By Scott Etkin
On the night before her debut at the Grand Bazaar flea market on West 77th Street, Joyce Friedmann stood in her UWS apartment, surrounded by 100 packages of waffles and 100 loose waffles to cut up for samples.
A group of friends had come over to help pack them and make signs for her booth. “I literally didn’t have a clue what I was doing,” she said with a laugh.
By the next afternoon, however, she had sold every package. That day in September 2021 was the first sign that Joyce had made the right move bringing Joyffles, her gluten-free waffles, to the public. A few weeks later at the Grand Bazaar, she more than doubled those sales.
Ms. Friedmann describes launching Joyffles as “a leap of faith,” but in many ways it was also a long time coming. As a single mom, Joyce often made waffles for her twin children. Over time, she tweaked the recipe – replacing flour with oats and removing the granulated sugar – into a healthier version so that she could eat them too.
As her kids grew up attending P.S. 87, Joyce’s career was running a boutique press and marketing agency. But she is one of those people who has always felt comfortable in the kitchen — starting when she was six years old and her mother taught her to make French toast because she didn’t feel like making it herself.
Joyce decided that once her kids went off to college, she’d try turning her waffles into a business. Unfortunately, freshman year coincided with the start of the pandemic. Throughout 2020, there was “no sampling” at stores and farmers markets, which delayed her plans for months.
“I was so excited to finally have a proof of concept,” she said, describing her six weeks at the Grand Bazaar. Despite the limitations of working out of her galley kitchen – when she tried running a second waffle iron, she blew a fuse – Joyce found an audience for her product.
Some of her primary customers are families – kids love them and parents can have them guilt-free. Some sent in photographs.
Upper West Side native, Julian Alvin, enjoying a Joyffles snack. Photo by his mom Rachel Birch.
She has also gained a following among an active crowd: one customer reports eating them before a workout; another eats them when out hiking and biking.
Ryan Goldberg taking a break from his hike in the Santa Monica mountains to enjoy some Joyffles. Photo by Cassie Friedman (no relation).
Despite making a gluten-free product, Joyce doesn’t have Celiac Disease. She said one of the best things about Joyffles is that people can enjoy them whether they eat gluten-free or not. “They’re the perfect breakfast or afternoon pick-me-up.”
After her successful run at the Grand Bazaar, Joyce transitioned her business online, which required moving out of her home kitchen and into a commercial space. Still working on her own, she now makes her product at The Entrepreneur Space, a nonprofit in Long Island City. She recently fulfilled 16 large orders that were shipped across the country, including Arizona, Las Vegas, California, New Mexico, and Colorado.
Joyffles come in three flavors: Banana Walnut, Banana Chocolate Chip and Apple Cranberry. Each package of two waffles costs $4.50. They’re made with fresh ingredients, including chia seeds and flax seeds, and without preservatives. They can last for about three months if stored in the freezer.
Joyce’s next goal is to get coffee shops and gourmet stores on the Upper West Side to carry her product. “I’ll stick to the Upper West Side and expand out from here,” she said. “It’s a great community.”
For now you can purchase Joyffles directly from Joyce on her website: www.joyffles.com.
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This is great! Good for Joyce creating a wonderful product in the pandemic that’s been well received!
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