Who would have thought a 40-year old family recipe for a naturally gluten-free cookie would end up in 4,000 Walmart stores nationwide? Melissa Blue and Melissa Mehall, cofounders of Meli’s Monster Cookies, had that ambition from the outset. “Melissa and I are thrilled to have our cookies nationwide! Our initial dream was to make Meli’s available to everyone, and we are so excited to see that vision come to fruition,” said Blue. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, will stock three of the company’s delicious cookie mixes—Original, Choco-lot and Cashewlicious. These gutsy childhood friends started and grew the company with no previous food industry experience and no outside investment. I had the opportunity to chat with these charming Southern ladies about what their inspiration was to start a cookie company, how they balance motherhood and entrepreneurship and what advice they have for women who want to follow in their footsteps.
Caroline Castrillon: Starting from the beginning, of all the potential business ideas out there, why did you decide to start a cookie company?
Melissa Mehall: The cookie recipe is a 40-year old family recipe from Melissa’s mother-in-law. At the time, Melissa’s niece was suffering from a gluten allergy, and her mom was struggling to drive back and forth from Waco to Austin to buy gluten-free products for her daughter. That was the “aha” moment. We felt like it would be the marriage of a great recipe that’s been around forever with the ability to meet a need that hadn’t been fulfilled in the food industry for a great tasting naturally gluten-free cookie. Then Melissa called me and said, “I really want to do this, but I can’t do it alone, and I can’t think of anyone better to do this with.” So that’s really where it all started.
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