Meet The Custodian of Culture & Chief Idea Officer at Fiasco


How do small companies achieve CULT BRAND status?

Meet James. He's The Custodian of Culture and Chief Idea Officer of one of the fastest-growing private companies in Canada - Fiasco Gelato. And on this Uncommon exclusive, the boys dig into the secrets that have helped make his company one of the fastest growing in North America.

Check it out!

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Announcer: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Bubble up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel: It's pronounced Boettcher?

Chad: Boettcher. Yeah. Boettcher.

Joel: Boettcher. 'Cause if I do it wrong, I could get Canadian death threats or something.

Chad: It doesn't matter, 'cause we do it all of the time.

Joel: Just say, "Sorry" after.

Chad: Yeah, and this is, it's an explicit podcast, so say whatever you want.

Joel: All right. We're recording, right? Yeah? Okay. Hey, what's up, guys? This is Cheese from the Chad and Cheese podcast, HR's most dangerous. You know us, you love us. What's up? From the, I don't know, what are we calling this? The Banff series of podcasts, I guess?

Chad: I think you call it the Branff series, but yeah, it's the Banff.

Joel: It looks like a Bramff.

Chad: It's Banff.

Joel: You know when a girl is a Lisa, but she looks more like a Susan? Anyway, yeah, this place looks more like a Bramff to me.

Chad: The gathering, dude.

Joel: But anyway, we are honored to welcome to the show James Boettcher. Did I say that correctly?

James: You got it.

Chad: Damn. You never get that shit right.

Joel: James, no one on our show will know who you are, so you're a virgin. You're virgin territory for everybody here.

James: I love it. I love it.

Joel: James is the "Custodian of Culture and Chief Idea Officer" at a fairly well renowned Gelato shop here in Canada. Not in the US yet, right?

James: Not yet, and not so much a shop ... We're in about 3,000 retailers across the country. You can pick it up and take it home with you. We've got one shop. It's our gelato factory and coffee bar. It's like Willy Wonka meets Google.

Joel: Not to put the pressure on you, but I've been promised that you're the best interview here at the show.

James: Oh, shoot, sorry to disappoint already.

Chad: Oh, [crosstalk 00:03:36] expectations.

Joel: You have a really interesting story of how you got started. You're a Calgary guy, born and bred. Bleed this city to the bone. Give our audience a little bit about you, how you got started, and then, we'll go into the business and your employees, and whatnot.

James: Yeah, sounds good. Yeah, born and raised here in Calgary, Alberta. A huge Flames fan, and we didn't have too much growing up, so-

Joel: That's a hockey team, by the way.

James: Yeah, Calgary Flames, for all the-

Joel: For some of those down [crosstalk 00:04:03] down south of the border.

James: Yeah, there you go.

Chad: Stupid Americans, I swear.

James: Yeah, so my whole life, I've sort of had this innate desire to sort of go get what I want. At a young age, we didn't have too much cash, so digging through dumpsters for coke cans to take back to the bottle depot or shoveling walks was the real deal.

Joel: I'm glad you didn't say food.

James: Yeah, no.

Joel: At least you have cans to recycle.

James: Yeah, yeah.

Joel: I was like, "Man, this is a real sad story."

James: Yeah. It's not so sad. It's just about doing whatever it takes, right?

Joel: It's about hustling. You're a hustler, from what I've [crosstalk 00:04:37], up to this point.

James: There you go. There we go. Yeah, so always doing something on the side. I started this little design company called Paperback Design when I was in my high school days to help make some money. I'd moved out when I was 15, and kind of needed to pay rent, and one of my clients was this company called Fiasco Gelato. Fast forward to 2008, 2009, and the owner of the company was busy doing other things, and said you love this company a little bit more than I do. Why don't you take it over? The problem was, was I had $1,800 in my bank account, and-