August Vega Created An Organic Milk Alternative
Mom. Innovator. Purpose-driven entrepreneur. For August, these roles have always been deeply connected, each supporting and inspiring the other. When she decided her family deserved a better milk alternative—then, she reasoned—doesn’t every family deserve a better milk alternative? And why stop at better, when it could be the best?
This led the clean tech industry pro and clean food advocate to turn her delectable, filler-free homemade almond milk into MALK Organics: the only nationally available brand on the market made with six certified organic ingredients or less, cold-pressed to retain maximum freshness and nutrients. Of course, just like any mom on a mission, August’s work is never done; she continues to create new and delicious ways for MALK lovers everywhere to enjoy it. Finding a place that produces safe containers for the storage can be an issue for a new business owner. There are companies out there that specialize in containers for yogurts, milk and other products if this is something you might be interested in you can check out https://cccllc.com/markets-we-serve/dairy/ for more information.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I have always been a consumer and advocate of clean organic foods. When my son was born with the same dairy allergy I was diagnosed with as a child, I started making homemade almond milk for him. Unable to find a solution on shelves which came close to my homemade recipe, motivated me to make MALK my work and offer clean organic dairy alternatives for everyone.
Tell us about your business.
MALK is a plant-based company, offering clean and non-processed dairy alternatives. We make organic nutmilks using ingredients that can be found at your local grocery store. Our process is very honest and simple. We start with an abundance of sprouted nuts, blended with organic maple syrup, natural vanilla, water, and a dash of Himalayan pink salt, and cold-press the mixture into a deliciously clean beverage.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
We run many promos in grocery stores, as well as giveaways on Instagram! Our Instagram handle is @malkorganics. Be sure to follow us for a chance to win delicious prizes!
- Certified Organic by CCOF
- Coffee Pecan MALK beverage is Fair Trade certified
- Best Non-Carbonated Beverage 2015 – BevNET
- Nominated for Best Dairy Alternative 2017 – VegNews
- Named as Top Female Leaders in Natural Food Industry – Forbes
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
We began our MALK journey at a local farmers market in Houston selling raw almond milk and pecan milk in glass mason jars to our community in 2014. At the time, there weren’t many clean options, much less organic dairy alternatives that contained simple ingredients. Store shelves were filled with milk alternatives with a long list of gums, fillers, and artificial ingredients.
When people realized that there was finally a clean option available, the demand for our products grew drastically. We launched in Whole Foods Market 5 months after our debut at farmer’s markets, and three short years later, we’re a national brand sold in Kroger, Sprouts, Whole Foods Market, Fresh Thyme Market, Central Market, H-E-B, and many natural food retailers across the country.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
We strive to connect with our customers at a personal level by having open dialogues with them, and we also feel that it is important to gather their feedback in order to continue growing as people and as a business. Our favorite channels to use when communicating with consumers are Instagram, Facebook, and email through our website. From personalized thank you notes, to suggestions in ways we can improve, we respond to every message we receive.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
To effectively and simply communicate our differentiators from our manufacturing process to our ingredient list we are truly different from other, but figuring out how to spread the word on a limited budget can be challenging.
How did you overcome these challenges?
We overcome this challenge by staying highly active through our social media channels.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
During difficult times, we make it a point to take a step back and appreciate the many accomplishments and the overwhelming support we’ve received from our customers, family, and friends.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We consider MALK to be in a category of its own because our process is very different from our competitors. We are engaged with our consumers and transparent about our business.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
To continue with our mission and to never compromise the quality in our products that we’ve maintained since day one.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Start with a plan as though you will be a billion dollar brand, and stay focused and true to your mission.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
For me, networking with other business owners is always helpful. It’s amazing how much you can learn and grow by sharing challenges and milestones with others in a similar positions. It’s also very important to have partners that support and believe in your mission, like Boulder Food Group has supported our brand.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I was recently given “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. We are all imperfect and getting comfortable with that fact is the true journey of growth and expansion, as a business leader and an individual.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
We’re always searching for unique ways to build our brand and continue to increase distribution. We know that the demand for our product is there, and we’re working non-stop to make MALK available to families nationwide.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
In our business, we can never be in the present moment, it’s always about the future plan. For now we are working to ensure our year ends as though we projected, while planning for intense growth for 2018 and developing new products. It’s an intense exercise.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.