Someone else celebrating 10 years in the wellness industry is Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella. What started as a personal mission to regain her health after years of being unsuccessfully treated for a debilitating auto-immune condition, has flourished into one of our industry’s most incredible success stories.
With a handful of best-selling cookbooks under her belt, an expansive range of plant-based food products that sit proudly on the shelves of many well-known retailers, a revolutionary new restaurant serving up exquisite plant-based dishes, an app, a podcast and a growing community of people passionate about wellbeing, you’d be forgiven for thinking she must have supernatural powers to cram in all that shes achieved over the last 10 years. Of course, she regularly credits her wonderful team and most importantly, her husband and DE CEO, Matthew, for playing a vital role in supporting and making the business what we see today.
We caught up with her to get an insight into Deliciously Ella one decade on, her wellness journey so far, the most rewarding and, equally, the most challenging aspects of running a wellness business and her hopes for the future of the company.
If you could describe your wellness journey in 3 words, what would they be?
Non-linear, cathartic, life-saving
If you could go back 10 years, knowing what you know now, would you do anything differently?
That it’ll feel incredibly challenging – perhaps impossible – at points, there will be moments where you’ll think it’s all over, problems you don’t you can solve and stress that feels it might truly overwhelm you. Somehow, you’ll find a way through it all though, nothing will be as bad as it seems, so long as you keep putting one foot in front of another.
And just as nothing is as ever as bad as it seems, nothing is as good either – there are no silver bullets or magic wands, you’ve just got to keep going. Block by block, brick by brick you’ll build it.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your journey?
It’s so hard to pick one thing. I think the most rewarding moments, the things I’m most proud of, are the stories from readers/members of our community. Knowing that we’ve been able to make a tangible difference to someone’s life means more than I can really say.
And the most challenging?
Getting back up after every challenge. You take so many knocks starting a business and there are (many!) times when it takes over every single part of your life. Continuing to put the company first, to sacrifice (and often let down) friends and family, and say goodbye to personal plans, can be difficult, particularly because sometimes situations really do feel impossible, yet you have to find a solution. In the first few years, there were many times we didn’t know if we’d still be going the following week, but instead of admitting defeat, you have to dig deep and keep going.
What’s one wellness “trend” you’re happy to see the back of?
I’d love to see the back of all trends!. It’s so easy to follow the next fad and jump on a trend, but if it feels like a compromise and you’re depriving/punishing yourself then it won’t last long and I think that’s too often the case with trends. True wellness is individual, genuinely enjoyable and sustainable over decades, not days.
What’s a recent discovery that’s positively impacted your wellbeing?
An infrared sauna blanket! It was a lockdown buy and I love it! It’s a little (lot!) extra but it really does feel so good.
What does wellness mean for you and your family?
Feeling fulfilled, calm, energised and loved. It’s not ‘superfoods’ or fancy therapies, but genuinely feeling good from the inside out.
Has becoming a mother had any impact on carving out the direction of the business?
It hasn’t changed the direction of the total business, as deliciously ella has evolved a long way beyond just me now, but it’s definitely changed the way I work and the way I prioritise life. I’m the biggest advocate for the fact that you can’t do it all and there is no perfect balance, it’s just one day at a time.
Are there any lessons you’ve learnt that you want to carry forward to the next decade of Deliciously Ella?
So much has changed in the last 10 years, but the one thing that hasn’t changed since starting Deliciously Ella is the mission and I hope the remains just as it is. Our purpose is rooted in a very personal story, as it all started from my own personal exploration of plant-based cooking as a tool for transforming my own health. As I started to realise the power of our diet to change our well-being, I wanted to share that with others. That desire to be useful by sharing delicious ways to feel better remains the DNA of the company and guides all our decisions.
Join the Deliciously Ella community via the feel better by deliciously ella app.