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Mellisa Mills headshot

How to start a business with almost NOTHING

Robert Szmigiel |

If you had told Mellisa Mills a decade ago she’d be at the helm of a growing plant-based cheese empire, she’d have laughed in your face. After all, she’d been fired from just about every job she ever held for insubordination. But it turns out, she just needed to do things her own way.

She started cooking for herself at a young age. Later, in between the many jobs that never seemed to stick, her DIY spirit and curiosity about nutrition and plant medicine combined with her love of quality ingredients to create Spread’Em Kitchen.

Mellisa turned a blender, a bicycle, and $500 into a thriving farmers market stand in Vancouver. A few years later, Spread’Em Kitchen moved into its own industrial facility, where it gradually grew into a celebrated manufacturer of plant-based dips, spreads and cheeses.

Mellisa makes sure all ingredients are ethically sourced and background checked. Her employees earn a living wage. Spread’Em is striving to become a zero-waste facility. The company also donates to several children’s programs, including breakfast clubs at local schools.

The business has since exploded across Canada, growing from $500 in sales to almost $4 million. Mellisa remains on a mission to disrupt the packaged food space. She believes that food should be nourishing, that it should be made with integrity, that it should make you feel good, and that it should be shared.


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