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5 brand leaders share their secrets to natural products industry success5 brand leaders share their secrets to natural products industry success

New Hope Network’s Deanna Pogorelc sits down with five movers and shakers in the natural products industry whose companies are at the top of their game, including some who’ve gone through recent corporate acquisition. Learn about the highs and lows these entrepreneurs experienced to get to where they are today, and what advice they have for newcomers.

2 Min Read
5 brand leaders share their secrets to natural products industry success

"We in this room ... we're the dreamer of dreams. We can all be our own Willy Wonka ... we have to sometimes think ahead, and understand what is it a consumer doesn't know they need yet, which is sometimes a great idea and sometimes an utter failure. But unless you put it out there, you're never going to know."

—Justin Gold, Justin's Nut Butter

Part 1: Meet the makers


  • Chris Campbell, Chameleon Cold Brew: Timing was very serendipitous. 

  • Justin Gold, Justin's Nut Butter: A sense of urgency to grow the brand. 

  • Siggi Hilmarsson, Siggi's: There was too much sugar in American yogurt. 

  • Katie Forrest, Epic Provisions: The entire product line now fits a whole-animal approach. 

  • Lizzi Ackerman, Birch Benders: Now we're the No. 1 natural pancake mix.



Part 2: Filtering advice, making critical decisions


  • Trust your gut, even if it doesn't seem logical. 

  • If the market's efficient, somebody's already done it. The reason you exist as an entrepreneur is because it's not in the data, Hilmarsson said. 

  • Our company wouldn't have existed if we went solely off the feedback we received about launching a meat bar, Forrest said. Some people thought it was the worst idea ever.

  • Learning price pack architecture the hard way. 


Part 3: Knowing how to hire, adapting the founder role


  • Sometimes you have to make decisions based on your culture, not their skill sets. 

  • Find someone who can grow with your business.

  • Having the founder there and being involved makes all the difference. I don't want them to mess up my brand, and that's not going to happen on my watch, Gold said.


Part 4: Finding investors, strategies for distribution 


  • Approaching investors and how the founders went about raising money. 

  • How Epic Provisions went an unconventional route and found the perfect Angel investor. 

  • The importance of eliminating the most risk you can before finding investors. 

  • Advice for entrepreneurs about distribution channel strategies and approaching retail stores. 


Part 5: Mantras and margins


  • The founder's mantras and general philosophies for leadership. 

  • How have margins changed from infancy to now? 

  • Campbell speaks to the importance of making sure you have the best deal structure with the very first investor.

  • How to approach budgeting for marketing when you are first starting out. 

This session—From Infancy to Category Leaders: Founders Share Secrets for Success—was recorded at Natural Products Expo West 2018. 

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