A new Latinx-owned ice cream pop-up in Koreatown is using sweet treats to broach sensitive topics surrounding mental health and self care.
“The idea kind of came up during the height of the pandemic, when everyone was stuck at home,” says Sue Mancini, the owner of Sad Girl Creamery. “I figured sharing my own personal experiences with mental health could make people relate and feel a little alleviated with the sad feelings they’re having at home.”
Mancini was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when she was 26, and had a hard time accepting or discussing her feelings with her family.
“It's not very common, especially in immigrant families, that we talk about things like mental health,” she says. “I think that comes from a hard-working mentality. Your family moves here because of whatever reason, and you're put into this survival mode. So if you're talking about being sad, it's kind of like, ‘Well, you can overcome that sadness on your own, can’t you?’”
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Most people experiencing mental health issues do need help (and a little ice cream), and that’s what Mancini is trying to do through her business. She uses her Instagram page as a personal diary and a way to connect with others.
“People will resonate with something that I'm talking about, whether it's self harm or binge-watching TV,” she says. “They’ll usually DM [direct message] me, and then I have a one-on-one conversation with my customers there.”
Mancini incorporates flavors from Latin American desserts into her ice cream. There’s Arroz Con Leche, which is toasted rice sweet ice cream with Mexican cinnamon. Chocotorta is dulce de leche ice cream with dark chocolate cake pieces soaked in coffee. And Paloma sorbet is a grapefruit and lime sorbet with grapefruit zest.
She would like to expand her business into a brick and mortar some day, where she could host ice cream socials and invite mental health nonprofits and professionals to talk with her customers.