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Soft drinks brand Nix & Kix was born when co-founders Kerstin and Julia couldn’t find any exciting non-alcoholic options. So, they developed a suite of innovative recipes, made with 100% natural ingredients, sparkling water and a pinch of zing – unlike anything available on the market.
Fast forward a few years, and Nix & Kix has sold 5 million products and secured over 7,500 distribution points including Tesco, Waitrose, Nando’s and BP.
We sat down with the team to find out how the drinks brand supercharged it’s growth up to now, and what’s in store for the future.
What makes Nix & Kix different in the soft drinks market?
Our drinks stand out because we offer an exciting taste profile without the need for any added sugar, artificial sweeteners or other bad ingredients. We’re very proud of the product we’ve created and have won a number of Great Taste awards to prove it.
What made you decide to finally start this business?
We couldn’t find any tasty non-alcoholic drink options when we went out at night. Equally, in the afternoon we were struggling to find a pick-me-up beverage that wasn’t full of sugar.
What does competition look like in the soft drinks space?
There is a lot of competition in the soft drinks space and most (around 90%) of businesses in this sector fail in the first year. However, there are great opportunities within the category for brands like us as consumer demands have been changing and there are hardly any soft drinks to meet those needs. It’s been four years since we launched our drinks – and for almost all this time we have been stocked by some of the largest retailers in the UK, who are usually very picky about what to put on the shelf in the first place and what to keep there over a longer period of time. We know from shopper data that we bring new customers into the category, we really do fill a gap in the market.
How have you built a supply chain that’s efficient and scalable to cope with future growth?
We have made sure we work with partners that firstly have all the necessary accreditations, but also understand our vision for the brand and product and our ambition. When we were first starting off, finding an ingredient supplier and manufacturer was tricky, but luckily our partners could see the potential early on and took us on even though we are probably one of their smallest customers.
What have been some of the biggest milestones for the company to date?
All major supermarket or restaurant chain launches were amazing moments for the brand and the team. We also undertook a packaging re-brand last year for which we have had great feedback from the trade and end consumers. And breaking into other markets – soon the US through a Coca-Cola backed distribution network but also other countries in Europe where we have been growing the brand over a number of years with minimal investment.
And another two milestones are on the horizon: we are launching in WHSmith and Co-op supermarkets in May and summer this year respectively.
What does gender diversity look like in the F&B space and do you expect to see improvements in the future?
Female founders in the drinks space are still in the minority but we can see a trend of more women venturing into the world of beverages. I hope this will continue – when we started off there weren’t many female founders in the drinks world to look to as role models.
What are Nix & Kix’s plans with the proceeds from this round?
The funds enable us to hire a full-time resource dedicated to growing our brand in the convenience channel, and to enhance our marketing activities across the business including for convenience, e-commerce and all our other channels.
What is your biggest piece of advice to aspiring female entrepreneurs?
Surround yourself with people that believe in you and support you. Starting a business can be a lonely journey. And don’t be shy to shout about your successes – the more you do this the more visible this will be for other females thinking about entrepreneurship. And encourage other women to start something themselves!
What’s one thing you think we can all do to improve gender diversity in entrepreneurship?
Fund female-founded businesses; help them become successful role models for other women and help them support other female-founded businesses.
To find out more about Nix & Kix, visit the pitch now.