Retail Technology Show Review – Deliciously Ella founder discusses his social media journey — Retail Technology Innovation Hub
“Until the birth of my first daughter three years ago, I responded to every [social media] message,” she commented.
“When she was about six weeks old, I was still answering people in the middle of the night. I was up with the baby answering people who asked if they could swap peanuts for cashews in a recipe.
“And I was like, what am I doing? I think I kind of checked out what I can do as a person in a day by having kids and trying to balance that with building the business.
However, Mills said her brand’s authentic social media experience has been key to growing her community of customers and fans.
“We had countless opportunities to license the brand and sell this or that, and we could have made a lot of money very quickly doing that, but it felt like it robbed the brand of its authenticity. And that wouldn’t have allowed us to really strengthen the equity of the company in the long term. »
Mills added that companies need to think about how they can be “really helpful” to their customers who follow them daily on social media, as opposed to “just sort of taking that number of people and just trying to whip them around. . daytime.”
“It cannot simply be a platform to sell a product, which has absolutely no benefit for the consumer. Why would they want to be part of this community if it’s just ads all day? she declared.
The Deliciously Ella brand started as a recipe blog by Mills in 2012 while she was still in college.
In 2011, Mills was diagnosed with a condition called postural tachycardia syndrome, which meant she couldn’t properly control her heart rate and blood pressure, while also battling digestive issues, chronic fatigue and a series of infections.
She turned to managing the disease by changing her diet to a whole, plant-based diet, blogging about her journey and the recipes she was cooking on a website called Deliciously Ella.
Ten years later, the Deliciously Ella brand has grown into a best-selling cookbook collection, restaurant, app, podcast and plant-based food range in 7,000 stores across the UK.
The company is now launching into sites across Europe and is looking to expand into the United States.
Mills said there had been a “fundamental shift” over the past decade in the availability of plant-based foods and recipes, but that wasn’t the case when she started.
“The website grew very quickly because the resources [for plant based recipes] were simply not available at the time. In the first few years it had 130 million hits, the community grew very, very quickly. It was clear that we could capitalize on this growing need for healthy plant-based products. »
The company also started selling its food products directly to customers, after the start of the Covid-19 lockdown when it was forced to sell a huge amount of stock normally destined for retailers such as Costa and Starbucks.
“We said we would never go to the DTC [direct-to-consumer] but there was kind of an obvious opportunity there to leverage the ability that we have as a brand to have that audience.
“We created an online store within a week and managed to sell all the stock at a steep discount. But I think now it’s really exciting, because we have this opportunity to really look ahead.
Mills concluded, “We just launched in Austria last week, we’re launching in Germany in a few weeks, and our marketing manager just moved to the US to start building the business there. So it will be a great year. »