Meet the Gemma Mills Founder of the JOMO CLUB a Booze-Free Subscription Box

  • Published on:
    September 1, 2021
  • Reading time by:
    5 minutes
Meet the Gemma Mills Founder of the JOMO CLUB a Booze-Free Spirit

Gemma, 25 and Richard, 30 founded JOMO Club and are the daily passion and driving force behind the Club.  After meeting each other at work in the world of supplements and exhibitions and falling in love over their slightly unique shared passion for country music and Nashville, the rest was history. They booked a flight immediately to Nashville together.

Fast forward four years. They’ve both understood the importance of a healthy body and mind, actively into fitness and for the most part leading a nutritious diet, however, it wasn’t until lockdown they found a G&T created a natural divide between work and the end of the day. After completing Dry January in 2021 and realising how much better they felt in themselves and during work outs, they started looking into better alternatives to alcohol than sparkling water. 

Speaking to friends, they realised many felt the same and had started drinking non-alcoholic alternatives during lockdown, which was a completely new territory to them. 

They started thinking about the options available in restaurants when they weren’t drinking and it was often a sparkling water – it’s no wonder it felt like a compromise to not drink!

JOMO Club was created to experience the joy of missing out and bring the very best alcohol-free spirits to people’s doors, every month. With hundreds of non-alcoholic drinks available on the market, they wanted to provide an opportunity to try what is out there and discover what you like best.

“We are passionate about spreading the ‘joy of missing out’ and sharing the best non-alcoholic spirits each month through an engaging and sustainable experience! We’re doing it for those looking for alternatives to alcohol, we’re doing it for those creating the alternatives to alcohol and we are kind of doing it for ourselves – because we’re having so much fun!”

What inspired you to start JOMO Club?

Four months ago, I was sat at my partner’s parents’ house and I had the ‘business bug’ that night. I have always had entrepreneurship in me, it was just a case of finding my passion and the right thing. My partner and I had just completed Dry January and spoke about how much better it made us feel when working out and waking up in the morning. The next thing I knew, I was researching alternatives to alcohol and it turns out there are hundreds out there with many people also looking for and actively buying them. I spent the whole night researching and by the end of the week I had set up a tonne of calls with alcohol-free drinks companies to start scoping out the idea of an alcohol-free spirit subscription box!

When did you first know that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?

Always. My mum and dad both had their own businesses and I have been around that mentality and energy my whole life. My mum juggled her own business from home while bringing me up and I used to take her call notes while she would drive the car. I have always been keen to jump straight into work from a young age – I just wanted to learn, create new ideas, innovate, brainstorm and speak with people! Whether that be my first Saturday job at 14 in the coffee shop, my first proper sales job at 18 after school or now at 25 setting up my business!

What has the response been like — do you think the world has been waiting for a non-alcoholic subscription service and if so, why?

The response has honestly been overwhelming. For me, it has made every late night, long to do list and rocky turn worth every minute. The positive response started with the suppliers – our alcohol-free spirits, mixers and snacks – they were so supportive of JOMO Club even when we didn’t have a website and are excited to be involved in our journey which is touching. The response on social media and directly via our website has been amazing too as we launch JOMO! Four years ago there was only really one alcohol-free spirit in the market, now there are hundreds and people looking to reduce their alcohol intake without compromising quality or taste are excited to be able to try something different each month..

What is your favourite drink to create with JOMO Club?

I am still discovering and experimenting with the alcohol-free spirits out there to create amazing cocktails and working alongside mixologists and the creators of these drinks which is super fun! One I recently discovered and has become my daily fix and substitute for coffee is GIMBER. I am obsessed. It’s a ginger concentrate that is mixed with sparkling water and is fiery, refreshing and has a number of health benefits too. Keep an eye out as it may be coming to a JOMO Box near you *spoilers* 

What would you say is different today about the non-alcoholic industry than it was just a few years ago?

The non-alcoholic industry is vastly different to what it was a few years ago and becoming more and more exciting every day! Four years ago there really was just one alcohol-free spirit in the market and if you went to supermarkets, restaurants and bars there wasn’t a choice for consumers that were not drinking apart from water or sugary pop. Now, there are hundreds of alcohol-free spirits with new ones coming out every day and restaurants and bars are taking the alcohol-free options seriously. There are alcohol-free bars, menus and a growing choice. This reflects the changes in behaviours and the increased number of people deciding to reduce their alcohol intake or becoming sober curious. 

What else should we know about you? What sets JOMO Club apart from the competition? 

There aren’t too many competitors so an exciting time for JOMO, however, I would say what sets us apart are a few things. 

  1. The quality of our boxes. We ensure every boxes products are chosen carefully with the highest quality and best tasting products for the best experience. 
  2. Us if that isn’t too self indulgent to say. The passion behind JOMO is quite unbelievable – as it should be. I get excited speaking with our suppliers and figuring out how we can partner in the very best way together for the best experience for them but ultimately for our members. I get excited hearing from our members and seeing their photos too. Alcohol-free is relatively new and growing, so there is a lot of passion all around in this space and we are just honoured to be a part of it and supporting those looking for alternatives while ensuring taste and quality is at the forefront!

2. Sustainability is important to us and is at the core of what we do. Our ingredient cards are plantable and will turn into a flower once members are finished with them. We are plastic-free – our filler inside is made from reclaimed coffee cups and our bottles are wrapped with brown paper. Our boxes have been carefully selected with a provider that has contributed significantly to replanting trees. Our courier is number one in the UK for sustainability. 

What is your ultimate dream for the business?

For JOMO Club to be the leading alcohol-free subscription service! No/low is only going to grow from here and we want to be at the forefront of it all, educating, inspiring and networking!

What is the best advice you have ever received?

I have received some fantastic advice in my 25 years. I am lucky to have the strongest support network around me and to have had amazing mentors always. This one for me though is clear and was given to me by my boss in my first office, sales job. I had never been on the phone before or sold professionally and she just said to me ‘be yourself. I could send you on a training course but I want you to find your own style and not be moulded.’ To this day I am grateful for that. I have been to companies where they have tried to change me and my way of selling and those words ring through – it has probably meant I am an absolute nightmare to manage, especially when I was younger, but it has meant that I have always sold with my personality and been able to form strong relationships. Above all, I have always loved my job because it is authentic everyday and not following a script!

What are some hurdles an aspiring business owner might not be aware of?

You’re a one-woman band. There isn’t a boss to fall back on anymore which is both the best and scariest thing. You are finance, logistics, sales and partnerships, marketing, operations, design and everything else that I haven’t mentioned, so things can get tough. Juggling is the keyword which means you have to be disciplined with yourself or you’re just going to run out of time to do everything that needs to be done / you will never have time for yourself. If people offer to help – take it! I’m offering that piece of advice when I rarely take it myself, but use people’s strengths as we aren’t good at everything! I came up against that hurdle when I was designing the packaging for my subscription box business – I didn’t have design experience and realised I couldn’t scribble something on a piece of paper, so luckily had my amazing friend draw illustrations and convert them in the correct format for what we needed. 

What has been your key (or keys) to success?

Put people first, always. If the people come first and you start to create strong, meaningful partnerships, the rest will follow. 

Have someone or multiple people to brainstorm with. You can’t let all your ideas bounce around your head all day and all night or it’ll drive you crazy / you’ll never sleep! Oh, and keep a notepad next to your bed – it won’t let a good idea slide and it’ll mean you can get some shut-eye. 

Keep calm. Things will go wrong – take a step back, think about the solution and fix it, don’t react quickly. 

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