap things up with the shoot and interview here—we’d love to know of any developments and/or projects you’re excited about right now re: Johnny’s Pops, or otherwise.
Johnny: I spent all winter building a creme brûlée cart and practicing my creme brûlée skills. I’m excited to launch in August!
Amy: And we’re excited to see creme brûlée on wheels!