Hi, I'm Natalie Eick, and I want to personally welcome you to my page! I hope that by reading this that you're able to get to know me, and that I can get to know you too at some point!
I grew up on a dairy farm near Plainfield, Iowa. It's always been my dream to take over my family's dairy farm, and I'm proud to say that I'm currently making that dream a reality!
Dairy farming isn't easy, but after various late-night conversations with my dad, we both decided value-added would be the best option for our farm.
I attended Iowa State for 2.5 years, and earned an Agricultural Business Degree that I hoped to one day be able to utilize on the farm. During my freshman year, I got involved in an Entrepreneurship program at Iowa State called AgEI. This program provided me with mentorship, equipped me with valuable business skills, and ultimately provided me with the financial assistance needed to start my business! I eventually decided to start small with a simple ice cream business, and in the spring of 2019, I launched Hightail!
I faced two huge problems when starting my business:
1. I had no idea HOW to make ice cream.
2. I had no idea WHERE I was going to make it.
Luckily, God had a plan. My brother lived across from an ice cream shop in Traer, Iowa. Pam, the owner, was kind enough to show me the ropes and teach me how to make the same super-premium, hard scoop ice cream that I make today. Additionally, my grandma lived in a fairly new assisted living facility where there was a movie theatre, pub, hair salon, and an ice cream shop. They had originally purchased a soft-serve machine meant to be self-serve for the residents. While the residents loved the ice cream, they would tend to press buttons on it that they shouldn't have. After a while, the owners of the facility were tired of constantly having to fix the machine, and a sign on the door read "Out of Order". This made me sad, as I too loved ice cream ALMOST as much as the residents. (I later learned that the residents were extremely unhappy about their ice cream privileges being taken away). After seeing the sign for several months, I struck up a conversation with the owners of the facility. We came to an agreement: I would provide ice cream for the residents to enjoy on a weekly basis, and I would in turn be able to use their shop. I've been making my ice cream there ever since, and my favorite part, by far, is that my 87 year old Grandma gets to help me make ice cream every time! It has been an amazing partnership, and one that I will forever be grateful for.
The first summer, I purchased an small push cart, and marketed my pre-packaged ice cream at local fairs and events throughout the area. When Covid-19 hit in the spring of 2020 (thus cancelling all my events), I was able to implement home delivery into Hightail's business model! Instead of just offering my ice cream, I partnered with other local business who were also struggling to find a market for their products. I delivered all around my local community and developed lots of awesome relationships with customers! As things have opened back up, Hightail has once again been able to capitalize on both home delivery and events!
Now you're probably wondering where the name Hightail comes from, and if I'm being honest, that's my favorite question! When the pasture finally greens up and dries out enough for the cattle to go out, we open up the gates! The cows go running out, they starting jumping around, and their tails fly around because they're just so exited! My mission is to make people smile by embodying that sense of joy and wholesomeness into my brand!