There’s No Business Like Snow Business

Shave It Owners Lisa Kudirka and Karen Bain

Shave It Owners Lisa Kudirka and Karen BainWith over 2 million served, Shave It is proving there’s no business like snow business.  Thousand Oaks-based entrepreneurs and philanthropists Lisa Kudirka and Karen Bain are having entirely too much fun selling Shave Its, and it shows.

Just consider their tagline: “If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance.” And that’s only one of their endearingly original marketing tools, used to engage the public and induct them into the “Shave It Nation”—a tribe of shave ice enthusiasts who borrow from snowboarding and surfing culture to promote community, fun, and giving. “Shave It is a lifestyle,” says Kudirka, summing up what lays at the core of their enterprise. “It’s about laughter and giving back. It’s about being happy that you are here.”

So what is a Shave It? Simply put, it’s snow. 100% natural and raw. You won’t find corn syrup on their list of ingredients.  Fresh snow is drizzled with their own proprietary syrups and can be topped with any number of vices.  All flavors also come in sugar free and all of them are of course, gluten free.

The first word that comes to mind upon entering the Shave It store in Thousand Oaks is “cool.” And we’re not just talking about the shave ice. The place is a super sleek bar/lounge inspired hangout with plasma screen televisions, booming music, a landscape of white and blue mosaic tiles, and a modern circular counter. The “Shave It” culture evokes all 5 senses and astonishingly appeals to every demographic. 

Behind the counter you’ll find a lineup of colorful syrups and, of course, a shave ice machine. Customers in-the-know recognize underground flavors like “Sponge Bob Snow Pants,” a concoction of pineapple syrup, vanilla ice cream, and a little orange décor on top. And then there are the Shave It-isms—a collection of quirky questions and phrases that the staff and customers create and place in a tip jar. “Why do they call them apartments when they are so close together?”

Kudirka, Bain, and their staff (mostly high schoolers) even started compiling a dictionary of terms pulled from the snowboarding and surfing world. One of their favorites, “Shave It,” for obvious reasons.  You won’t find that term in Merriam-Webster dictionary but you will find it here

But Shave It’s not just about fun; Kudirka and Bain also have an earnest desire to give back to their community. According to Kudirka, “I think it’s all driven by people. We try to relate to people in the community and let them know that we get them and appreciate them.” Driven by this desire, they’ve created key chains for firemen, nurses, and others who serve the community, offering them discounts on Shave It products. Why? “Because they shave lives.”

Kudirka and Bain’s dedication to giving back is most evident in their foundation, Foster A Miracle, which currently serves Casa Pacifica, a residential center in Camarillo that offers a wide range of assessment, crisis care, medical, and educational services for abused and neglected children in the foster care system. “Our goal with the foundation is to grant wishes to foster children,” explains Kudirka. One foster child, a 12-year-old boy with a passion for baseball, had never attended a professional game. Foster a Miracle granted his wish by giving him tickets to a Dodger’s game.

Shave It has made donations to over 100 different charitable events and organizations, including local schools, local sports teams, and Cardiac Kids, a volunteer group established in 2000 that raises funds for children suffering from congenital heart disease. Shave It has purchased an automobile for a mother of 3, undergoing chemotherapy, because she had no means of transportation to and from her treatment center. Shave It also successfully raised $6,000 in under 4 hours from local customers to help a local teacher pay for his medications. With 7 locations, Shave It is proving there is such a thing as “love at first ice”.

Lisa Kudirka and Karen Bain, Co-Founders of Shave It, a shave ice franchise in Southern California.

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