Roman Jewell, Founder and CEO of NZ cult nut butter brand Fix & Fogg, knows about the perseverance it takes to run a business. He sieved all the crunchy pieces for his crunchy peanut butter by hand for a year and a half.
It was all about “stretching the rubber band” and doing what he could himself. Including making his first batches of nut butter in a lawn bowls club on Friday nights for the Saturday market. “There wasn’t a commercial kitchen, so we did what we needed to.”
Jewell is the first in a series of speakers for Prove It, COIN South’s new 12 week incubator. He shared insights with the 13 participating startups during a founder lunch and to a packed room at Bill Richardson Transport World on Wednesday. Lou Evans, Chief Activator of COIN South was ecstatic about both events. “Food always brings people together, and the shared experiences and generosity of knowledge at this first Prove It lunch was outstanding”.
“Our hour long founder lunch stretched and stretched, no one wanted to leave. Insights from Roman were incredible, but the simple sharing of resources, like where to get the best glass jars, or where to find the best sustainable packaging proved how important being around like minded people when starting a business actually is”.
Roman applauded the team at COIN for their organisation of Prove It, “I wish I’d had this seven years ago. All these like-minded people in a room, being able to share and incubate ideas.”
Roman and his wife Andrea were both successful international corporate lawyers, but they knew they wanted something more meaningful, sustainable- and delicious. Together, they developed and refined their product from a hole in the wall store in Wellington to where it is today seven years later stocked in almost 1000 US supermarkets including Wholefoods. Fix & Fogg also have several accolades and awards under their belt, the most recent being named as a finalist in the 2021 Natural Products Expo West NEXTYs for their Everything Butter.
Roman explained to the founders to start small and grow from there. “Own your home base,” he says. “We work an inch wide and a mile deep.”
COIN South’s Prove It course is designed to help businesses reach a specific goal through mentoring, connections and founder meetups. “The calibre of the businesses already is incredible. If this is week one, I cannot imagine how much they can achieve together by July” Evans commented.
The next public event will be on 12 May with Anton Matthews from FUSH and Hustle Group. To keep up to date with the other COIN South events head to COIN South’s Facebook page or coinsouth.nz