28yo Aussie’s stunning $1m Coles deal
When Jordyn Evans was just 25, she started a "side hustle" that would soon take on an entire supermarket category.
At the time, the Melbourne local was working as a marketing manager for a beverage company, but coming from a long line of small business owners, she always dreamt of launching her own company.
But it wasn't until she was cleaning out her pantry one afternoon when she realised many seasoning brands on the market contained "nasty ingredients" like sugar, salt and preservatives.
"I could see there were no brands talking to millenials and there weren't really any 'healthy' seasoning brands," she said.
The result was Mingle Seasoning, which was born in 2016.
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We’re EXCITED to announce that Mingle’s Curry in a Hurry & Spag Bol is now available in COLES all around AUSTRALIA! 🙌🏻🙌🏻 It’s been one flavoursome journey and we want to thank everyone for your warm support, and for mingling with us over the last few years. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our community and we’re incredibly grateful. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 Mingle will continue to shake things up in supermarket aisles around Australia. This is just the beginning! We ask for you to continue your support by sharing your tasty creations with us. So pop into your local Coles and get mingling! TAG someone below who would enjoy mingling with our Curry and Spag Bol spice blends. We can’t wait to see your creations! 🥘🍝
Just one year later, Ms Evans left her "cushy and well-paid" role to focus on the business full-time, moving home with her family, selling her car and pouring all her savings into the fledgling company.
"It was scary and I had to strip back the ego - I didn't have anyone to delegate to which was very humbling and also quite challenging initially because there was nowhere to hide - I was the accounts team, the logistics team - I was everything," she told news.com.au.
Originally her products were sold online and then in health food stores and independent grocery stores, but she also caught the attention of yoghurt juggernaut Chobani, which invited the company to be part of a six-month program designed to help promising start-ups get off the ground.
During that time, Chobani helped launch Mingle Seasoning into Coles Local stores, which are small-format "local neighbourhood supermarkets".
It was a hit, and earlier this month three Mingle products - Garlic and Herb, Spicy Mexican and All Purpose - landed in 850 Coles stores across the country.
It was stunning gamechanger of a deal that was worth around $1 million.
"I always had the dream and vision of being in supermarkets and I remember the day I walked down the spice aisle to see my products and that it had become a reality - it has certainly been a challenge, but it has also been rewarding as hell," Ms Evans, now aged 28, said.
There have been moments where I have doubted myself - I've wanted to give up, and money has been tight - but I'm so chuffed with the support network around me, my family and friend and especially my customers who get me through most days.
"It's so rewarding, but this thing is not just my win - so many people have helped me on this journey and it feels like a team effort. All the blood, sweat and tears has been worth it."
Ms Evans said the Coles deal gave her a new level of confidence, something she has at times struggled with as a young, female business owner.
"I suffered from impostor syndrome form day one, but this has reaffirmed that if you put your mind to something, you can do it," she said.
Another cause for celebration is the fact sales have soared over the past four months during the coronavirus pandemic, growing 359 per cent year on year.
Ms Evans said she was also proud to include "Nan's dinner table questions" on the back of Mingle bottles in a bid to keep people connected and prompt conversations between loved ones.
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Seasoning doesn’t have to be just seasoning. Cooking doesn’t have to be just cooking. Sitting around a dinner table doesn’t have to be just eating. They are opportunities to connect with the people you love. Swipe left to read a little more of why Mingle’s Founder Jords added a little bit of her Nan to every seasoning bottle that recently launched into @colessupermarkets. #minglenonasties #minglewithpurpose
The idea was inspired by a special dinner with Ms Evans' own grandmother following an intense period of burnout and stress.
During the night, she and her sister vowed to put their phones away, be present and ask their grandmother questions "as if she was a stranger", and the experience was so moving they wanted to help fellow Aussies recreate it in their own homes.
Ms Evans said the company's next goals were to expand into other supermarket categories and to build up the brand's new "Gather Round" corporate team building cooking workshops.
She said the "unprecedented" coronavirus pandemic had also posed a slew of challenges as the company expanded, and said her heart went out to other business owners doing it tough during the crisis.
Coles category manager Gillian Forde told news.com.au that since launching the Mingle range in stores, the supermarket giant had sold more than 12,000 units, with Garlic & Herb the biggest hit.
"We're proud to work with Aussie brands like Mingle Seasoning to expand our range of seasoning and offer customers more healthier, natural options to spice up their meals at home," she said.
"With the recent surge in home cooking as Aussies remain homebound, we are also seeing more customers buying herbs and spices than ever before with the category experiencing double digit growth compared to last year."
Originally published as 28yo Aussie's stunning $1m Coles deal