A SHEFFIELD woman who only set up a business making exotic ice creams and sorbets 16 months ago is now in negotiations to sell her products to a restaurant chain and airlines – after securing a deal with posh department store Harvey Nichols.
Yee Kwan Chan, from Ecclesall, who used to be a chartered quantity surveyor, is reaching for the skies.
The 34-year-old makes unusual flavours of ice cream including ginger, green tea, black sesame seed, lime and lemongrass and pink guava and passion fruit sorbets.
She said: “I’m in negotiations with Yo! Sushi restaurant chain and far eastern airlines.
“The aim is also to expand sales by approaching Selfridges food hall and I have also applied for a stall at London’s Borough market, which is a magnet for foodies.
“I do everything on my own apart from having a little help from my husband, Anthony, but it means I may now have to take on some staff.”
The businesswoman, whose brand is called ‘Yee Kwan’ after herself, decided to swap careers and develop her own range of ice creams after being disappointed by the desserts on offer at many Chinese and oriental restaurants.
She said: “I was inspired by travels abroad to south east Asia visiting beautiful places – and also from going to the ice cream parlour in Atkinson’s department store.
“My experience of desserts typically on offer in Asian restaurants was pineapple fritters, lychees or vanilla ice cream, which was a bit disappointing.
“I wanted to create something more exotic.”
Yee secured a deal with Harvey Nichols after cornering the store’s buyer at a food festival in Harrogate and is now supplying a range of 500 gramme tubs, which retail for £5.95 at the company’s branches in London and Manchester, plus smaller 125ml tubs sold in Manchester for £2 each.
At her 1,000 sq ft factory, in the Devonshire Business Park, Wellington Street, Yee makes more than a dozen different flavours.
As well as Harvey Nics, Yee’s desserts are also served at restaurants on London Road, Sheffield, and the Showroom Cinema.
Yee started up with help from Sheffield Council’s First Point for Business advice service.
A council spokeswoman said: “Instead of trekking around the whole council going to each department individually asking for advice on different matters, First Point pulls everything together.
“Companies who approach us are given a single account manger to help them.
“Yee was one of our first business people to walk through the door and 18 months on she’s in Harvey Nichols, which is pretty impressive.
“She’s a great, strong female entrepreneur.”