Q&A: The young entrepreneur spicing things up in the kitchen

This week we chat to Jordyn Evans, a young entrepreneur determined to make sure we reinstate the magic of home cooking back into our families’ lives. Jordyn is the Melbourne-based founder of Mingle Seasoning who has invested her life savings in building a business on that brings ingredient transparency to the spice aisle in supermarkets.

ISB: What was the inspiration behind the founding of Mingle?

JE: I wanted to shake things up in the spice aisle, to challenge mass-market brands and offer customers a tasty, healthy and convenient option without the nasties. Mingle’s products have always been more than the spices, they are solutions for dinner creations to get Australians confident to cook healthy, fuss-free meals.

We want to bring health, convenience, fun and confidence to a category that has lacked disruption for a long time. We’re out to not only disrupt a category but reframe the dinnertime conversation. Rather than seeing “making dinner” as a chore, we want Australians to see the forgotten value in it; an opportunity to create and connect.

ISB: What were the biggest challenges in getting the enterprise off the ground?

JE: Disrupting a category and really shaking things up requires relentless effort. Mingle really is the underdog and competing against multinational companies that have million-dollar marketing budgets at times can be intimidating and challenging! I’ve sold my car, moved back home with my parents and really put all poker chips in to make this work.

Bootstrapping the business definitely has had its challenges and we always think the answer to all our problems is more money, but on the flip slide, the constraint has pushed me to be more creative, savvier with a buck and create an authentic community that has incredible brand advocates, rather than just consumers. I really owe a lot of Mingle’s success to my customers sharing the message with me and that’s honestly what keeps me going. Emails like “Because of your product, my hubby now cooks once a week” or “Because of your product my kids now eat vegetables” are why I do what I do and make all the challenges worth it!

ISB: Why do you think it’s so important for people to rediscover the joys of home cooking?

JE: I was one of those “busy” workaholic millennials who was falling into the “scroll and order” trap. It was only until

I realised I couldn’t afford this lifestyle, I was disconnected more than ever with my family and I didn’t actually know what was in my food, that I decided it was time to get back to the kitchen. Mingle’s mission to rediscover the joys of home cooking was originally ignited by my personal realisations. I discovered I wasn’t the only one and Millennials are spending a third of their food expenditure on takeaway. We want to bring awareness to that forgotten value of cooking; it’s an opportunity to create together, nourish one another and connect with our friends and family.

ISB: In such a competitive industry, what makes Mingle stand out from other seasonings in the market?

JE: Firstly our product contains no nasties. This was the original reason I created Mingle, to provide an option that did tasty the right way. Secondly, the brand we have created is flavoursome, fun, relatable and gets people excited to cook. Despite this category being all about flavour, as a consumer, I found this aisle rather bland and saw an opportunity to note just sell a commodity, but really stand for something more. We really have gotten people excited to cook again and this shows through the content we create, our packaging, our social media and the user-generated content our customers post.

ISB: How do you see the business developing in the next couple of years?

JE: We’re committed to shaking things up more in the pantry aisles of Australian retailers and offering customers healthy, tasty solutions that give them confidence. We’re also out to reframe the dinnertime conversation and facilitate more events and workshops to bring this message to workplaces and schools.

ISB: And, finally, what is the number one piece of advice you’d give to those looking to turn their passion into a viable business?

JE: I think entrepreneurship can be a little fantasised at times. While a dash of naivety and ignorance is good, you also need to ask yourself, “Why wouldn’t this work?” Setting yourself up to think of the worst allows you to see things before they happen and also know what you could possibly be in for once the honeymoon phase wears off. It’s the most rewarding thing you will ever do, but also the most difficult.

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