Founder, CEO & The Flavor Temptress
Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Ice Cream
Location: St. Louis, MO
Industry: Ice Cream, Food & Beverage
Tamara Keefe left her well-paying career as a brand manager in corporate America, cashed in her life savings and 401k, and risked everything she had to pursue her dream: ice cream.
“The biggest risk would have been not taking the risk at all,” she said. “I needed to feel like I owned my life and work toward something that excited me: making the best-tasting ice cream around. That is what made all of the sacrifices worth it. My biggest advice to those just starting out or feeling like they need to make a change is to take the risk! Even if you fail, making that leap will make you stronger and happier, which can lead to more success.”
Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Ice Cream is a St. Louis-based microcreamery featuring unique “nice” flavors, vegan options, and a “naughty” (booze-infused) line of ice creams with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. Founded in 2014 by Keefe when she quit her high-profile marketing gig in corporate America to pursue her lifelong passion for making ice cream, the company has grown to six locations in the St. Louis area and also ships nationwide.
Clementine’s is in the process of moving from a 5,000-square-foot production facility to a 25,000-square-foot facility to allow for regional and national expansion. The company has been featured on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies for two consecutive years.
Keefe’s vision for Clementine’s in the next five years is to reach $10 million in revenue from 12 shops, with the ultimate goal of $50 million in revenue from 50 shops and online expansion in 10 years.
Keefe and Clementine’s have been featured by CBS This Morning, Food & Wine, Eater, Tasting Table, Good Morning America, Buzzfeed, Southwest: The Magazine, and elsewhere. In 2019, Clementine’s Gooey Butter Cake ice cream was named to Oprah’s O-List as “the sexiest ice cream alive.”
Keefe is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10KSB program as well as a Tory Burch 2019 Foundation Fellow and James Beard 2020 Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellow. She serves on the board of the St. Louis Civic Pride Foundation, is an active member of EO Entrepreneurs’ Organization and has served as MyEO Chair, helping businesses grow and thrive.
“I believe the most important attribute of a successful leader today is authenticity,” Keefe said. “Being an authentic leader means bringing your whole self into your work and leading with honesty and integrity. In leadership roles today, it is so important to stay true to your values. It’s the only way to get others to buy into your mission and organization. I’ve seen firsthand how being an authentic leader fosters motivation, passion and creativity among employees, customers and other stakeholders.”
Tamara's personal favorite Clementine's ice cream flavor is Madagascar Vanilla!