This year’s SelectUSA Investment Summit will be virtual featuring 100+ virtual sessions, with access to investors/U.S. economic development organisations (full details in the link below).
Roman Jewell, co-founder of Fix & Fogg had a chance to attend the SelectUSA Summit back in 2019, and shares his U.S. story below.
Take it away Roman…
Tell us about Fix and Fogg and how it all started…also how did you get the name Fix and Fogg?
My wife and I started Fix & Fogg seven years ago when we were expecting our first child. Previously both lawyers, we made the choice to leave behind the corporate life and dedicate our time and energy to creating something meaningful, sustainable, and delicious. We started selling our products at local farmer’s markets and are now available throughout New Zealand, Singapore … and more-and-more in the United States.
Our name comes from two characters from the classic 1873 adventure novel, Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne: Phileas Fogg and Detective Fix. Like the story, the idea of embarking on a great journey, taking risks and trying new things resonated with us – you can get a taste for it in our unusual peanut butter varieties, innovative packaging and although we’re not quite sold in 80 countries around the world we are slowly but surely getting there!
What’s your favorite Fix and Fogg peanut butter?
My go-to is always the classic Super Crunchy, but I do love the Smoke and Fire on toast with avocado or even just some roast veggies.
Tell us about your SelectUSA Summit experience?
I travelled to SelectUSA Summit in 2019 with a number of other SME New Zealand businesses. Prior to signing up to the Summit, I didn’t have a great deal of understanding on the likely value of the event. However, I’m glad I attended.
During the Summit, I met with a large number of people during the summit – by way of formal meetings and social networking gatherings. My focus was to deepen my understanding about setting up business in the United States; the opportunities available between different States and counties; and connecting with partners who could help us establish a long-term presence in America.
My time at the Summit was so successful that I extended my trip to follow up on key meetings and leads. Since attending SelectUSA, we’ve partnered with a manufacturer, engaged a national sales team, and employ 4 people in our Texas Head Office.
The Summit has been a foundational learning piece for us in our United States journey.
When did you decide to look at expanding to the U.S.? How did this come about?
The United States has always been a focus of ours – it’s the largest nut butter market in the world so presents a huge opportunity for our business (albeit with significant challenges and competition). We started slowly by selling online (via Amazon) for a few years before properly ‘going to market’ and building a team on the ground.
It’s been a massive leap but we are proud to be taking our Kiwi story, unwavering values and award-winning nut butters to the United States.
How much did the SelectUSA Summit experience indirectly/directly help with your expansions to the U.S.?
The SelectUSA Summit helped our business better understand opportunities within the United States at both a State and business level. We made a number of useful connections which were instrumental in our set out in America – some of these relationships have turned into formal partnerships, which are still relevant today.
As a company founder, how important is networking…the hustle during the startup days of a business?
Networking is a big part of my role – connecting with people who can help open doors for us in an important way for us to grow our business – particularly in such a complex and competitive market like the United States. The ‘founder story’ is also one that resonates with Americans, so this has been something I’ve needed to promote personally.
Where can Americans find Fix and Fogg now in the U.S.?
We are sold in Sprouts Farmers Market (363 stores in 36 States), Central Market stores in Texas and several other select smaller stockists across the country. We also sell online through Thrive Market, Amazon and fixandfogg.com.
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