Five years ago, Jamie Melzer realized that by avoiding processed foods and replacing them with clean and whole ingredients, she could positively impact her and her family’s overall health. Watermelon Road was born out of Jamie’s love for wholesome food, fresh flavors, and providing her family and friends with alternative snack options that are both nutritious and delicious.
Watermelon Road creates uniquely flavored dried fruit jerkies with no added sugar or preservatives in exciting new flavors like Watermelon Lemonade, Pineapple Mojito, Mango Margarita and Apple Pie.
Was launching a business part of your career plan or did you see an opportunity and decide to go for it?
Creating healthy meals and snacks to share with my friends and family was always just a side passion for me. It wasn’t until I became a Mom that I decided to turn it into a career. I wanted to do something that made people’s lives a little bit easier and that my kids could be proud of.
How had your previous work experience help to launch and grow your business?
I spent nearly 12 years analyzing and investing in other people businesses, so I had a strong sense for which business models would work and which wouldn’t and the importance of good leadership and culture. This has certainly helped me along the way.
What was the most challenging aspect of launching Watermelon Road? The most rewarding?
I quickly found that there was so much I didn’t know about launching and running a business in the natural foods space. From sourcing to manufacturing to marketing to distribution I had to learn everything from scratch. You quickly learn to ask for help from those who blazed the trail before you. Despite the struggles, the learning process has been rewarding. I now know how to launch a CPG brand, whereas two years ago I had no idea what I was doing!
What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about entrepreneurship?
The hours are long, the days are lonely, and the pay is terrible! I have been truly blessed to find a network of incredible female entrepreneurs who are always willing to provide advice, connections and sometimes just company. They, along with our customers and my supportive family, are what keeps me going.
There’s an industry-wide trend toward smaller brands with an authentic founder story. How has this trend helped to shape your business?
This has been huge for us. I have been overwhelmed by the support from people who have found our brand and believe in our mission. We still have work to do to improve our products, sizing, pricing, distribution, etc… as an early stage brand and I couldn’t be more appreciative of our customers who provide feedback and support us as we grow.
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?
Don’t try to do it all yourself. Find a network of peers and mentors and don’t be shy about asking for help. People can’t read your mind, but they truly do want to help you if you give them the opportunity.
"Don’t try to do it all yourself. Find a network of peers and mentors and don’t be shy about asking for help."BACK TO FOUNDATION