"HOW TO BUILD, WHEN TO SELL" WITH HOULIHAN LOKEY
Jay Novak and Brandon Ng of investment bank Houlihan Lokey share insights on how to build brands and when to sell them at NOSH Live Winter 2018 in Santa Monica. “Big Food” knows it needs to change and look towards smaller, slow growth brands that have the potential to scale. As brands that emphasize simple ingredients, nutritional value, convenience and health benefits continue to resonate with consumers, larger companies are looking to those brands to gain relevance with those consumers and acquire new talent for modernizing brand building.
INDUSTRY ALL STARS HAVE SPOKEN AT NOSH LIVE
Director of Ice Cream North America, Unilever
Leslie Miller, Director of Ice Cream North America, has spent most of her career at Unilever in brand and general management, sharing happiness through the joys of ice cream and ensuring America has great skincare through her days on Axe and Simple. Currently, Leslie manages the Lean Like a Start-up world in ice cream and the wonders of brands like Magnum and Talenti. She also just launched and developed a new probiotic ice cream brand, Culture Republick. In her current role leading the category, Leslie looks after the digital, e-commerce, partnership and acquisition strategies for the entire category that includes Breyers and Ben & Jerrys. Partnering with R&D, the best in class tech companies and trend specialists, Leslie is building the future of ice cream right here in America. Leslie started her time at Unilever on Klondike, reinventing the classic “What Would You Do for a Klondike Bar?” and driving the brand to double digital growth. She also reinvented Good Humor, bringing back the iconic ice cream truck. Additionally, Leslie experienced the joys of leading Klondike, Magnum, Popsicle and Good Humor product and advertising development, a portfolio of over $600M. Her Unilever experience also includes launching the British sensitive skin brand, Simple, into the NA landscape and keeping young men clean with Axe Personal Wash. Equally passionate about changing the world, Leslie started her career working at the American Cancer Society, raising over $1M for the fight against cancer. She loves mentoring teams and people, running half marathons and her home state of Wisconsin. She clearly loves cheese and the Packers, too.
Founder, Green Park Brands & HIPPEAS
Founder & CEO, PieShell
For Cheryl Clements, food is personal. It’s about connection. Growing up, in Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada, Cheryl spent summers helping her mother run a pie business, with help from her Dad and brother they made close to 10,000 pies. Aptly named The Pie Shell, it was headquartered where all good startups begin; the family’s basement. After working as an accountant for 5 years, Cheryl had the opportunity to take on the tech world. She jumped at the change and for more than 15 years, she was an independent contractor, becoming a highly sought-after Senior Program/Project Manager; working with major corporations such as Hershey, General Mills, and Miller Beer and overseeing the implementation of SAP – the world’s largest enterprise resource planning software. But while this work was immensely satisfying, Cheryl yearned to do something more personal and a couple of years ago she explored crowdfunding to start her own business based on her Mom’s infamous salad dressing. As she delved into her research, it quickly became apparent that with a 75% failure rate the existing sites were clearly lacking, at least for food and beverage companies. Cheryl quickly realized that the world needed a better crowdfunding solution for food-oriented businesses, more than another salad dressing. Cheryl brings the same effective project management and forward-thinking to PieShell so all “PieShellers,” both campaigners and supporters alike, can be sure that their experience on the site is engaging, seamless and meaningful. She understands the mix of hard work, commitment, and passions that drive every entrepreneur and looks forward to helping them realize their dreams. It was from her mother that Cheryl learned what it takes to build a successful food operation, but more than that, she learned how communities grow around the food that people share. Cheryl lives in New York City with her husband, Adrian, and yes she proudly serves up her Mom’s salad dressing when entertaining!
CEO, Kodiak Cakes
Joel Clark began selling homemade flapjack mixes out of his red wagon at just 8 years old. Years later, Joel’s brother Jon took the family pancake recipe and started Kodiak Cakes in 1995. Joel took over the company in 1997 while going to college and working other jobs to keep the fledgling pancake business alive, and has been running the company ever since. Headquartered in Park City, Utah, Kodiak Cakes has grown into a multimillion dollar business with products in multiple grocery categories. Joel went to school for his undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Utah, and then went on to get his MBA at Oxford University in England.
Founder/Co-CEO, Halen Brands
Jason Cohen, Founder/Co-CEO, co-founded Mamma Says, Inc. in 1999, a food manufacturing company that produced biscotti. He grew the business from concept to gaining distribution at retail giants such as Costco, BJ’s and Trader Joe’s. In a few years, the company was able to establish a national brand where sales volume doubled year-over- year. In 2005, the business was sold to NONNIS Inc., a portfolio brand of Windpoint Partners for 4x revenue. In 2005, Jason co-founded World Gourmet Marketing, creating better-for- you snacks under the flagship brand Sensible Portions, which included all-natural, low-calorie snacks such as Veggie Straws, Pita Bites and Multi Grain Crisps. Again, his strategic plan was to sell into large format retailers such as Costco first. He then moved on to vendors such as BJ’s, Wal-Mart, Sam’s, ShopRite, Safeway, SuperValu, etc. Under his management, the company achieved double-digit growth and became one of the fastest rising snack food industry purveyors. The company went from $4MM in sales in 2005 to just under $100MM in 2009. In 2010, World Gourmet (and the Sensible Portions brand) sold for $110MM to The Hain Celestial Group, one of the leading providers of organic and natural foods. While at Hain Celestial, Jason served as President of Club and Snack Division, and was responsible for executing the sales strategy for brands such as Terra, Garden of Eatin’ and Sensible Portions. In 2011, Jason founded Rickland Orchards, the first shelf stable Greek yogurt brand. In October 2013, after sales soared to $50 million in just 18 months, the company was sold for $57.5 million to B&G Foods, a public company. In 2013, Jason partnered with the founders of SkinnyPop. SkinnyPop successfully went public in 2015 for 1.4 billion in shareholder value. In 2014, Jason received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Excellence in Emerging category in the New Jersey region. In January 2015, Jason co-founded Halen Brands, Inc., which quickly funded Chef’s Cut Real Jerky in March 2015. Halen Brands then purchased Rex’s Outrageous Road Crew Crunch in September 2015 and most recently partnered with Core Hydration in June 2016. Jason has also invested, raised capital, and previously or currently holds Board Member positions for various companies, mostly in the consumer products space including : Dippin’ Chips and Mrs. Thinster’s, Voli Vodka, Pearl Media, and two apparel companies - Trukfit and Asphalt Yacht Club.
CEO and Co-Founder, CircleUp
Ryan Caldbeck is the CEO and cofounder of CircleUp, the platform providing capital and resources to innovative, early-stage consumer brands, and opportunities for sophisticated investors. Ryan founded CircleUp after nearly seven years of investing experience in consumer product and retail-focused private equity at TSG Consumer Partners and Encore Consumer Capital. The experience exposed him to many great consumer and retail businesses too small to obtain funding through the customary private equity channels. Inspired by these often-overlooked opportunities, he founded CircleUp to make funding available to promising companies. Ryan has been recognized as a “Titan of Retail” by Bloomberg and “40 Under 40” by both M&A Advisors and the San Francisco Business Times.
COO & Co-Founder, Perfect Bar
Leigh Keith is Perfect Bar, LLC’s Co-founder and COO, who at 19 years old launched the brand that revolutionized the highly-competitive functional foods category by producing The Original Refrigerated Protein Bar. Alongside older brother and CEO Bill, and their 11 siblings, Leigh has played an integral role in the continued success of Perfect Bar with functions spanning all facets of the company, including marketing, accounting, operations and human resources; having grown the company, today, to nearly 100 employees. Over the course of 13 years, Leigh has been consistent in her leadership style, grounded in the family culture and work-life balance on which the brand was founded. As COO, she remains steadfast in building healthy communities from the inside out, which is evident by the Perfect Bar’s clean ingredient labels, industry accolades, employee volunteer and benefits package, and regular donations to hundreds of charities each year. Learn more at www.perfectbar.com.
Founder, The Goods Mart, Krupa Consulting
Over the last decade Rachel Krupa, founder of boutique PR firm Krupa Consulting, has launched incredible brands and discovered amazing products that share a common ethos – mindful practices, well-created natural foods and products, and a mission to do better. She has launched Thrive Market, Tastemade, Barnana, Brownie Brittle, goop Wellness, Sweetfin Poke, and Maman, also playing an integral role in the growth of Joe & the Juice’s in the U.S., Good Culture cottage cheese, Pukka Tea, MatchaBar, McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream as well as West Coast expansion of Milk Bar and Shake Shack. Her reach has also extended into culinary awareness for revolutionary festivals like Coachella, Arroyo Seco, Eat Drink Vegan, and Panorama. Inspired to inspire others by the restaurants, snack brands, and wellness thought leaders that she’s worked with – all passionate about ingredient quality, ethical sourcing, and consciously created business – in 2018, Rachel opened The Goods Mart, a socially conscious convenience store. The Goods Mart has curated mission driven upgrades to standard store staples that are not only delicious but also better-for-you and the environment. The Goods is a new kind of destination where neighbors get to know each other while grabbing a sustainable coffee for $1.25, a dye-free candy bar, a tasty local artisanal sandwich, chips, or the essentials – eggs, toilet paper, and milk – all the while giving back to local charities. There are two TGM locations: Silver Lake, CA and New York, NY.
NEXT CONFERENCE: NOSH LIVE SUMMER 2019 IN NEW YORK CITY
The next NOSH Live conference takes place at the Metropolitan West in New York, NY on June 10th and 11th. More than 300 natural food industry founder and executives come together to move their businesses forward and discover what's next for the industry. Plan ahead and secure your seat at the two-day conference for the natural food industry. Register today to save $200 per ticket.