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Name: Melissa Pepers

Business: Bonbo 

Location: Melbourne, Australia

Industry: Food & Beverage 

Reason for starting? I identified an unmet need in the food sector that I had the experience to fill, then spent six months honing and refining the idea, created a successful case study, quit my good job to give it all I have, and finally I started in January of this year.

Related: Read about another Food & Beverage entrepreneur here.

How do you define success? That a win for my business is also a win for my client, allowing us to grow together. Business growth is very important as I am only a month in, so I am hoping that all my efforts do pay off. I have a medium-term vision to have a team of people working for me and a long-term vision to make the hospitality industry a place where many entrepreneurs can go to start a new enterprise, knowing they are supported in tangible and achievable ways to create unique businesses.

Biggest success: I was responsible for bringing a food trend known as the “freakshake” to Melbourne first. Through my unique service, I was able to give my client, a small café owner who was making around $2000 a week, a line out the door, 2 years and counting of solid growth, over 1000% increase in weekly turnover and over 29,000 genuine follows across his social media. A very, very big result for hospitality. He is now selling his business with an asking price of over $400,000 from what he purchased it for.

Related: Rebecca Thomley: Volunteers & Leaders

What is your top challenge and how you have addressed it? Being a unique business type with a high price point, it is always a challenge to grow that trust needed to work with me — particularly because many of my potential clients have been burned in the past by spending money with no results on those who claim they know what they’re doing with social media. I address this by showing my understanding of their unmet needs, which no one else in food marketing does (crazy but true!) and walk them through the details of the process as well as ensuring our relationship is a very close one, where I guide them through each step of the process. Hospitality business owners really value this intimate relationship, and they then understand and believe that a win for me only exists when there is a win for them, and they feel supported through the unknown part.

I suffer from an extremely rare illness called a glycogen storage disease, which my doctors don’t know much about. The health rollercoaster associated with the illness has been my biggest blessing and curse. It gifted me with clarity to see who and what in life is important, the motivation to give my everything and make this business work. It was also a factor in me wanting to go out on my own, to create a more flexible lifestyle as I work to improve my health outcomes in addition to my businesses growth.

Who is your most important role model? Elon Musk realized that to make it likely people will choose an environmentally friendly lifestyle, he had to make those choices our default. The Tesla business model is about merging what a consumer finds desirable so it is the same as what benefits the environment. By making cars sexy first and then seeking to make them affordable for as many people as possible second, he is transforming our default choice when going to buy a car, to one that will also benefit the earth. What do I learn from Elon? Find the thing that you really care about and believe in. This is your fundamental truth. Then, understand this truth as deeply as you can and nurture whatever natural talents you have. That’s why I live by this simple rule: you can’t discover something new by living the same way.

Instagram   @bonboau[/box_light]

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Edited by The Story Exchange