Justin Gold: Growing a Food Startup (The DOcast)

April 20, 2013 - 7 comments. Written by in Entrepreneurship, The DOcast.

Justin Gold at his peanut butter lab (his office)

Justin Gold at his Peanut Butter Lab (his office)

When Justin was in college, he would make his own organic & natural peanut-butter and store it in the fridge to save up on money. Over time his roommates would eat it all before he got to it, so he simply put his name on the jar to let everyone know who is was for. That just gave them a name to ask for it, then everyone wanted that “Justin’s” peanut butter in that was always in the fridge. Now, Justin’s is a multi-million dollar business that ships their natural nut-butters worldwide.

I had a chance to sit down with him at his office in Boulder, CO, to talk about nuts, his journey, and how he built it.

Be sure to get a pen and a pad, his story is jam-packed with ideas and tips to grow your business.

Interview with Justin Gold

Sponsored by: Hanley’s Foods — Louisiana-inspired, natural, fresh foods.

  • Where are you from, where did all this start? (1:44)
  • The Civil Action by Jonathan Harr (book reference)
  • I heard that Boulder, CO had a great environment. (4:46)
  • I was eating a log of peanut/almond butter for protein. (6:40)
  • What would you say to someone who wants to bring their product to the farmer’s market? (8:11)
  • “You’re first case is free, if it doesn’t sell — give it away.”
  • What do I have to do to get in this store? (11:28)
  • “I had no idea what I was doing.”
  • I found real-life business plans and wrote my own. (14:38)
  • Started to make our peanut butter at a salsa company. (16:30)
  • I made my labels myself (see photo).
  • I get the idea, wouldn’t it be cool to have a protein pack instead of this sugary gel pack? (18:49)
  • “With adversity comes opportunity.”
  • How to raise $120,000 to buy a squeeze pack machine. (21:40)
  • How did you promote your product? (23:25)
  • “It’s really good to get consensus when you’re looking backwards.”
  • We appreciate you for sending us the samples, but we are going to decline. (25:00)
  • “What I did was a Hail Mary.”
  • It became all of these things I didn’t even dream it could be. (27:40)
  • I found a local food manufacture and asked if they could run my equipment 24/7. (28:45)
  • 4 years into my business. (29:20)
  • “I need to hire people that are smarter than I am.”
  • The only way I CAN grow is if I have money. (30:53)
  • I knew I had to find someone to be an inside mentor. (31:49)
  • “I can’t work for peanuts… literally.”
  • How did you find mentors? (33:08)
  • “A mentor has to have two things: 1) Grey hair, 2) Time.”
  • 2009 was a really hard year. (34:43)
  • “I raised 1 Million bucks from 50 individual people.”
  • For the first 4 years, we didn’t plan to be profitable. (36:20)
  • The only time I went against my board. (37:56)
  • We now have manufacturing facilities across the country. (40:00)
  • “You hire for where you’re going, not where you are.”
  • What’s happening this year. (42:50)
  • What’s one piece of advice for getting your food product out there? (43:15)
  • “What’s the glue that separates success from failure?”
  • What else do you like to do? (44:55)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Digital Detox (46:00)
  • What’s a book, a song, and a quote that you love? (46:51)
  • What’s next and where can people find you? (50:19)

Check out Justin at:
Stores: Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Target, Safeway, Krogers, or any natural/speciality food stores.
Website: Justins.com
Twitter: @Justins
Facebook: Facebook.com/JustinsNutButter

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  • Julie Hall

    I love this story and now I love his peanut butter even more! Great interview guys, keep it up!

    • http://www.richardhanleyjr.com/ Richard Hanley Jr.

      Thanks Julie :) Justin is a true leader, and has greatly helped me grow my company.

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  • Reed

    Amazing interview, I’m starting a food company and this is really helpful.

  • FireKicker

    Fantastic Interview. I want to start bottling a dressing, and it’s nice to hear the back-end of a food start up and some of the hurdles to watch and prepare for. Thanks!

    • http://www.richardhanleyjr.com/ Richard Hanley Jr.

      Thanks, let me know if you have any questions — I’ll be happy to help, good luck!

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