Mechelle has worked within oil and gas for over 10 years as a Recruiter and Training Coordinator, this role saw her become the sole recruiter for a large drilling contractor, organising training for several thousand offshore employees and setting up a new office in Houston. She started in recruitment after returning from Liverpool where Mechelle lived and studied for 7 years. During her time in Liverpool Mechelle worked as a chef for a couple of years, sparking a love of cooking.
Whilst working in oil in gas her desire to be creative lead Mechelle to begin a part-time cupcake company, catering for weddings, corporate events and supplying weekly to local cafes. Balancing this expanding business with a full time job became unsustainable and came to an end in 2011. However, Mechelle’s passion for cooking did not diminish and the dream of one day owning her own food business remained, a bit of a pipe dream, occasionally pushing her to go as far as researching ideas or attending a class here or there. After the 1st redundancy in 2014 Mechelle attended over 60 interviews, interviewing for one large operator 5 times for the same role before being told they had to put their search on hold due to financial restrictions. Although her dreams grew, confidence stopped Mechelle from following through with them. It wasn’t until the 2nd redundancy 15 months later that she launched herself into getting the business up and running. The funding was approved in December 2015, and until that point she hadn’t fully resolved to open Melt Aberdeen, still interviewing right up to the day it was approved.
Was starting your own company something you always dreamed of?
Yes, but the medium was never really decided until late on. Grilled cheese came about through researching food trends and looking for something achievable, demonstrating basic cooking experience, utilising knowledge of flavour combinations and researching every minute of every day.
What is a typical day like at Melt?
I start my day about 8am, running to last minute supply shopping, banking, recycling before getting in about 9 to start food prep. We open the doors at 10.30am and work through to 4pm before cleaning everything down for the next day. We stay open for longer on Friday and Saturdays but I work every night on the business, whether that’s cleaning, financial monitoring or planning the next steps for the business. Every day has something to do with Melt, I do all of my own social media so this means posting something new and exciting every day.
What has been your biggest challenge to overcome?
Learning everything from scratch, it’s been the steepest learning curve ever! When I opened on the first day I don’t think I really expected anyone to come in, let alone a queue of 30 plus before we opened the doors. We sold out within an hour and had to shut the doors. My husband helped out on the first day and was very keen to run to the suppliers and get more stock, but my years in oil and gas had taught me that it was more important to sit down and look at lessons to be learned and start fresh the next day. Instead of focusing on the fact that we weren’t as prepared as we should have been I looked at how popular we were and how best we could be ready for the next onslaught.
What is the most rewarding thing about what you do?
When I see how excited customers are when they first come in, they say things like I’ve wanted to come in since you opened or I can’t wait for this. Its great to think that we are part of people thought process at all.
If you could give anyone starting up one piece of advice, what would it be?
Be kind to yourself. It would be very easy when something goes wrong to beat yourself up, I regularly do, but your only human and everyone has to learn, you’ll get it right the next time.
What does the future hold for Melt?
We hope to be mobile by the end of the year, running a round of crowdfunding in September with incentives like Melt catering your wedding or event. We have had a lot of interest from the local beer festivals, food festivals and even catering for a well known brewery’s large event next year.