Funky Mello’s Marshmallows Are Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Irresistible
Every month, we have the honor of highlighting a small Black-owned business making fantastic plant-based products. This month, our partner is the oh-so-sweet Funky Mello!
Funky Mello is a vegan dessert company owned and run by fiancés Zach Harper and Delisa Johnson. Based in Austin, Texas, Funky Mello offers handcrafted, gluten-free vegan marshmallows. Customers can choose from vanilla, cookies ’n cream, and strawberry. The company also offers recipe suggestions with unique ways to enjoy these delicious treats.
Zach and Delisa are passionate about their desserts and consider their customers family. They kindly took time to give us some insight into their work!
What are your names, where are you from, and what is your relationship to Funky Mello?
My name is Zach, and my partner, soon-to-be wife, is Delisa. We are the proud owners of Funky Mello! We are based out of Austin, Texas, and make gluten-friendly vegan marshmallows.
What first interested you both in plant-based eating, and how has going plant-based impacted your lives?
We have always been interested in veganism, and my [Delisa’s] parents are vegetarian. We decided to go vegan because of certain food sensitivities, which then led to preferences, and we always had a huge craving for sweets. After cutting out animal products from our diets, we just felt better physically and mentally. We realized how much being vegan positively impacts the planet and decided to fully commit to veganism and do our part in leaving the planet better than we found it!
Congratulations on your engagement! What is it like running a business together as a couple?
Thank you so much! Only a few more weeks until we have officially tied the knot! Honestly, running a business is a challenge, and it’s arguably even a bigger challenge running it with your twin flame. But we love every minute of it! We have both learned how to communicate more effectively and discovered how well one’s strengths complement the other’s weaknesses. One of the things that keeps us sane is separating our personal relationship with our business relationship and remembering to take time for ourselves and each other.
Which delicious Funky Mello flavor is your favorite?
We absolutely love all of our Funky flavors, but I think cookies and cream is our favorite right now! We use real vegan, gluten-free chocolate cookie crumbs, so it’s like eating a double-stuffed cookie.
What unique experiences or challenges have you faced as Black entrepreneurs?
To be honest, I think we have faced a lot of challenges that other non-Black entrepreneurs have faced. Everyone we meet seems to have the same pain points, like figuring out funding, how to grow your business, and how to land your product on shelves. One thing that might be a unique challenge for us is access to capital. We have seen a few businesses that are very fortunate to have friends and family financially back them, or they are able to quickly meet investors. That just isn’t the case for us, so we’re very grateful for all support and opportunities we come across.
Do you have any advice for BIPOC vegans hoping to start their own plant-based businesses?
The biggest piece of advice we can give you is to just go out and start your journey, and please don’t wait until tomorrow or the next day. It’s very intimidating to start a business from scratch, especially when you don’t have much experience in the industry. But now is the best time to put one foot in front of the other and take the leap. We will always be here and available for anyone that has questions or wants some guidance!
Do you have any favorite vegan brands you wish more people knew about?
Yes, three awesome brands come to mind as our current favorites. We’re huge fans of Siete’s chips and tortillas made from cassava. Spudsy has vegan cheese puffs made from sweet potatoes that are better than the non-vegan ones we had when we were kids. And we’re absolutely in love with the very creamy So Delicious cashew ice cream. These three foods are a staple at our house!
Is there anything you would like to add?
We have some exciting things in store for 2021, and we can’t wait to share them with all of you! To get the latest scoop on what we’re up to, make sure to follow @funky_mello on Instagram or @funkymello on Facebook!
Delicious, gluten-free vegan marshmallows are just a click away! Head over to Funky Mello’s website to place an order, and make sure you stay on top of the company’s exciting announcements (and congratulate the couple on their wedding) by following them on Instagram and Facebook.