A Business Administration student who set up a handcrafted ice cream company during his degree will graduate at the University's summer award ceremonies this week, in the same week that his business opens a pop-up outlet at Top Shop’s flagship store on London’s Oxford Street.
22-year-old Rob Huysinga, from Caversham in Berkshire, and his friend Henry Milroy set up Pan-n-Ice following a trip to Thailand in 2015 at the end of Rob’s second year, where they were amazed to discover ice cream could be made ‘in front of your eyes’ on a frozen plate.
When they returned to the UK they set about researching ice cream business models, learning the craft and building a young, fun, fashionable brand that now has over 130,000 followers on Instagram.
Having devised a ‘more playful way’ of serving ice cream, the business pair started in a pop up gazebo they took to food fairs and events, before settling in Bristol’s Cabot Circus shopping centre with a retro truck.
In just two years Pan-n-Ice is now serving its frozen treats at Westfield Stratford, one of the world’s largest shopping centres, and is listed by Time Out as one of London’s top 10 ice cream parlours. Selfridges’ Foundhall in both London and Manchester are hosting Pan-n-Ice and the company has a full calendar of bookings for corporate events and music festivals across the country.
As a Business Administration student Rob spent his second year placement working on marketing and strategy in a startup in London, and then in his third year placement at his own company, with entrepreneurial support from our School of Management and the University’s Innovation Centre.
Speaking ahead of his graduation at Bath Abbey, on Tuesday 4 July, Rob said: “Pan-n-ice is all about positivity, and the future of the business is certainly looking exciting. We get hundreds of franchise requests every week, so we’re planning to franchise it in the new year.
“Working on the business while completing my final year and exams was tough going so it’s good to graduate and be able to dedicate my time to my business. I am fortunate to have a great business partner in Henry who was able to work on the company when at times I wasn’t fully able to.
“I profusely thank my lecturers for all they have taught me. It was so inspiring to spend my first placement in a startup and I’m very grateful to everyone who made it possible for me to make my own business my second placement! I’ve loved my degree and I’ve made great friends. I would do it all over again if I could!”
Professor Veronica Hope Hailey, Dean of the School of Management, who will speak at Rob’s graduation ceremony, said: “Rob is a real self-starter and the School of Management is incredibly proud of his achievement in creating Pan-n-Ice alongside his studies. He’s showing us how to take an idea from another market and apply it to the UK and we look forward to watching his captivating brand go from strength to strength.”