A Sonoma County, Calif. goat farm is about as far away as one can be from the fast-paced glitzy Los Angeles life former film and advertising producer Laura Howard used to live. In fact, it’s the epitome of “slow,” a word that’s come to mean a lot to Howard, who founded Laloo’s goat milk ice cream at age 35 with no ice cream experience, and her husband, multimedia artist Douglas Gayeton, whose just-published book, “Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town” has become an instant best-seller. The couple, who met in Tuscany, have taken the slow food idea and made it a reality while building their businesses and raising a daughter, Tuilerie, now 3.
It wasn’t a need to make a lot of money that drove Howard to start her own business, but a desire to live a more fulfilling, healthier life — not unlike the lives of the people whom she befriended in Tuscany. It also didn’t hurt that she’s been a lifelong ice cream junkie; as she says, “There’s nothing that ice cream can’t fix.”
How hard was it to go from L.A. woman to Petaluma farmer?
Not as hard as people might think. I was a 4-H kid growing up. There’s something about slowing down and being outside everyday. It’s harder being in your car and under fluorescent lights.
You started Laloo’s at age 35 with no experience in ice cream or owning your own business, just a passion and a desire to change your life. What has surprised you about becoming an entrepreneur?
Just how much freedom there is. Having to find a way to manage everything was pretty thrilling at times, and challenging. You get to put as much time into one area as you think is right. And, you learn just how long a day can be.
Not too long after you started Laloo’s you became a mother. In what ways has that changed you?
In ways I hadn’t expected it to. Being a mom made me look more into the future, how what I do may affect her life and the world around her. It sounds cliché but I wanted to leave a legacy and make an impact. I began looking at everything and its consequence.