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Fix & Fogg nuts out booming business plan

27 May 2021

College has launched its special Business Banter events by hosting Fix & Fogg Chief Executive Roman Jewell, the co-founder of a highly successful nut butter business.

Roman shared his innovative and sustainable journey – from Wellington farmers’ markets to hundreds of American supermarkets – with a big audience in the College Assembly Hall on Wednesday evening.

From whipping up a special peanut butter recipe in a tiny kitchen at a lawn bowls club to taking on the big names, the multi-award-winning Fix & Fogg nut butters are now exported around the world as the company continues its commitment to creativity and sustainability. Founded in 2013, the business also gives back to the community, supporting a wide range of charities.

Roman’s business mantra is simple: “Persistence beats resistance. That will get you to where you want to go eventually. It might not be a linear journey, but there is nothing wrong with that. It’s often the side roads and random bits that are the most exciting.”

He believes that business should be a “force for good” and a worthwhile endeavor.

“In the food business, it should be meaningful, sustainable and delicious.”

He has gone on the road to share his journey with a wider audience because it is important to “pay it forward and give it back”.

“Customers who have come along and have been buying our products for six or seven years – it’s about sharing the story with them, and then it’s paying it forward for all the other businesses that have helped us on this journey,” Roman says.

“If I can help someone in the audience who has got a business or is thinking about something or is struggling with something – that’s a really good thing.” 

Roman acknowledges that the company’s move into overseas market has been challenging.

“We have encountered failures through a lack of knowledge, expertise and understanding the market. We spent two years trying to understand how to talk to the American consumer. We have been lucky in that the failures haven’t killed the business.”

Roman says Fix & Fogg has focused on the American market because it is the biggest challenge – the largest nut butter market in the world, but also the most competitive.

Throughout the journey, the company has protected its cash flow and been ever-evolving.

“We pushed the business where we didn’t see a profit for a long time as everything was pushed back into growth. Any money that was made went back into the business,” he says.

“We have put ourselves under immense pressure to continue to innovate so the business has never stood still. And I think that builds resistance by having that mindset.”

Roman says while the business is profitable now, it took a few years to have a financially sustainable business.

He believes that the company’s international success indicates the “great grounding” New Zealand offers in business, with the local market demanding good quality.

“It’s a hyper-competitive market – you have to be top of your game if you are going to succeed here,” he points out.

Roman says despite the geographical challenges, freight costs and distance, “Kiwis are good under pressure” and have great self-belief to succeed.

Hosted by Christ’s College, Business Banter offers the opportunity for a wider audience to learn – and benefit from – stories of homegrown business success. 

Watch out for details on our next Business Banter at 7am on June 30 with the former Chief Operating Officer of accounting software platform Xero – and College Old Boy – Alastair Grigg – click here to book.

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