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We are the UK’s alcohol-free spirit subscription box.

We provide an opportunity to discover alternatives to alcohol that focus on flavour and high quality ingredients so you can sip on an inspirational, sophisticated drink.

How did it all begin?

When the pandemic hit, my partner Richard and I started working at home. Initially, we found the divide difficult between the working day and the evening which quickly turned into a few daily G&Ts to find the ‘unwind button’. We soon realised the pandemic wasn’t going anywhere and daily drinking didn’t suit our otherwise healthy lifestyle. This is when we explored alternatives for the first time and discovered there were over 400 non-alcoholic spirits on the market with new launches weekly. With the supermarket shelves growing but still limited and sometimes uninspiring, we wanted to make these spirits more accessible while providing guidance on how best to serve them for the perfect experience.

What sets your business apart?

We really are the only players in the market doing what we are doing. With the mindful drinking and sober curious movement rapidly growing, we are standing at the forefront alongside the best tasting, highest quality brands in the market, to lead the way in normalising not drinking. There are hundreds of great tasting, 0 proof drinks if made properly and given the right care – we want to show how easy that is while focusing on a top-notch experience.

What is the concept behind your business or the problem you’re solving?

We are supporting those who don’t drink at all or want an alternative for when they aren’t drinking. Our community is split between mindful drinkers and those that don’t drink at all, showing that there is greater demand for alternatives as we focus more on our mental and physical health with a greater focus on productivity and ‘seizing the day’.

Where to next/What is your brand vision?

We really have just begun. We feel we have achieved a lot in our one year of business, receiving an award for the Best New Business category, being voted the number 1 alcohol-free spirit subscription box by the Independent and showcasing significant growth. Our next year will be focusing on continuing to drive that growth, positioning JOMO Club as thought-leaders, supporting our partners in getting their drinks in front of consumers and doing more office masterclasses and boxes to show the importance and relevance of a mindful drinking mindset. There is more to come and we hope you will be seeing our name a lot more.

Gemma Mills

Founder of

JOMO Club (The Joy Of Missing Out)

What do you feel passionate about/what drives you?

People and relationships. In a work setting, I feel relationships and partnerships are crucial and I am genuinely interested in people. I want to do right by them. I am passionate about what I am doing, our members, their stories and seeing JOMO Boxes in their homes. I am passionate about life. There are many opportunities and so much to live for – I am just as passionate now about leading my own business as I was when I was 14 working in a tea room, I would see regulars approaching and start making their order and I would think of window displays. This travelled into my first corporate job, I would brainstorm and think of ways to innovate.

Share an example of early life that has shaped you?

When I was 12 I lost my dad. We were told that he had an aggressive and incurable cancer. I was there, with my sister, next to him each step of the way and just as the doctor said, he passed away a few months after his diagnosis. I grew up fast from that moment. I grieved the worst pain and I suppose I felt nothing could ever hurt me as I had already faced the worst pain. I became fearless and took every opportunity. At 13 I had my first seizure and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Some say my brain struggled with the grief and was protecting me, some say it had nothing to do with it. I have seizures often, triggered by little sleep and stress, but that certainly doesn’t define me.

Highlights of your business journey so far?

I turn 26 on the 15th July 2022. I feel proud to have built a business that others are proud of too, giving up a corporate job and pursuing JOMO Club with huge plans. Before JOMO I was in sales, partnerships and client management. I loved every moment of it – the buzz, the relationship building and probably the competition. Every job had its own highlight and gave me tremendous experience and those around me gave me the confidence to be able to do what I am today.

Key lessons you have learned along the way?

1. Tell the truth. If something has gone in a different direction to you expected, tell the truth, no matter how hard it is. People respect honesty and are for the most part understanding. If you can put it right, the relationships can become even stronger. This is something I’ve only truly acknowledged in the past year and a half. 2. Always speak your mind. No matter who is in the room, if you have something to say, say it. Your thoughts are valid, always. 3. Don’t act TOO quickly. I jump on things as soon as they happen. When communicating with clients, that can be a good thing, but it can hinder in some situations so be aware. If you take a step back, breathe and think for five minutes about the situation, you should be able to have some clarity on how to act with a sense of calm. This should also reduce the stress as you have to just sort the issue – there is no point laying on the carpet having a meltdown (me 8 months ago) as the carpet certainly wont solve your problems.

Best piece of advice you have received?

Be yourself. Karen Martin, my first boss and job in the corporate world. She refused to send me on a sales training course as she wanted me to find who I was first when selling to clients. Grateful to this day for that piece of advice as it allowed me to stand strong in some sometimes intimidating work situations.

Advice to an aspiring entrepreneur or woman just starting her career?

I will repeat the advice I was given: Be yourself, be heard, and follow what you are passionate about. Some validation can be good and listen to others too as backing down isn’t bad if you realise you may not have made the right decision or had the right opinion.

What funding route have you chosen for your business and why?

I am self funded currently. I was fortunate to have my job in sales throughout the pandemic which meant earning commission but also saving money throughout lockdown. I had enough money to be able to fund the business and have a rental property too providing some income. We may reach a point of external investment when we scale further, but not for now.

Some of the challenges you have faced and how you overcame them?

With JOMO Club the biggest challenge was logistics and packaging, I had no experience in this field. A box was designed which looked pretty but didn’t survive shipping and we had a number of breakages so we designed a new box which was much sturdier and included dividers so we no longer had to wrap all bottles, saving time and making the customer experience better. Another challenge has been partner supply issues, we have been told a week or even a day before shipping that our boxes aren’t coming. Our partners are so amazing that we had a network to reach out to, to save the day. We also made sure to communicate with our customers. If you don’t communicate, you always face issues.

Why is it important to support women-led business?

I have faced gender-specific comments in the workplace and I know I never have to stand for that. Despite starting my career straight after school, I would speak my mind to gender-specific comments. I watched my mum lead her own business in a male-dominated world. I soaked up my grandma’s “positivity is key” vibes and still do. It is important to support women-led business because it is fantastic to be champions for each and every one of the brilliant businesses we have achieved. The women around me, whether in a work setting, a family setting or friends setting are extremely important.

60

Seconds

with

Gemma Mills

My inspiration is...

My mum. She started her own business and continued to grow it as a working mum finding the perfect balance. She is now a master in her field and is herself always, which I believe is one of the main reasons people work with her.

My greatest fear is...

Honestly, a year ago I would say going to sleep. I have seizures at nighttime and during the pandemic with nowhere else to go I felt fear around my Epilepsy for the first time. It lasted a while and was pretty crippling at times, but I have done a lot of self-healing to get to a point where I am no longer scared, just like before. I suppose I am fearful that feeling will come back, but I try to lean into it and it seems to not get to that point.

The most courageous thing I’ve ever done is...

I would probably say leaving my job. JOMO Club isn't huge yet and I had a comfortable set up at my old business - but who likes comfortable?!

Guilty pleasure?

Country music and line dancing, it makes my heart happy and it's how my partner Richard and I fell in love. Plus, there are some strong women in country, Dolly Parton obviously being one.!

Mantra you live by?

Be kind to others and do what makes you feel good. You want that chocolate bar after a morning gym session - do it! You don’t fancy a gym workout but would rather a walk - do it!

Female role model?

I’m lucky to have many. My mum without a doubt - she is a business-woman, loved by all and my best friend. My grandma - she is 85 and can still sit on her knees, nothing stops her doing anything. Karen, my first boss and close friend. She’s fierce and incredible in her field - she also has three amazing girls.

Women-led brand you love?

Noughty’s Alcohol-Free Sparkling Chardonnay by the amazingly wonderful Amanda Thomson. Caleño’s Colombian inspired non-alcoholic spirit by Ellie Webb. We’ve never met, but she is powerful, creative, takes care of her team and knows what she wants. Finally, Femme, a premium lifestyle subscription box just launched by my best friend Em and her Cousin Katia. Beautiful aesthetics, passion and ethos.

Top productivity tool?

A notepad. I list out the things I have to do with a time limit on each, this keeps me focused.

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