Event Innovators 2018: Maryellis Bunn & Manish Vora

This duo created the Instagram sensation known as the Museum of Ice Cream.

By Michele Laufik November 13, 2018, 4:16 AM EST

Photo: Griffin Lipson

Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora, founders, the Museum of Ice Cream

Basic Stats: Creative consultant and design strategist Maryellis Bunn, 26, and Manish Vora, 38, the former C.E.O. of digital-forward event space Lightbox, turned a pool full of sprinkles (along with other ice cream-inspired activations) into an experiential craze.

Why Ice Cream? “Subconsciously, I started dreaming of many of the ideas as a child,” Bunn says.

On Its Success: “We live in a day and age where meaningful human-to-human connection is rare. However, as people, we crave and long for human interaction; it's an innate quality we all share,” Bunn explains. “As the world becomes more digitally connected, the drive and hunger to connect as people, face to face, will not dissipate. I believe that creating meaningful experiences is not fleeting but a necessity. Museum of Ice Cream provides that for visitors.”

How It Came Together: “From the time I realized that I was crazy enough to put everything I had into the idea to when we opened our doors in New York it was only about 90 days. We started as a small team of five. Most of us had other jobs at the time. We worked 22-hour days, painted the walls, cleaned the floors, helped tile the pool, you name it. We are now nearly 200 employees strong,” Bunn says. Since its inception in 2016, iterations of the museum have popped up in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami, in addition to New York.

Biggest Lesson Learned: “When we had a free opening day for the public in New York with no ticket cap,” Bunn says, “we ended up having thousands in line for over five blocks waiting to get in—which was the biggest surprise—without being able to accommodate everyone. I’ve learned to always be prepared for the unexpected.”

Follow MOIC on Instagram at @museumoficecream

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