Meet Nicole Mahler, founder of Delicious Foods. Nicole was initially inspired by the incredible flavours provided by Indian spices and decided to create the first plant based, vegan, Indian spiced lentil dahl range of chilled meals. This was closely followed by the snuggly French farmhouse comfort of the Veglicious vegan range and more recently the ‘party in your mouth’ Mexican vegan range.

Today, Delicious Foods is successfully flying off retail shelves and Nicole is enjoying expanding her plant-based range of ready-to-eat meals.

How would you describe the business you are in?

Vegan meal solutions and food product innovation.

What do you love about your work? 

I am still deeply moved when I see people love my vegan food. It inspires me.

What part of your job would you gladly give away?

Anything to do with Social Media . I have outsourced this aspect since starting up 4 years ago but it still takes my time and head space and I haven’t had a great degree of success.

If you were starting out in business again today, what piece of advice would you give your younger you?

Strap in for the long haul and make sure you have access to capital – be patient but committed and let go of any timetable expectations.

Women start businesses 41% of the time to solve a problem. Sometimes this means we have a great vision but don’t have enough resources to sustain our business for the long term. Tell us what resources you started your business with eg. money saved, business premises, business partner, and how long before you started paying yourself?

I started my vegan business using mostly credit cards (then transferred the balance to zero interest) and I used some personal savings.

Next I got a business loan and an extension on my home loan, plus I used money from my husband’s building business.

Regarding paying myself – I started doing that in the second year but only a small amount. More than four years in, I’m still only paying myself a fraction of my worth but I am busy building an international vegan food brand that I intend to sell in five years for a significant sum.

As you know we are passionate about women #backingthemselves. So tell us about a time in the last twelve months that you’re really proud of.

Undertaking a complete re-brand and expanding my vegan product range whilst developing a vegan product for the Chinese market.

As we are always growing and learning, what is the one thing you would like to take time to learn more about?

Operating in international markets and maybe learning to speak Mandarin!

The world is changing so fast and technology enables us to do so much more. We’re interested in which app you could not live without and why?

Maps!!! No matter which State I’m in – I rely on this app so much to get me to stores as I still do some in-store taste testings myself to support State-based distributors.

Why did you decide to become a member of the Foodpreneurs Formula®

I wanted to find like-minded women to talk to and connect with Chelsea – foodpreneurs who know more than me on how to grow and scale a food and drink business so I could ask questions, get the right information from the start and not waste anymore of my precious resources – time and money!

We love to celebrate our successes. Can you give us an example of how joining the Foodpreneurs Formula™ has positively impacted your business? 

Apart from meeting some fabulous women – Chelsea’s program has helped me stay focussed on the end-game and align my strategies to ensure I deliver on my goals.

I am now in scale mode and that’s exciting.

I work on the premise – goals in concrete, plans in sand.

Thank you Nicole.

Want to read more about another successful member? Check out our ‘What’s Cooking’ interview with dairy free cheese maker, Michelle Farina, founder Noshing.