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“How Extremely Busy Executives Make Time to Be Great Parents”with Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Melissa Tavss

Put your phone somewhere else- when you get home, it will be OKAY if you put your phone in your room and go play with your kid in the living room. You were just at work and inevitably checked your phone right before you stepped in the door. You can unplug for an hour and give […]

Put your phone somewhere else- when you get home, it will be OKAY if you put your phone in your room and go play with your kid in the living room. You were just at work and inevitably checked your phone right before you stepped in the door. You can unplug for an hour and give your undivided attention to your kid!


Melissa Tavss started Tipsy Scoop in 2014. She previously earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Richmond, and later went on to complete her Master of Integrated Marketing at NYU. Melissa’s background is in marketing and public relations, specializing in the wine and spirits industry. She was responsible for marketing on behalf of various wine and spirits clients for five years at The Baddish Group. Melissa has been quoted in various publications such as Forbes, CNBC, NY Business Journal, and Food & Wine. She has appeared on several TV shows such as Fox Business, ABC New York, Fox NY, and NBC New York. Melissa has been honored by The James Beard Foundation and the Specialty Food Association for her unique offerings as The Founder and CEO of Tipsy Scoop.


Thank you so much for joining us Melissa! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Igrew up in NYC- right in the city! My parents were both lawyers growing up and we lived uptown in an apartment. I have one younger sister. I attended an all-girls private school from Kindergarten through high school graduation. From there, I moved to Virginia to go to University of Richmond for college. I came back to NYC for my graduate degree at NYU and have lived here since.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

Tipsy Scoop all started with a family tradition. Once upon a time (like a long, long time ago- in the 1800s!), my Italian ancestors brought ice cream to Scotland. First up — my great, great, great grandfather, Achille, who moved from his small mountaintop town of Picinisco, Italy to Glasgow, Scotland. He made ice cream at home and sold it from a pushcart as he walked the city streets (Fun fact: Italian men selling food from hand carts came to be called The Hokey Pokey men!). Eventually he opened his own ice cream shop and brought his sons into the business.

The family business continued with my great, great grandfather, Giovanni, who opened several of his own ice cream shops around Glasgow in the 1900s. My great grandfather, Federico, continued the family ice cream tradition and opened ice cream shops throughout Scotland and England and eventually became the President of the Ice Cream Alliance of Great Britain. (Yes- that is a real thing!). A few generations skipped out on the ice cream making tradition…we had some Doctors, Lawyers- really nothing very delicious- but eventually I brought it back to ICE CREAM in 2014! And with a modern boozy twist!

I started working on my own homemade ice cream recipe (not boozy yet) as soon as my Mom trusted me alone in the kitchen (which I doubt was actually 21) and found it nearly impossible to get it right in a small Cuisinart ice cream maker. Seriously, how does anyone make good ice cream in those things!??! I was struggling and decided to add a little tablespoon of alcohol to my ice cream to soften the ice cream. It was coming out all icy on the sides and I couldn’t get it to hold a creamy ice cream consistency. The alcohol seemed to help but I wasn’t completely happy with my ice cream recipes yet.

At the same time, I was working at an agency doing Marketing for different wine and spirits clients. I was lucky enough to bring home lots of sample bottles (I know- not a bad job!). Having spent day in and out in tasting notes for different liquors, I developed a good appreciation for the complexity of flavors that different alcohols brought forward. This was pretty revolutionary to me- liquors had complex interesting flavors- my tastes had really adapted from my college drinking days — cheap and in a plastic handle were the only requirements then. I was certainly very proud of myself coming to this realization. I began to think- I need more than a tablespoon of alcohol in this ice cream! Why were there no ice cream flavors geared towards adult tastes? Why was there no actually boozy ice cream? We know- rum raisin- but come on-that’s not going to do the trick!

I wanted some of these flavors in the alcohol to come through in the ice cream! I started TRYING to learn a little bit more about food science- but really, I am not that scientific…. I enlisted the help of a recipe developer. I knew I wanted my ice cream not only to have the flavor of some of the cocktails I loved, but also wanted the ice cream to actually hold an alcohol content! From what I was able to gather from my food science studies- in a rum cake, alcohol is burnt off when it is baked, but in ice cream, the alcohol would not be burnt off- it would be churned into the ice cream recipe- so there was an opportunity for a food that could actually hold an alcohol content.

BUT Alcohol doesn’t freeze right? Remember the ultimate science experiment of all time- putting a bottle of vodka in the freezer and being shocked that it stays liquid?!? Yes, we are aware that alcohol does not freeze- but we are not exactly freezing it, we are churning it into the ice cream and infusing it so that the ice cream still holds a soft gelato like consistency. That being said, our ice cream is on the softer end and more similar to a gelato in texture but still a hard ice cream.

Now for the fun part (HA!). There is a reason lots of people have not implemented their idea to start a boozy ice cream company- it’s kind of illegal! Alcohol infused ice cream laws vary state by state. We would go into more detail but fear we are already boring you! Lucky for us, in New York our liquor-infused ice cream is considered a food so long as it is less than 5% ABV (which works for us and our recipe anyway!). We are however, required to provide government warnings, proper labeling and to card end consumers purchasing our ice cream. We did also get certification as a non-beverage by the Federal government- meaning we had to submit flavor by flavor our recipes for approval. SO ya- the legal issues and loopholes were not so much fun. We experience and experienced lots of obstacles along the way- but have a lot of passion behind our idea and our brand and continue to want to realize that!

With the help and feedback from family and friends, I finally perfected the recipes and came up with creamy, tipsy and delicious treats! And now, in the family tradition, Tipsy Scoop.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

My day to day always varies. We have two stores in NYC- one in Manhattan and one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We also have a production facility in East Harlem. I usually spend one day a week at each location- chatting with the managers at both stores, making sure new flavors are out and training how to make new sundaes and cocktails, and going up to the production facility to check up on R and D and production. We also do lots of catering and events, so I am often hopping around to different events, making sure clients are happy and events are executed properly. We wholesale our ice cream to different retailers in the Northeast as well, so it’s important to go from store to store, making sure products are displayed properly and that frozen managers are excited and passionate enough about our products to keep them on the shelves! We now also have smaller locations in Dallas, Myrtle Beach and Las Vegas so I am traveling a bit to ensure those are run properly.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

So, my baby, Riley is now just over a year old! He is growing so quickly! Of course, when he was a little little baby, I don’t think he knew so much that I was his Mom or that he needed me so much beyond feeding him. Now that he is more of a toddler, he definitely seems to “need” his Mommy for comfort and support and much more beyond just eating! I think it’s important for your kids to know that you are there and always there as a constant support and pillar — even when they are really little. I think spending time with your kids builds their confidence and allows them to ironically be more independent and stronger, knowing that they have their parents support. Without that backbone, I think its hard for kids to feel like they can “do whatever they want” or “be whatever they want to be” — if they don’t have you as their cheerleader from an earlier age.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

I totally agree with this. I don’t have a babysitter for my baby on Fridays and it’s probably a mistake. I wanted to spend Fridays “working from home” and watching our baby since I often have to work on weekends as well. However, on Fridays, I am often super busy finishing up stuff from the week. I often find myself trying to do half do work while also watching my son. It’s a bit unfair as only part of myself is really engaging with him. When he was a little baby and sleeping all the time it was different but now that he is older and wants to play it’s a bit hard to just give half of myself to him on those Fridays. Now I am trying to get a babysitter for half the day, try and finish most of my work in the morning and then leave the afternoon to play with him and only do that!

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.

It’s so hard to feel like you need to do work when you are at home with your kids- it really is nearly impossible. If you think about it, multitasking in this sense is really not a good thing. It makes it so you are doing a half ass job of taking care of your kid and also doing a half ass job at your work!

Put your phone somewhere else- when you get home, it will be OKAY if you put your phone in your room and go play with your kid in the living room. You were just at work and inevitably checked your phone right before you stepped in the door. You can unplug for an hour and give your undivided attention to your kid!

Wake up a little earlier- if you wake up just a half hour earlier before your kids, you can dedicate about 20 minutes to getting a little work done (at least I am smartest in the morning) and 10 minutes to starting to get their breakfast and/or anything else they need ready. Just that extra half hour will be helpful and make you feel less stressed to start the day.

Accept help and delegate more!- Once you have a kid, you just don’t have as much time as you used to. You cannot just go home and get right back to work. You need to bathe your kid, feed them, play with them, put them to bed. Not to mention, you need a little time to yourself to decompress. You just don’t have the same amount of time to dedicate to work as you used to. That being said, be smarter with what you are working on. Delegate tasks that someone else from your team could do to someone else! Don’t feel like you have to do it all because you won’t be able to!

Stop, think and prioritize- When you have a deadline — great, stick to that deadline. But if someone emails you at 8pm at night, in the middle of trying to put your kid to bed and says they need a response immediately- stop and think to yourself- do they really need a response immediately? What are they even going to do about it tonight? Give yourself a little break (even if no one else is) and handle it first thing in the morning. OR if it cannot wait- Put your kid to bed, allow 20 minutes to decompress/relax and then tackle it head on! But stop and think- do I really need to respond and do this work right now? Or can this wait? Likely it can wait, at least a few hours.

Stop multitasking- Do things one at a time. I used to be the queen of multi-tasking and pride myself on my ability to complete multiple tasks “at once” or in the same day. It turns out, multi-tasking does not work that well. Especially when you have a kid to take care of. You end up doing an okay job at taking care of your kid and at each assignment you are working on. Make a to do list, tackle projects one at a time- cross off the project as you complete. Obviously, there are some bigger picture projects that won’t be finished in a day but set aside time to work on each project. Even set aside time to respond to emails. If you are on your computer, working on a big project, don’t check emails for a half hour and dedicate time to working on that project only. Check your email every half hour if you think you need to but leave time in between to actually get some work done! Same thing with spending time with your kid- take a break from your work, get some quality time in and go back to it. You will feel better about that then feeling rushed and flustered trying to do both at once.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

I think I define being a good parent as being the one who your kids go to when they need to solve a problem or fix something. I am not sure I am capable of “fixing everything” in the way that my Mom and Dad were able to for me growing up (and still fix things for me as their 32-year-old child!) But I will definitely try to always be there to fix everything or try to help my son with any problems or obstacles that he faces in his life. And let him know that I am always there to help.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

My son is just one years old- so I don’t have any real examples of this yet! But I will try to lead by example in owning my own company and hopefully continuing to be successful! Hopefully that will be a good example that you can do what you put your mind to — and really do whatever you put your mind to.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

I define success as being able to balance the two. Being able to spend time with your family and loved ones away from a work environment and being able to unplug is so valuable. Without that, you just have your career and don’t get the best of both worlds.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I pretty much just Google any questions I have. Or call our pediatrician! I also follow the Instagram accounts @postpartum and subscribe to The Bump. And of course, have read all the What to Expect books.

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