Foot on the ladder: start-up Nix and Kix

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

From finance to the world of adult soft drinks, Nix & Kix chronicle their challenges in getting to market
From finance to the world of adult soft drinks, Nix & Kix chronicle their challenges in getting to market

Related tags Drinks start-up

In this exclusive interview, Nix & Kix co-founders Kerstin Robinson and Julia Kessler discuss their history and the challenges they faced in setting up their own drinks company.

From their financial background, the pair developed their drinks brand after identifying a gap in the market for adult soft drinks. They saw an opportunity for their product not only as a replacement for alcoholic drinks, but also as an alternative to tea and coffee during the day.

Commenting on their start, Robinson said: “We were a bit naïve at the time, thinking ‘how hard could it be to make our own drink?’, but we had the passion and we saw a real opportunity there – and hopefully our journey has proven there was a big opportunity.”

Kessler added: “One of the biggest hurdles – and still is – is working capital. We work with great manufacturers and great partners, but minimum order quantities are really high.

Faith in the product

“When you launch a new idea or new concept you have to commit to a lot of stock and if it doesn’t work out – which, thankfully, didn’t happen to us – it’s a big commitment​ [in the hope] it will work.If that leap of faith doesn’t work, you can be left with a warehouse full of product hoping somebody buys it.”

For entrepreneurs hoping to follow in Nix & Kix’s footsteps, Robinson and Kessler warned there would be hurdles along the way, but advised not to try and face them alone.

“There are so many ways to grow and sometimes you have to make a mistake to be able to learn and move forwards,”​ said Robinson.

“It’s definitely not an easy journey. You have to expect a lot of hurdles along the way. But if you are stuck there are other people in the industry who have had similar challenges to yours before and they can help. They know how hard it is, so don’t be afraid to reach out to people.”

Support network

Kessler echoed these sentiments and added that seeking partners that bolstered the skills you might be lacking could help on the path to success. Having a support network enabled start-ups to focus on the areas they were passionate about while being supported in the areas they were not, she said.

“What a lot of entrepreneurs think is that they’re going to do it all and be great at everything, but the reality is you have your strengths, so focus on them​,” she concluded.

Nix & Kix claims to have sold more than five million products across 7,500 distribution points and are now being sold across the UK, Europe and the Middle East. Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Ocado and Waitrose now carry its drinks, as well as convenience propositions such as BP petrol forecourt stores and casual dining outlets including Nandos.

Meanwhile, start-up Tribal Sports Nutrition has netted £421k through Crowdcube fundraising​, well over its original target of £250k set on 7 December.

Related topics People & Skills Drinks Start-ups

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