For budding food and beverage entrepreneurs, early decisions can have long-term ramifications because they ultimately impact one key asset: cash on hand. That’s why BevNET’s FBU Chicago event will look hard at several of the tough choices new brands face as they enter the market and grow.
One major area of expenditure is package design: does a new company preserve cash by going with the stock package offered by a supplier, or built out its identity through a proprietary package that will stand out from other offerings in a category? If it’s a new category, the choice of package can be even more of a concern — standing out can define that category for the consumer for years to come, while unimaginative design can leave a new product vulnerable to flashier competition.
To fully frame the decision, Liam Hawry, the Director of Industrial Design for Packaging at Studio One Eleven will speak to FBU attendees about the factors that go into packaging for nascent food and beverage companies, including business model basics that take into account costs and manufacturer requirements, an overview of different areas available for customization, and ways that stock packaging can be deployed effectively.
Another hard decision for entrepreneurs – particularly food companies – is the moment when outsourced manufacturing (co-packing) becomes a requirement for growth. FBU Chicago will feature a brand that has recently gone through that “teachable moment” with a talk by Ari Sherman, the President and Co-Founder of Evo, a brand of hemp-based nutrition bars that is currently expanding on a national scale. Up until six months ago, the brand was put together and packaged in a variety of venues — from catering and commissaries to the night shift at a burrito plant — but the choice to outsource loomed, creating a new set of choices.
Small brands can produce nimbly for a while, but for most, the decision to move to co-packing is a point of real commitment in terms of both cash and organization; brands are moving into a partnership, they will have more product on hand, and supply chain, sales execution, and growth forecasting come into play. Mr. Sherman will discuss his own brand’s move into an outsourced facility, the factors that led him there, and the ways the business has changed under the new arrangement. His talk, combined with a direct lesson on co-packing from Eric Skae, the founder of the Bricktown Consulting Group, will offer attendees a set of best practices for the process of finding and managing co-packers — while also managing their own brands, as well.
Combining the stories of entrepreneurs, experts, and service providers into a cohesive learning and teaching community is what FBU is all about. Tickets are still available for FBU Chicago, which will be held on April 30 at Moonlight Studios, 1446 West Kinzie in Chicago. Please contact Jon Landis for attendance information.
Early Bird registration is available now through March 30th. Discounted opportunities exist for active BevnetFBU.com subscribers, please contact Jon Landis at (617) 231-8834 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Interested in gaining exposure with up-and-coming food and beverage brands? Sponsorship opportunities for FBU Chicago 2015 are still available, please direct all inquires to John McKenna at (617) 231-8825 or email@example.com.
About BevNET FBU:
FBU one-day events are designed to provide a full-day kick-start for early-stage food and beverage entrepreneurs. It will walk entrepreneurs and their teams through through the key decisions and challenges that accompany early growth, from commercialization, co-packing, and product design through the hard decisions that accompany structuring a company and a sales force, reaching key distribution and retail decision-makers, and marketing products, all while maintaining solid businesses that can attract growth capital. Always friendly, timely, and well-managed, FBU events feature opportunities to maximize both learning opportunities through interaction with speakers and entrepreneurs, as well as the chance for entrepreneurs to sample their products for the audience.
About Liam Hawry:
As Director of Industrial Design for Packaging at Studio One Eleven, Liam has been helping companies grow via consumer-packaged goods branding for more than a decade. A Chicago native with a BFA in Industrial Design from Syracuse University, Liam worked for several Chicago area design consultancies in package and product categories prior to joining Studio One Eleven in 2005. He has led projects to support brands such as Downy, Softsoap, Morton Salt, Walgreen’s Delish, McDonald’s, Miller Lite, Hidden Valley Ranch, and 1800 Tequila, and also brought several of his own ‘green’ housewares to market through a company he co-founded in 2003, Normal Design LLC.
About Ari Sherman:
Ari Sherman, the president and co-founder of Hemp Health LLC, was born in Denver, Colorado and is 28 years old. After graduating from Arapahoe High School he attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. He later studied business at Portland State University in Oregon. After graduating he moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to work for a real estate investor. He then returned to Colorado to start a business in the natural products industry. Ari and his roommate Jourdan Samel then founded Hemp Health LLC. A couple of years later their flagship product, the Evo Hemp bar, is distributed to retailers nationwide. The business continues to grow and Ari spends his time developing new and innovative products.