The concept for Mullin was born on a Fairtrade Farm in Sri Lanka. In January 2019, one of the co-founders, Julie Hirsch, was visiting Kandy where she sources ingredients for her Australian tea business.

While Julie was catching up with local farmers, the conversation quickly shifted to climate change. Farmers across the globe are experiencing the adverse effects of rising temperatures, but Sri Lanka is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world. Over 30% of Sri Lankans are employed in the agriculture sector, and in desperate need of sustainable solutions.

Learning about the prolonged droughts and flash floods impacting the farms in Kandy, Julie asked the General Manager of a local Fairtrade cooperative:

“How can we support Fairtrade farmers in the face of climate change?”

The answer was simple:
“Buy spices.”

That moment sparked a journey of ethical innovation that led to launching Mullin.

Sri Lanka is the 4th largest exporter of tea in the world, producing on average 300,000 tons each year. Although tea is a primary foreign exchange for the country, farming a single crop over and over ultimately corrupts the soil and destroys long-term sustainability.

Sri Lankans are looking ahead to crops that will help diversify the land, like spices. Planting cinnamon, clove, and more alongside tea in small family-owned gardens adds biodiversity and increases resilience against climate change. While Sri Lanka is known for its tea, these farmers were searching for an opportunity to promote spices in the global market. 

Co-founder Julie combined her knowledge of tea production with her mission to support local farmers to innovate a new product—single-serve spices for mulled wine. Julie pitched the idea to her two friends, Sony Salzman and Raegan Allsbrook, while they were on a documentary trip to Kandy for Julie’s tea business. During the interviews with local farmers, the three witnessed how climate change was affecting this community and committed to help find a sustainable solution: Mullin. Single-serve mulling spices that could be enjoyed globally, and support Fairtrade farmers locally.