THE ENTREPRENEUR'S JOURNEY: LESSONS FROM LATE JULY SNACKS
Late July Snacks founder Nicole Bernard Dawes discussed her journey as an entrepreneur and the tough decisions founders need to make in order to survive. Founded as a cracker brand and later adding cookies, Late July’s first seven years saw the company grow to about $8 million in annual sales. But after the sudden death of her business partner — her father — the company needed to make radical changes to survive. In 2010 Late July discontinued its cookie line and released a line of tortilla chips. The decision paid off and sales skyrocketed from $8 million to more than $130 million in 2018. While one key takeaway was knowing when to kill your darlings, Dawes emphasized the significance of creating trust with the consumer and with your employees by cultivating a strong internal culture.
INDUSTRY ALL STARS HAVE SPOKEN AT NOSH LIVE
Co-Founder & CEO, Siete Family Foods
Kara Cissell Roell
Co-Founder & Managing Director, VMG Partners
Kara co-founded VMG Partners in 2005 and focuses on all aspects of the Fund’s investment strategy, sourcing, execution, portfolio company oversight and exit management. Since its inception, VMG has partnered with entrepreneurs and management teams to provide a breadth of value-add resources in the areas of sales, marketing, branding, finance, operations and legal support which enable its partner companies to rapidly increase brand awareness, accelerate growth and build equity value. Kara serves, or has served, on the boards of babyganics, Bare Snacks, Drunk Elephant, Health Warrior, Humm Kombucha, KIND Snacks, Pirate Brands, Pretzel Crisps, Quest Nutrition, Solid Gold Pet, Sun Bum, Waggin’ Train and Vermont Smoke & Cure, among others. Kara has been an investor in emerging, lower-middle-market branded consumer companies for the last 18 years. Prior to her private equity career, Kara was an Analyst at the investment bank of Schroders plc and received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and German from Colgate University.
Co-Founder and CEO, Sir Kensington's
Mark Ramadan is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sir Kensington's, creators of all-natural, globally inspired condiments. While attending Brown University, Ramadan and his classmate, Scott Norton, were inspired by an article penned by Malcolm Gladwell, titled “The Ketchup Conundrum,” which suggested that it was impossible for new ketchup brands to compete with the nostalgic incumbent, Heinz. From there, Ramadan and Norton made it their mission to disrupt the broader condiment category by not only focusing on taste, but by building a brand identity that celebrated both food education and food entertainment. After two years of testing recipes and creating Sir Kensington’s story, the company launched in June 2010. Prior to Sir Kensington's, Ramadan worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company in New York City, specializing in the consumer goods and travel industries. While completing his undergraduate program at Brown University, Ramadan gained experience at the financial companies Goldman Sachs and Oberon Securities. He graduated in 2008 from Brown with a BA in Economics and International Relations. Ramadan has been featured on Fast Company’s “1000 Most Creative People in Business” and Forbes’ “30 under 30” list.
Managing Director, CircleUp
Alison Ryu is a Managing Director at CircleUp, the investment platform providing capital and resources to early-stage consumer brands. In her role, Alison leads investments out of CircleUp Growth Partners, a data-driven, scalable fund which leverages CircleUp's proprietary technology Helio to invest in visionary founders. Prior to CircleUp, Alison was a Vice President at TSG Consumer, where she invested in consumer and retail brands. She also spent a year on the executive team of Backcountry.com, one of the TSG Consumer portfolio companies, where she led brand marketing and product development. Before TSG, Alison worked in investment banking at J.P. Morgan in the Consumer & Retail Group.
President & CEO, ONE Brands
A seasoned food veteran with a knack for accelerating sales, Peter Burns joined the ONE team in 2017 as a next step in his impressive career in the food and beverage industry. Most recently, Burns led Justin’s Nut Butter as President and CEO. Working hand-in-hand with founder and namesake Justin Gold, Burns developed and executed a successful 2-year plan culminating in a $286 million acquisition by Hormel. Prior to this, Burns left a trail of success in positions such as President of Celestial Seasonings and CSO of Hain Celestial USA, where he performed CEO-like responsibilities and focused on sales growth and volume forecasting in dominant retailers across the US, leading to 20 consecutive quarters of top and bottom line growth. Burns was tapped as a leader for ONE by renowned venture capital fund CAVU, founded by CPG veterans Rohan Oza, Clayton Christopher, and Brett Thomas. His 20+ years of experience is anchored in sales, most notably as President of Sales and Marketing at Jones Soda Co, and before that as the Vice President of Sales at IZZE Beverage Company. At IZZE, Burns developed a long-term strategic plan that achieved $20 million in sales in less than two years. He also held senior executive positions at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation and The Hershey Company. Burns is a graduate of Randolph Macon College and currently resides in Boulder, Colorado.
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.
Founder & CEO, Daily Harvest
Rachel Drori is the founder and CEO of Daily Harvest, the direct-to-consumer brand blending health and innovation to provide delicious superfoods straight to your freezer. Founded in 2015, Daily Harvest was launched as a solution to Rachel’s own daily challenge: squeezing in healthy, nutritious meals into her busy life. From the early days of hand-delivering homemade smoothies from her car, Rachel has built Daily Harvest into one of the fastest-growing nutritional food brands in the U.S. The company has over 100k subscribers, delivering activated breakfast bowls, “nice cream” sundaes, and soups to freezers across the U.S. Today, Rachel continues to reimagine ‘frozen fresh’ to make health foods convenient without sacrificing nutrition or taste. Prior to founding Daily Harvest, Rachel harnessed her skills as a customer-centric marketing executive, leading teams at Gilt Groupe, American Express, and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She currently resides in New York City with her family.
Managing Director, Houlihan Lokey
Mr. Novak is the Global Head of Houlihan Lokey’s Consumer, Food & Retail Group. He focuses most of his time leading transactions in the high-growth segments within Food & Beverage, including the better-for-you and health and wellness brands. He serves on the firm’s Management Committee and leads a group of approximately 60 consumer professionals worldwide. Since joining Houlihan Lokey in 1996, Mr. Novak has led more than 200 corporate finance engagements involving M&A, debt financings, and corporate restructurings. He has handled assignments for food, consumer products, retail, entertainment, and manufacturing companies. Prior to joining Houlihan Lokey, Mr. Novak spent five years in international investment banking, serving highly leveraged middle-market and Fortune 500 multinational corporate clients, primarily in consumer-branded goods. Mr. Novak also spent two years in the investment banking department at Kidder, Peabody & Co., where he specialized in M&A and debt and equity underwriting.
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.