Rose Aldean and Sophie Lund, who have been friends since they attended Altrincham Grammar School for Girls together, will see their Mello drink stocked by 218 Waitrose stores – including the Broadheath one – and 19 Booths outlets. Other customers already include Ocado and Whole Foods Market in London.
The still two-person company is now forecasting sales of £750,000 over the next 12 months and is hoping to make Mello available across the UK.
Aldean, who is from Altrincham and half-Arabic, first came up with the idea when she realised that watermelon juice, a popular drink in the Middle East, was not available in the UK.
“I was young and didn’t have children, so it was the perfect time to do it,” she said. “We always used to make melon juice at home and I knew it would be popular, I just needed time to focus on it. It was a big risk but I put everything I had into it.”
About a year into product development she was joined by Hale-born Lund, her old schoolfriend, who left her own job at a marketing agency.
Together the pair, both 27, have developed two flavours – cold-pressed watermelon and cold-pressed Cantaloupe – importing the melons from Spain and Italy in the summer and South America in the winter, with a production facility in Holland.
Aldean says the watermelon juice is “refreshing, cleansing and a good source of Vitamin C”, while the Cantaloupe is high in vitamins A and C and good for skin and energy.
Below: The pair are forecasting sales of £750,000 this year
Both Waitrose and Booths were where they wanted to be: “Both were perfect in terms of the customer base,” said Aldean. “We contacted the buyers and they loved it – it didn’t just taste good but also had all the health benefits.
“It didn’t feel real at first when we found out – it’s amazing, not just because we’re a startup but also because we’ve based up North. When people in London hear you’re in Manchester they are quite surprised.”
So will they be joining the rest of the juice world in London? Not likely. “I think we’ll stick around Altrincham – it’s where our family are and we can’t imagine moving.
“London is OK for work but Altrincham will always be home.”
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