THE AMBITION SERIES: MEET LINDA MONIQUE
Posted on 18 September 2017
Who is Linda and what do you do?
Linda is a 29 year old entrepreneur born in Melbourne, who runs projects and businesses that combine food and marketing. She is the Founder of Almo Milk an Australian almond milk company and 2017 Telstra Young Business Womens Award winner! A communications consultant for corporate clients with a particular expertise in events, food and travel. She previously worked as a private chef to celebrity A-listers and has a habit of wandering the world in search of good coffee.
How did you get started?
I spent my twenties discovering what it was that I didn’t want to do in my life. After countless years at uni and working so many random jobs, I realised I had no singular focus or direction. But what I did do well was that I could envision and make cool things come to life; be it events, products and experiences. That’s what I thrive on and what makes me tick.
So I took off to Europe in search of more adventures. Travel has challenged me to view the world in a different way. That is to be present and in the now always. You notice things others don’t.
Throwing myself outside my comfort zone meant I took big risks that paid off. (Some that didn’t). I met a vast array of inspirational people and through networking, found myself taking on jobs and projects I’d never of imagined doing.
A mentor of mine once said, ‘it doesn’t matter where you want to be, if you can’t start a business in your own home town, don’t bother trying to be successful elsewhere.’ I took that as a challenge and realised my strongest resources and networks were here in Melbourne. So I started Almo Milk just when almond milk was gaining traction in the US and Australian almond milk companies were hitting supermarket shelves with imported and inferior, additive-filled plant milks.
After 14 months of R&D, Almo finally launched in March 2016 and has been growing exponentially in it’s first year of business.
Where can we find your product?
Almo Milk is sold in the refrigerated section in health food stores, independent grocers and IGA’s in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. A full list of our stockists can be found on our website.
It is also used by a lot of café’s and barista’s given it is considered a superior Australian barista almond milk. Almo Milk froths super well in coffee but doesn’t contain all the additives, emulsifiers, starches and carrageenan found in leading barista blend milks.
What have been your highlights to date?
We’re super proud that Almo Milk won the Melbourne International Coffee Expo Product Innovation Award the day we launched. It has also won a number of other awards; 1st Place in the New Zealand Pride in Packaging Awards and also a Finalist in the Good Design Australia.
What were the challenges you encountered when starting up?
First we found a number of contract manufacturers were slimy as fuck with conflicting interests. Then we were faced with no alternative contract packers in Australia as UHT milk manufacturers do not want to touch nut based milks in fear they one day may be liable for contaminations.
We also discovered a number of existing imported inferior almond milk companies were duping consumers on actual almond content in their ’10 % activated almond milks’. In reality, their nutritional and protein content is closer to 3-4% almond content.
We are now up against a Billion dollar industry bully who has tried to replicate our long life Australian grown almond milk in the same packaging. We take it as a form of flattery.
How did you overcome these challenges?
Firstly, we went to the ends of the earth (Middle Earth) in New Zealand and found a manufacturer who could help us produce our zero-waste almond milk formulation.
We launched Almo Milk and found the product spoke for itself in terms of quality and taste. AlmoMilk has won out on blind taste testing against 10 other leading almond milks in Australia.
Finally, when it comes to replication, we don’t care. We continue to innovate and look forward to launching a new line of products. What we have that other companies don’t have is a story and authenticity. We’re not just any other long life or fresh almond milk company in Australia.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to pursue a passion?
Action is character. Don’t waste a second longer not running after your dreams.
To what do you attribute your success?
Pain, failure, suffering, some luck, endless dreaming, supportive friends but mostly hard work.
How do balance work and life?
I don’t and that’s okay by me. It’s 10pm on a Friday night and I’m just getting started on 100+ emails. Sometimes I’ll spend weeks procrastinating and doing the bare minimum. I despise routine. I crave ambiguity and adventure. I’ll use travel as a reward for achieving tough goals. Balance is overrated. Once in a while I’ll remind myself to make sure health comes first.
Who inspires you and why?
I’ve met and worked with some insanely successful people who really do take dreams to a whole new level. Then there are others who show strength and resilience and overcome significant adversity. Then there are some who are just super cool.
Natalia Potanina, Nathan Toleman, Victoria Beckham, Kate Solly, David Glass just to name a few…
What’s your Grand Ambition?
To finish writing a novel I’ve started. It’s been years in the making. All I do when I day dream (often) is plot scenes in my mind.
Visit the website: www.almomilk.com.au
Facebook: Almo Milk