Name: Jesse McBride
Business/Location: mademeals, Northern New Jersey and New York
Specialty: Sourcing ingredients from local farms that use responsible practices, and offering our clients a rotating menu of vegan, paleo and 'traditional' meal options each week
What problem does your business solve?: By offering high quality, chef-prepared meals delivered to customers’ doors, we give people the opportunity to eat mindfully when they don't have time to cook. By working with local farms that use responsible practices, not only are our meals nourishing for the body, but they also help to regenerate our environment and support our community.
What makes your business unique?: In addition to working with local farms that use responsible practices, we will also be partnering with re-entry organizations in hiring formerly incarcerated individuals into our kitchen staff, offering them an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their community. We will also be partnering with homeless and veteran shelters, as well as with organizations like City Harvest to reduce unnecessary food waste.
What’s your story?: mademeals was started in 2016 by Jesse McBride, a health and fitness enthusiast with a busy New York City career and lifestyle. After being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory gut condition, his diet of healthy, organically-produced ingredients was no longer an option, but instead a necessity.
Jesse sought ways to eat healthy while still maintaining a busy schedule. Finding few options for acquiring the organic, nutrient-rich foods that his condition required, he created mademeals as a way to help other busy, conscious eaters.
In 2016, Jesse met Chef Joe, who on his own journey towards health, lost a significant amount of weight, going from 355 lbs to 190 lbs. Jesse and Chef Joe immediately clicked and began working together.
Since its inception, mademeals has been on a mission to source only the freshest, most local and almost entirely organic ingredients, provide convenient and sustainable food preparation and packaging, and give back to the community by hiring those in most need of job placement and training.
One piece of advice you have for other food entrepreneurs: Stick with your mission and persevere through the painful lows. Starting a business in the food space will always be a rough ride, but tenacity and consistency is key. Decide what parts of your mission are non-negotiable, where you will never take shortcuts. And stick to it.
What do you wish you had known before you started your business?: That starting a business takes time. At certain points, it may feel like you need to rush into a launch, or else you will be irrelevant. People will pressure you and ask you why you haven't launched yet. Only you will know when you're ready to launch. And following that gut feeling is crucial to building a successful business and community. Trust the process.
What’s your greatest challenge in your business and how are you overcoming it?: Juggling everything at once, and wearing all the hats. In the beginning, there's no budget to hire a full-time administrative assistant, designer, or CFO. Finding friends/people in our network who are willing to help and bootstrap this operation has been instrumental to piecing things together, but it continues to be a challenge.
What are you most proud of about your business?: We’re most proud of how we have pushed through so many hard times, and have created a sense of community and brand identity in our network. People who have seen our journey and understand how committed we are to our mission are unbelievably supportive, sharing us with their networks and giving us kind words that brighten the darkest days.
What do you love most about being a food entrepreneur? I love it when I daydream something, and it actually happens, and I get to share it with people. I love connecting with other food entrepreneurs and sharing our stories. I love the learning process.
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