Funky Mello marshmallow cremes are incredibly light and rich and are unlike any marshmallow. Funky Mello uses natural, sustainably sourced ingredients so people can feel good about what they eat. Funky Mello has been in business for 5 years and is currently based in Austin, Texas. The company was co-founded by Delisa Harper who is the CEO of Funky Mello. She founded this feel-good marshmallow company with her husband, Zach. Delisa shares, “Funky Mello inspires feel-good moments through better-for-you food. We are a small black-owned and woman-owned business based in Austin, Texas.”
Funky Mello's identity distinguishes them from other brands. They are millennial, minority, vegan founders who have faced adversity before. Funky Mello is used to thinking outside the box and coming up with solutions that bridge the gap, which has helped them stand out from the crowd and truly connect with people.
Passion & Love For Food: The Delisa Harper Story
Delisa shares, “I started my career in the corporate marketing world working in the tech industry and earned my bachelor’s in marketing and Master's in Business Administration. After exploring several different industries, I didn’t particularly aspire to be an entrepreneur, but I had a passion for creating things, I just had to figure out what it would be. My husband and I met through a music festival 6 months into dating and it was obvious that we shared a love of good food. Our business was born through just wanting to do something fun together, and through lots of hard work and determination it transformed into what it is today. In a special way, I transformed with it and I’m continuing to learn so much about what it means to be a good leader.”
It was while she was in the corporate world, Delisa wanted to be a Marketing Director of Events, because that is what she specialized in, and was already on the path. Towards the end of her corporate career, she noticed that Funky Mello was quickly gaining more traction. When she left, she was ready to take on the largest role of her life as Funky Mello's CEO. Throughout her incredible journey running Funky Mello, her favorite milestones have been moving into their facility, hiring a team, and launching into large retail chains like Whole Foods and Sprouts. These are things that Delisa only heard of other companies doing so experiencing these milestones helped prove her credibility. She believes that the best thing she’s done to further her career was successfully completing 2 accelerator programs (SKU and Impact Ventures) because it set young entrepreneurs like Delisa set up for success while she was still building the foundation of the business.
Leadership Style: Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs
Delisa believes that she leans towards the coaching leadership style because she tries to help her team be the best they can be. As she shares, “The managers that I liked had this style, as well and it created an environment where I felt the most productive and content. I naturally coach people which was proven when we hired our first employee, so it makes sense that this is my chosen style.” She feels that she is still developing her confidence and voice by putting herself out there. She’s been saying yes more to public speaking or mentorship opportunities and the more she does it, the less terrifying it gets. She has learned that growth comes from being uncomfortable. Practice makes progress.
While her journey has been amazing, she feels, “I’ve come farther than I’ve ever dreamed of, but now that I’m here, there’s so much further that I’d like to go.”
"Funky Mello inspires feel-good moments through better-for-you food"
Funky Mello: How Delisa's Predisposition Toward Wellness Drives the Company
She shares her self-care process, “Wellness is a huge deal to me, especially lately. I’m learning the importance of meditation and setting intentions to get the most out of my day so I’m trying my best to do it daily. Also, I’m implementing healthy habits to control stress, so eating well, staying hydrated, breathing mindfully, and exercising. Getting sunshine, being in nature, and spending downtime with my family and dog are a must for me too!”
As for Funky Mello, the future looks delicious, they have just launched their dessert stacks locally, which are like single-serve desserts on the go and people are loving it. They are very excited about it. Now Delisa is looking at getting them into restaurants, events, and other food services, and eventually expanding availability nationwide. They are also having some amazing conversations with other better-for-you brands on partnering up on other nostalgic innovations. In the coming years, Funky Mello is looking forward to their website, funkymello.com driving their growth so they can get more products to more customers, including internationally.