In the Bag
Forget the cover letter. To scoop at this iconic ice cream shop, job seekers tell their stories through a plain paper bag
by Avery Tanner
Photographs by Kathleen Pieratt
Styling by Holly Cowart
Amy’s Ice Creams is an Austin institution. Over the past 34 years, Amy’s has grown along with Austin itself, expanding from one shop on Guadalupe Street to 12 locations across the city. Ice cream scoopers juggle, toss, and serve up classic and unique flavors, but the scoopers themselves are probably the most unique part about Amy’s. And that’s no accident. The application process for a job at Amy’s is simple — take a plain paper bag and make it into something original. There are no limits. Take a bag and let your mind run wild. Founder Amy Simmons (yes, Amy is a real person) says, “We don’t look for the most creative. Instead, we look for bags that tell a story.”
The tradition began when Simmons ran out of applications and handed an applicant a white paper bag for her to write down her number so Simmons could call back to schedule an interview. Instead, the applicant took the bag and returned to the shop three days later, having turned the bag into a something that looked like a hot air balloon. The bag was the basket, filled with items that showcased the applicant’s personality.
Amy’s scoopers make the institution what it is, and the bags are meant to tell Simmons a bit about who they are. One of her favorite bags is a replica of a vintage photo booth like the ones located in their stores; she even displays it in her office.
So the next time you pop into Amy’s for a sundae, don’t forget to ask your scooper what they made with their paper bag. There’s no predicting their answer.