A London-based food e-tailer with roots in St. Lucia that was founded in Lockdown has been named Small Business of 2020 by Lloyds Bank.
Bon Mangé, which sells glasses with green condiment and hot sauce, was launched last year by Rochelle Alcee-Stevens and her fiancée Mandella Leonce. Rochelle began posting photos of food they’d made on Instagram, which led to friends and family encouraging her to create a page of her own, Bon Mangé, and the couple then teamed up to share their love of cooking to turn into a business.
Now Bon Mangé has been named the winner of the Lloyds Bank Small Business of 2020 Awards in recognition of how creatively and quickly the couple have adapted to the challenges of the past year. The award is a mentoring session with Sauce Supremo Levi Roots, the man behind Reggae Reggae Sauce, who provides insights and support to help Bon Mangé seize opportunities and grow the business in the year ahead.
The Lloyds Bank Small Business of 2020 competition recognizes small and local businesses across the UK and their inspirational energy and resilience in meeting the challenges of 2020. Nearly 900 companies across the country have been nominated by their local communities and 24 winners have been selected about how creatively and quickly they have adapted to events since March and how they have exceeded expectations.
Like so many others, Rochelle was on leave last spring and used her free time and digital marketing background to start the business while Mandella managed production. They started delivering their bikes to friends who lived locally in north east London.
She recalls, “It started to grow through word of mouth, with lockdown meaning people had more time to focus on cooking at home.
“We’re both from St. Lucia and the products we sell are family recipes that have been passed down through the generations. Another reason for their popularity is that they are versatile, contain no allergens, and are vegan friendly. “
As orders increased through their site, the couple began releasing the products in different regions of the UK and launched a website for the company in January to encourage more online orders.
In addition to the products, Bon Mangé, in collaboration with the chairman’s reserve of the rum company St. Lucia, has developed boxes containing specially selected recipe cards and cocktail kit pairings based on rum.
Most recently, as part of its Vibin ‘with Bon Mangé series, the company worked with local aspiring DJs on music mixes to deliver the perfect soundtrack for cooking Creole and Caribbean inspired food at home.
Gareth Oakley, General Manager of Business Banking at Lloyds Banking Group, said, “The shadow of the pandemic has spawned so many inspiring stories, especially of people turning the challenge of vacation into a positive outcome and the era of transformation make the most of their passions in viable businesses. The Bon Mangé team is a perfect example of this ambition and tenacity. Behind Bon Mangé is a clear pride in heritage, family and tradition – the hallmark of many large companies – and it really deserves this award. “