Business alumna blends entrepreneurship and creativity to build Motley Moo Creamery

by Matt Jardin  |   

Calesta Ayer
Motley Moo Creamery owner Calesta Ayer, B.B.A. Marketing and Management '09. (Photo by James Evans / University of 西瓜视频 Anchorage)

It鈥檚 a familiar scenario: You鈥檙e in line at an ice cream shop and can鈥檛 decide which flavor to get 鈥 they simply all look too good! But should you find yourself at Motley Moo Creamery in South Anchorage, owner and marketing and management alumna Calesta Ayer recommends trying Mamma Dat鈥 My Jam, a salted milk caramel flavor named after a cute saying from her son when he was a toddler.

Established in 2020, Motley Moo 鈥 similarly named after a member of Ayer鈥檚 family, her black Labrador Retriever mix Motley 鈥 is the realization of a dream she had at 14 years old. Working at Cold Stone Creamery for her first job, Ayer decided that one day she wanted to own an ice cream shop.

鈥淎fter some reflecting, I realized the most fun and creative job I ever had was at the ice cream shop,鈥 said Ayer. 鈥淎t that point I had just had my son, and along with my new role in life, I figured it was also a good time to transition into a new career.鈥

In addition to realizing a childhood dream, Motley Moo provides Ayer the freedom to combine her passion for creativity with her business education. A lifelong lover of the arts, she ultimately decided to pursue an education in business due to the subject鈥檚 applicability in any industry.

Even though higher education was not part of her life plan originally, Ayer graduated from UAA in 2009. Afterward, she worked in accounting, finance and marketing for various firms around Anchorage. While these roles gave her some room to use her creativity, she wanted the freedom to express it more fully, leading her to transition away from strictly business and open Motley Moo.

鈥淲hat my soul needs to be happy is to do art and to be creative,鈥 said Ayer. 鈥淥f course I'm still doing the business component, so I didn鈥檛 fully leave that behind. But creative expression is at the forefront of this career rather than in the background as I鈥檓 very hands on with creating everything we offer at Motley Moo.鈥

Ayer continues to remain rooted in business. In addition to her daily operations, she passes on what she learned at UAA while on the job and as a volunteer with Junior Achievement of 西瓜视频  at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton School. And while most kids may not consider finance or entrepreneurship to be riveting subjects, Ayer finds that ice cream is a great motivator.

In addition, Ayer gives back to the community through the establishment of the Motley Moo Milk Fund 鈥 1% of Motley Moo sales goes toward issuing grants and or in-kind donations for whole milk to the Children鈥檚 Lunch Box and various Catholic Social Services programs. To date, nearly 4,300 gallons of whole milk have been donated.

鈥淢otley Moo would not be here today if it wasn't for the community supporting my business,鈥 said Ayer. 鈥淢y hope is that as my business grows, I can continue to help those in need and make a bigger impact within the community through our philanthropic endeavors.鈥

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