Nov 21, 2023

Episode 120

Maryellis Bunn

maryellis bunn museum of ice cream founder ceo


Born in Laguna Beach, California, Maryellis Bunn, cofounder of the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC), was influenced by her artist mother, who shaped her creative mindset. Bunn, who has been dubbed the Millennial Walt Disney, launched the original MOIC concept as a pop-up in New York in 2016, and has since transformed it into brick-and-mortar experiential spaces that invite people to slide into a pool made of biodegradable sprinkles or enjoy a cocktail at the pretty-in-pink bar. With standalone museums in New York, Chicago, Austin, and Singapore, Bunn continues to evolve the brand’s mission to create spaces that inspire imagination and unite people around something “as simple and beautiful as ice cream,” she says.


Stacy Shoemaker Rauen: Hi, I am here with Maryellis Bunn. Thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?

Maryellis Bunn: I’m epic. How are you?

SSR: Good, thanks. Totally stealing that response. We always start at the beginning, so where did you grow up?

MB: I grew up in Laguna Beach, a small beach town in Southern California, riddled with a lot of history in the arts and like an enclave and bubble, quite isolated from the world. Looking back, it’s really served as a canvas to imagine and really to create what other worlds can exist outside the confines of the places in which you grew up.

SSR: Yeah. What were you like as a kid?

MB: I have a belief system that every individual steps into this world with a magnitude of creativity and curiosity. And one of the problems I see and wake up every day looking to solve is how do we enable individuals and humans to grow up with fortitude in the world, to continue to be as creative and as curious as they were as a child, and I look at this statistic a lot. As a kid, we ask about 300 to 3,000 questions a day. Why is the sky blue? Why can’t I always eat ice cream? And as adults, we’ve created a society in which we’ve come acceptance of what is and are no longer asking all the questions. Why are these things as they are? And there’s a direct correlation between one’s curiosity and their creativity. And I think if we can start to solve those things, the world can be a far more fruitful place.

Museum of Ice Cream New York

The lobby of the Museum of Ice Cream in New York; photo courtesy of MOIC

SSR: I love that. Were your parents helpful in fostering this for you? What were they like? Were they influential on you?

MB: In the early days, my mom was a single mom and she was able to send me to this school that I look back with such fondness. It was run in a way that creativity and the ability for kids to be and create was at the forefront. Each year, we learned from a teacher from a different place around the world, really embedding ourself in cultures each time with a foray into a different piece of art or into cooking, et cetera. My mom’s also an artist. She makes jewelry out of recycled instruments, so I think I get a lot of that knack from her.

SSR: That’s very cool. That must’ve been fun to watch. Did you tinker with her things?

MB: Not only did I tinker with her things, she would also come into my school in the early days when she was a teacher. There was a really beautiful integration of the family into the education system. She used to come in and teach classes on how to make dolls or do guitar classes.

SSR: That’s awesome. What’d you end up going to school for? Did you go to school or what was your career path?

MB: I left Laguna where I grew up when I was 16 and I had this idea that if I could leave my small town and get to New York City, there would be a world that would be open for me. And it wasn’t really in pursuit of an education per se, but this dream that so many, I think, people have around what I believe is one of the best cities in the world in New York. And I got there originally to study business and then looked at myself and examined my heart a little bit, and I was like, I want to create. So I ended up studying both design and business and really this interesting toggle between how does our right and left brain continue to support one another? And I think one of the most beautiful outcomes of that is there’s so many creative individuals that don’t know they can create and don’t have the supporting factors to then allow their creations to be a way of living. And so learning those two factors has really served myself and our business to this day.

SSR: How did you end up creating the Museum of Ice Cream? Were there a lot of starts and stops before that or where did that come along in your path?

MB: When we set out to build Museum of Ice Cream, there was no intention for this to be business. My business partner and I had a clear problem in front of us. We were in New York City and we’re like, “What can we go and do this afternoon? What can fill our hearts? What’s something that we can enjoy that was outside of going to our local watering hole or going and sitting at another restaurant?” And I am a lifelong, I think actually many lives, just an aficionado of ice cream. And we were walking around the city one day and all the local ice cream shops had lines and lines out their door. And I was like, “There’s something here. It’s not just the act of having ice cream, but it’s the conversations that are happening outside the scoop shops.” It’s the connection that ice cream was able to bring and is able to bring to individuals.

And so we put together our savings, which was very little at the time, and we said, “Let’s just build a pop-up. Let’s have it up for 30 days and let it be a passion project.” We built it in 18, one, eight days. It was probably the most beautiful, intense, not a moment of sleep. And when we put it online, I remember there was one night we’re in the middle of production, I was painting walls. I hadn’t changed my clothes, probably haven’t eaten the entire time, and I was like, “I need to go home and shower for at least 30 minutes.” It was probably 4 a.m., and I hailed a New York City cab and I get in the cab and I’m delusional. And all of a sudden Taxi TV comes on and it says, “Museum of Ice Cream is coming to New York City.” And I was like, “There’s no way this is real.”

And from there we built our pop-up. We had hundreds of thousands of people on our wait list from a website that I had built in the back of house during production. And it’s been a journey ever since, continuing on that same mission, how do we build spaces that can inspire imagination and unite individuals together by something that’s really so simple and so beautiful, which is ice cream. And as we think about our parent company, Figure8, which is what’s overseeing all of our projects right now, it really serves that same mission. There’s such a need today for individuals to come together, particularly in the times that we’re seeing right now, just have a respite, whether it’s 45 minutes or two hours to step back from the day to day and experience joy and the visceral feelings we have as a child.

SSR: And so you see all these ice cream shops, how did you go from seeing what was happening outside to creating this pop-up. And what did the first pop-up, have to give people an idea that have never been to the Museum of Ice Cream?

MB: Our first pop-up was super small. It was maybe less than 3,000 square feet. And the story that we were telling is how do we go? We called it the Cone Up. It was like, how do we deconstruct an ice cream cone and had that story, the experience that people go through, and how do we hit on both the nostalgia, so things of ice cream past, the ice cream truck song, and then how do we get adults was really our mission to play like a kid again. When I was a child, there was a lot of need to escape. I was trying to think about how I could get out of the construct of what my house was looking like or more feeling like and escape some of the troubles and hardships that were happening there.

And like every kid, I dreamt of worlds and one of the worlds that I dreamt of had this backyard swing. And it was this old two-seater rusty swing that had this huge crank every time you would pump your legs. And I would dream that when I would swing, the swing would break off of its structure and I’d be able to fly into this new world. And this new world was full of all my favorite sweet treats.` And I would land in an ocean that was filled with ice cream and candy. And I was like, “Well, why doesn’t that world actually exist?”

And so that was the precipice of our Sprinkle Pool, which we built in our first pop-up. And we’ve continued to evolve over the years. And so individuals that came through our first experience were able to try a variety of ice cream from both local and foreign vendors and experience what it’s like to play again. And I think it sounds so simple, but it’s something that we don’t do as much that is needed, particularly today and as adults.

SSR: Did you ever think you’d go from this pop-up to what, you have four brick-and-mortars now?

MB: And we have so many we’re building at the moment. Absolutely not. There’s the moments that I wake up, I just came off of the road this week, I was on construction sites for all of our new projects. And to think that we’ve seen millions of visitors through our doors still feels unfathomable. And that the problem that we were trying to solve around imagination and connection is even more needed today than it was when we started. And when I think about the evolution, when we started this, the concept of experiential didn’t exist. So we were the first in creating a new vertical, which was exhilarating, but also it was such an incredible puzzle to solve because there was zero playbooks. How do you operate this? How do you build this? What does it look like? How did it function? And we built everything from scratch. And to this day continuing to evolve and create best in practices to really allow this type of new business, which didn’t exist before, to run and flourish in the world.

SSR: The first one was in, the pop-up, was in 2016, right?

MB: Yeah.

SSR: So why do you think then, and especially now, it resonates so much with the people that are coming through?

MB: When I look at the post-pandemic environment, pre-pandemic when we would go out, I don’t know, do you drink coffee or tea or what’s your morning beverage?

SSR: Mine is coffee.

MB: Amazing. Okay, so when you go to the coffee shop. We’d go to the coffee shop and we buy our coffee and our latte and it costs X amount, three, $5. And the value of that coffee was the coffee. And subconsciously what the pandemic did is it allowed us as humans to understand it’s not just the $3 coffee, it’s the experience of walking into a coffee shop, of having a barista be there, of sitting in whatever the architectural gestures of that space are. And so, the value or the commoditization of experience has become far more potent in a post-pandemic world. And also what we’re seeing, we’re seeing more traffic than ever in our, I’m calling it the post-pandemic world, and it really is. Humans desire to be with other humans. And I think also this just desire to live. So much of what we talk about, particularly within my creative teams, is what can we create either from an architectural or from a design perspective that gets people out of their world and so much of the monotony. I think about it today. We’re both sitting, or you’re in your home office. It’s like what is compelling enough to get us off of our devices? Particularly for the younger individuals I think a lot about Gen Zs. What’s going to get us off of our devices and back out into the real world? And that’s what we’re working towards every day.

museum of ice cream sprinkle pool chicago

The sprinkle pool at the Museum of Ice Cream in Chicago; photo courtesy of MOIC

SSR: New York was your flagship, right? That was brick-and-mortar? The first one that you opened?

MB: New York was our first pop-up. And then we became quite synonymous with this pop-up concept. What few people know is in the backend I had never built a brick-and-mortar location. I hadn’t built anything. And so, the idea was how do we iterate quickly and learn? And so we built pop-ups as a way to stand up concepts and ideas, both from a design perspective, but really to understand operations, throughput capacities, and built various different models in different cities around the world to really test and try what is going to work and not. And when I think about the opportunity and the physical space, we talk about it within the IRL world, so much of it and why we see so little innovation is you have these gigantic 10-year leases with extreme amount of capital needs, and you kind of have one shot. You send it in, you submit your DD plan, you submit your CD plans, and then that’s it. And I said, “For us as creatives, we need to be able to learn and adapt.” And so we use pop-ups as a methodology rather than a business model for us to be able to perfect our craft. And I think one of the things that’s so beautiful about our concept, too, is as we continue to stand up new units across the globe is every day as we’re learning from what we’ve done in the past, reiterating and improving in our future concepts.

SSR: In terms of the experience for what you all do is it’s a journey, right? Everyone kind of goes through the journey. They can stop and hang out longer, but it’s a lot of moving people, right? So you have to be really careful of how you space plan. It’s probably more of a science than other type of museums out there and experiences out there.

MB: It’s a 100% a science. And I think the fun part, which is also the complex piece, is that a room size, whether it’s you’re truncating or expanding by a 100 or a 1000 square feet, is going to deeply impact the visceral experience of that individual. Whether it’s too crowded or it feels too empty, or their interactivity, which is so important to us between what we call their GESs, our guest experience specialist and our visitors is the most important. And so, we’re constantly thinking about how do we design spaces for the optimal amount of human connection? And when you think about our traditional hospitality space, think about a restaurant. They’re designing for the optimal amount of seating, and the optimum of capacity to turn over tables, et cetera. And so this way of designing, particularly in a highly dense commercial city spaces, really hasn’t been done before.

SSR: Yeah, totally. When did you decide you’ve mastered the pop-up and it was time to build your first standalone museum?

MB: We stood up five pop-ups and then we decided, all right, I think we got this. Let’s go for it. And we stood up our first flagship on Broadway in New York City in December, right before the pandemic hit.

SSR: Perfect timing. Who knew?

MB: Perfect timing.

SSR: Yes. Well, at least maybe you got the holiday rush that allowed you to survive a little bit more, but what was it like to open that and then get shut down?

MB: As a founder, going through the pandemic felt like I was given a opportunity to receive a Ph.D every five minutes. There was the most intense and difficult necessity to learn, adapt, and change that I think would’ve taken me 10 or 15 years in my career to get under my belt. And any entertainment, hospitality, brick-and-mortar piece, our entire industry was shut down and all of our doors needed to close. And it gave us time to both evaluate at the same time the interesting part about our businesses or operators so we’re thinking day in and day out how do we operate? But we’re really building a lot so all of our projects are three, five years, some even longer down the pipe. And we were building projects over the world at the time as well. And so making those decisions in a time where no one knew what the future was going to hold, where do we do there? And I just sat. There was moments where I’d sit in bed really just devastated. Our doors had to close, and I said, “You know what? I don’t know what’s going to happen on the other side of this, but if the world does come back online, I can guarantee that our original hypothesis and why we do what we do is going to be more needed than ever.” And that proven to be true.

SSR: Yeah. Was it hard though, because a lot of what your spaces are all about is that connection, that touching, your sprinkle pool, people jumping in, right? They’re not real sprinkles, but still there’s a touching, closeness, experiential part of it. Was that hard at first? Was it a slow kind of comeback online or was it immediate? I’m just curious, were people like, “Yes, I want to try this,” or did you have to convince them it was okay? Does that make sense?

MB:  Like all other business, there was a need for education. We had already spent within our design process because we see so many thousands of people sometimes a day in our locations that things like sanitization, et cetera, were already part of our design process and how we were producing, whether it’s through material choices, antimicrobial, et cetera, but the need for humans to be able to feel comfortable with something that all, I think, that every business that was in a physical location had to adapt to. And then once that level of comfort was adopted, you saw there was this expression and desire for life and to be with other human that I don’t think we’ve actually seen in our doors before until after the pandemic.

SSR: Got it. And so, you’re building others already or in process. At when did you decide, okay, we have something here. Let’s move on to other cities. The other locations are in Chicago and Austin and then Singapore, which I love. But how did you choose these locations and when did you decide one is great, but more, let’s continue this journey?

MB: During the pandemic we were already in build phase, kind of at the inflection point of the growth stick of our hockey. And we knew from all of the data that we’ve collected from our pop-ups that what we were creating the world needed, and so whatever cost we were going to continue to build these things. We also just built a pop-up in Shanghai recently after the pandemic and so Singapore was a strategic decision as a stepping stone into the Asian market. And then we’re looking at, the same way we tested before with our pop-ups, thinking about different size models, flagship, medium size, small size, which is why we tested in Austin and then Chicago making sense as another flagship city in America. Just in the last month or two, we announced that Miami is coming online shortly as well as Boston. I’ve been spending this week on sites and new locations across the world as well.

And when I think about when individuals wake up in the morning or when kids wake up and I think about what are we going to do with our day? And there’s so much opportunity for us as creators and designers and architects to think about the space between when someone goes to school and goes to bed or goes from their office and goes to their home, and what are we able to build that sits in one’s heart and memories as a designer that can, again back to what I mentioned earlier, get people out of their homes. I think a lot about getting them off their devices and experience something that they haven’t experienced before. And in my dream world, when I think about the landscape of what cities will look like in the future, there’ll be so much affordances for people to do, for people to create rather than these more passive offerings we’re currently seeing in the commercial landscape.

the museum of ice cream new york bar

The full-service bar at the Museum of Ice Cream in New York; photo courtesy of MOIC

SSR: And how do you all come up with these ideas? For those that haven’t been there, there’s that you can slide into the sprinkle pool, you can walk through bananas hanging. One of my favorites is bouncing in a padded room. There’s just little surprises as you continue to walk through the space and then you infuse them with ice cream and different tastings and ways. How do you come up with these ideas and how are you evolving those experiences so people who come back see something new and fresh, if that’s of concern?

MB: We have one of the most incredible, experienced design teams in the entire world. And when we start a project, we look at the visitor’s story. We look at it, we actually call it’s the Emotional Map. What’s the emotional journey that we want to give an individual? And once that’s created that is able to inform the spatial layout, which is able to inform the actual experience that’s created. And we’re at a point in our business, which is the technical not the fun stuff, but we build at a model that’s about 70/30. So, we keep 70% and then we give 30% of the space to our design team to imagine and create.

And what’s so beautiful about the mission of our business and the affordances that we have for our designers is they think about their own worlds. How does a world that they can create within the construct of the emotional journey that I spoke to about a moment ago, what do they want to create? And one of the things that’s been such a gift as we have a bunch of designers that come from, whether it’s Disney or Universal or from deep interior practices and so much of their work, they’ll spend years, some of them maybe in a decade on a project and never see it come to fruition. And with our business we’re building so often and in a relatively quick timeframe, so they’re able to go from an idea and their imagination in their heart and see it in real life in a relatively short time span. And so much of it is, like we think about a lot of questions, first and foremost, it’s not what are we designing in a room? We never start with palette materiality. It’s like, what is the experience? Pause. Great. What are the supporting factors that we can use across all senses to enhance and deliver that experience to our guests in the best way possible?

SSR: Right. Is there one experience that you have loved the most that they’ve designed? I know it’s hard to pick your favorite baby.

MB: It’s so funny because we’re like out of all the projects that we’re designing right now we’re three or five years out. And so I’m very embedded in those projects. And I think it’s so beautiful to see the evolution and really learning about our designer’s own experience around ice cream and how something that’s so important or perhaps nostalgic for them can serve as the seed of a really beautiful creation of experience. I think also too, sometimes we’re really throwing some wrenches and designing differently, like starting with food. We work with some really incredible food purveyors, creators. And let’s start with the taste and then let’s completely create an experience around that one piece. And there’s very few times I believe that we have the affordance as creatives to do that. And I think the more and more we can switch up what is the seed of inspiration that informs the rest of the design, the better the output.

SSR: Wow. And I love that you’re colorful and bright. You were pink before Barbie. And you lean into the color and the play. I feel that has created a brand for you that has resonated with people . Do you feel like that the color has been so important to have an underlying, not theme, but have an underlining feel that you are that joyfulness, you are that joyful when you come in?

MB: In 2016, when I was doing color study, I was sitting in a paint shop on the floor being like, “All right, it’s time to decide this logo on all walls because I’ve to got to go paint them in two minutes.” And I went back through my Rolodex in my brain, I said, “Let’s look at some color studies.” And the pink in which we chose come from actually a prison study called Baker Miller, and they put this pink up inside of prison walls. And they were able to see that the joy and happiness of the individuals in those rooms versus walls that were painted in other colors are not painted at all, was much higher. And I said, “What can we do to continue to expand upon our desire to bring joy? And we do.

The pink, for example, we own the trademark of that in the same way that Tiffany owns its blue, and it’s become really synonymous with our brand. And something that’s been so beautiful as we continue to grow and expand is we’re so focused on the experience. But because we were also the first in this industry to create it, our brand has continued to not only grow, but maintain its strength because we’ve been so clear and myself as co-CEO and the creative director in really holding the importance as well as the boundaries. My team knows that we’re quite particular. Everything needs to stay within our brand framework. And that’s really served to allow us to, you know, you walk down the street and you know it’s us. And, for me, that’s quite important.

SSR: Yeah, no. You said you’re one of the first to start this. Who do you see, as I feel like more experiential spaces have popped up in the last call it three or four years, who do you see as your competitor? What do you see in the landscape that you’re watching? I mean, it has to be kind of exciting too for you because then it’s creating a bigger kind of marketplace of these spaces that really do offer something different than what’s been out there before.

MB: Watching the experiential industry or location-based entertainment industry in the vertical that we created become what it is today and know what’s coming in the future has been such a gift. If we could have more and more of these spaces be created, I think the world will be far better served for it. And when I think about our own competition, it actually doesn’t lie within other entertainment businesses or other physical brick-and-mortars. I think about things like Netflix or TikTok, and it’s how do we take the market share or really the timeshare in which individuals are being entertained or I think that there’s a lot of other words we could put in that place by these platforms. And how do we get them in physical spaces interacting with other individuals? And really the end up goal is like how do we create sustainable memories that people will hold with themselves, whether it’s for a couple of weeks, couple of months, or for the rest of their lives?

SSR: I think it’s interesting too just how much it’s spreading everywhere that people are realizing there’s so much more you can do to create these human connections. A lot of yours is more analog, which I love. It’s so simple, but so beautiful at the same time and how you let that kind of more child’s play happen without so much tech, which I think it isn’t easy to do and you all do it well. So is that something, too, that you’re looking at as you evolve, as you create more technology interaction? 

MB: Creating a tactile lo-fi experience was part of our strategy. There is so many affordances for us to be digitally connected and some of our friends and people that we love. Like Team Labs out of Japan, they really look at the constant evolution of technology. And when I think about these experiences and as we’re building out these spaces that are going to be here for 10 years, et cetera, it’s like the same thing as your kitchen appliances. It’s the first thing to start dating yourself or the television. And so we think how do we build timeless installations that don’t need the affordances or don’t need to be constantly updated by technology, but also with a really clear approach because It’s like we’re trying to get people in a new world. And I think if we’re constantly pulling them back to technologically enabled experiences, it doesn’t afford what we’re trying to do as well. That doesn’t mean we’re not using technology in very creative ways throughout either a design and build process or as backend supporting metrics or systems for our operations.

the sprinkle pool museum of ice cream new york

Photographer Maria Svarbova’s campaign for the Museum of Ice Cream in New York; photo by Maria Svarbova

SSR: Right. And how much are you using guest feedback? I’m always curious. How much do you listen to the guests or is it more watching and interacting in the space or both?

MB: The best designers in the world are only as good as the customers or the guests that they’re speaking to. And in the early days, I used to sit every single night and just watch the cameras. And I would watch the cameras just to understand how did that door at three feet wide versus the other door at four and a half feet wide affect flow? Where were individuals stopping and dwelling and spending the most time? Where did I see the most amount of human engagement? You can kind of see when people come together at a more fast cadence. It’s like there’s this sense of excitement. What created that? And so watching was quite important to just see how the floor plan that we designed in schematics really affected the human flow. And then I spent so much time just listening. When I’m at a location, I tend to sit outside at a coffee shop that’s nearby or in the subway when I’m in New York that is off of Broadway and see individuals that have our shopping bags or they’re already wearing a sweatshirt from one of our locations, and I just listen. And so much of that feedback that we’re getting of that experience, you learn so much. And it’s also what keeps us going.

Early on, we were building our second pop-up in LA and there’s this pizza shop across the street there. And I was sitting out there and I was having a slice of pizza, probably designing the next pop-up. And there was this mom who was sitting there and she was in tears. I didn’t know it if she was in the museum or not. And I just walked up and I was like, “Are you okay? Is there anything I can get you?” And she’s like, yeah, “I’m okay. I just spent the last hour and a half with my family at this place across the street called Museum of Ice Cream and I’m really sick.” And she said, “It was the first time since my diagnosis that I haven’t thought about my cancer and I was able to just be with my kids.” And it’s in those moments and in those pieces of feedback that allows me today and back then to keep going and to realize the need to just be able to give people an opportunity to experience something outside of all of the constructs, all of the difficulties that may be presenting to them in their day-to-Day lives.

SSR: That’s so beautiful. And you’ve gone from a pop-up to four brick-and-mortars, a pop-up, more on the way, a massive company that’s growing. And you said you never built anything before, and you started this fairly young in your career. What have you learned about running a company and managing a team, and especially in such a creative space?

MB: It’s been such a gift to hire some of the most incredible individuals in the world across various sectors. And one of the metrics that I’m using today is individuals who are bringing on, particularly in our leadership team, aren’t teaching me something on a daily basis I’ve probably made the wrong decision in my hiring process. And with building a new vertical or a new industry, if you will, you have to find individuals that have the tenacity to create something new and then implement it. And in terms of creating with a creative team, one of the things that I’m thinking about a lot right now is we’re currently set up as a remote workforce, is how do you bring that those moments of spark when you’re sitting on your desk and you have that idea and you bring it over to your coworker, whether they sit in the graphics department or whether they sit in the production department. And how do we continue to create those experiences for our team members? And I think that that’s going to be a big part of the challenge in addition to that as well as all the new tools that continue to come online to support any creative project, particularly around AI. And I think that’s what I’m working on a lot with my team right now is there’s so much more time we have now to create because there’s so many tools that allow some of the more rudimentary tasks to be done for us. And my hope, and actually really the new standard is that we’re spending so much more time in the imagination space that we can continue to build the best in class experiences for the world.

SSR: And your brand has done so well that you’ve also expanded. Don’t you have your own ice cream, you’ve done some apparel. Do you see other kind of tentacles of the brand being able to be launched and to move beyond your, what do you call it, your goods that you can shop at the museum are amazing? Do you see expanding those avenues as well?

MB: We’ll always be an experience first business. And so we get approached by brands all the time. We’ve worked with Sephora. We’ve always done Target. And I look at it and the things that I ask myself before we make some of these decisions is, “Can we deliver from our mission of uniting, inspiring through imagination and connection, and can we reach a new audience?” And it’s super important to me when I decided to work with Target and when I decided to work with Sephora, it’s how do we create our brand and make it be accessible to individuals that maybe can’t get inside of our doors? And building such a strong brand has allowed us to continue to expand. And yes, we’re looking at partnerships across the globe. I only maybe sell ice cream 12 to 15,000 stores in Japan that we do have the partnership. And it’s continuing to nourish, water and feed the brand that allows it to be able to be expressed in various different mediums and forums. And then also thinking about, we haven’t announced them yet, but coming up in Q1 of next year, we’re starting to build new experiences out of our parent company and continuing to use what we’ve learned over the years in terms of building experiences and designing interactions that I hope we we’ll see can really reimagine what our humans do. What do we do after work and how do we continue to solve those problems?

SSR: That must be fun to start to dabble in others as well. And you’ve been called, wait, let me look this up so I don’t mess it up, but you’ve been called the Millennial Walt Disney. How does a moniker like that feel for you? Or what does that mean for you?

MB: Well, it was one of the greatest creators of our lifetime. He had such a vision to create a world in which no one had experienced at the time. And so it’s massive shoes. It’s quite humbling to be called that. And I think more importantly, it’s a call for other creators. How do we build the next frontier? And something that I think about as Disney as always being an inspiration is that the average family goes to Disneyland and is spending $800 to $1,200 a day. And that’s not something that’s accessible, and it’s exhausting. It’s like 45 minutes from the parking lot, to the rail, to the entry line. And I’m like, how do we build those type of experiences that we can walk into with the same ease as going to your local coffee shop or walking into a grocery store? And how do our cities and our towns start to build as a place for humans to really gather that aren’t on the traditional means and sectors, whether there are churches or more organized practices, but just how do humans come together and be humans?

SSR: Yeah, exactly. And how do you continue to foster that, right, whereas you said, it means more today than it has in a long time. To end the conversation, not that I want to end it, but we always end with the question that is the podcast. What has been your greatest lesson or lessons learned along this journey?

MB: The opportunity of creation and the barrier between that is just ourselves. And if we can dream of a world and continuing to allow our imagination to be at the greatest vastness as possible and then fight the constructs between it, we truly can make anything possible. We’re launching a new adult play experience. Adult play, not in a bedroom sense, but really thinking about what we have created too and how do we get people out in a sporting capacity engaging. We’re launching our first version in Q1 in Texas, and I think you’ll be seeing a lot more concepts from us coming quite soon.

SSR: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for taking this time. It was so great to speak with you and hear your journey. Can’t wait to see all these new ideas, so thank you so much.