Founders Interview | Kerstin Robinson @ Nix & Kix
Nix and Kix was born because we realised there weren’t any grown-up soft drinks around. We thought it was high time there were more – and better – choices to make.
We produce natural, innovative beverages with a hint of cayenne. This botanical addition gives the drinks a sophisticated twist and also means there is no added sugar needed to achieve great taste.
The range is 100% natural, vegan and low in calories. Perfect on their own, or as a mixer.
What inspired you to do what you do?
We had the idea to start Nix & Kix one day in mid 2014 when we were out on the town. We both wanted a non-alcoholic drink but the only options were full of sugar.
We had the idea that what was missing from the adult beverage market was a more grown-up, less sweet soft drink to enjoy during the day or as an alternative to alcohol. Something that wouldn’t give you a massive sugar rush only to make you fall asleep on your desk a couple of hours later. Something without added chemicals or added artificial sweetener.
And most importantly, something that tasted good.
What was your Eureka Moment when you knew you had a product which you could take to market?
We started making the drinks in a little sandwich shop in Central London.
We were just walking past the shop, and seeing the kitchen wasn’t being used we went in and asked if we could set up there. To our surprise, they agreed on the spot. They also allowed us to stock our drink in their cold cabinet.
We observed customers to understand who picked up the drinks and what favours were preferred. We also asked everyone who bought the drink if they had bought it before and soon discovered there were many repeat customers who liked the product.
That gave us the confidence boost we needed to apply for a start-up loan, refine the recipes and start producing the drinks on a bigger scale.
What did you do before starting your company & what made you take the leap into entrepreneurship?
Before starting Nix & Kix we both worked in the corporate world - Kerstin worked in banking for 10 years (for HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse) and Julia worked as an operations manager for large companies such as Sony Ericsson and Blackberry.
What has been the hardest part of starting your business?
Really cracking our recipes – that took us almost two years!
What keeps you motivated?
Seeing people enjoying our products!
There is a distant memory of seeing people with a can of Nix & Kix in a restaurant and being very excited about that. Now we love seeing people’s comments and pictures on social media or receiving the odd ‘love letter’ on email.
What do you do in your spare time outside of business life?
Getting out into nature is something we really enjoy.
It’s so important to switch off and there is no better place to do this in.
What do you think are the key skills required to make yourself & your business a success in the world of snacks & drinks?
There are lots of skills that are beneficial to starting up a business, but the top skill is to be patient and able to persevere. Hardly any brand was an overnight success!
What would you say is your biggest strength?
We are pretty determined and don’t give up easily.
What would you say is your biggest weakness & how do you look to overcome this?
Our background is not in the beverage industry and at the beginning this was something that was often held against us. But then on the other hand this allowed us to ask the stupid questions that no one else asked!
If you could sit down with yourself for a pint/glass of wine/coffee this time last year…..what would be the 3 most important tips you would give yourself knowing what you know now?
Get your ecommerce up to scratch, get ready for a huge surge in demand for our sharing bottle and stay calm and focus on the opportunities that 2020 will bring.