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Ignition Law News & Igniting the Spark

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IGNITING THE SPARK with Nix & Kix

You may have seen an exciting new brand of soft drinks in the supermarket aisles lately. Nix & Kix is a “refreshingly different range of drinks with a subtle kick” – stocked in Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado and Wagamama. We had a chat with one of their founders, Kerstin Robinson. She gave us background on where the name “Nix and Kix” came from, how it all started and how they’ve grown into the thriving small business they are today.

Kerstin & Julia
Kerstin & Julia

The moment that ignited the spark in me to start a business was…

Julia and I are very similarly driven people, we’ve been friends for a long time. We wanted to do something different and noticed there was a gap in the soft drinks space in the UK market. There was a need for something different that was healthy and not sugary. After doing some market research, we created a business plan and managed to get Government funding. Then we quit our jobs. We needed a name, we are both from Germany and in German, Nix means nothing, which was perfect as there is no added sugar and nothing artificial. Kix comes from the added kick which the cayenne gives– adding flavour and attitude!

The thing that’s most surprised me since I made that move is…

I think we were a bit naïve when we first started out especially as both Julia and I came from corporate organisations that were in completely different sectors than the drinks industry, so we didn’t see any of the hurdles that would be coming our way. In hindsight that was a good thing, as we would have never started the business had we known how difficult it is. However, I would say the thing that’s surprised me the most is just how long things would take. For example, Tesco is a customer now but we spoke to them 2 years ago.

The toughest challenge I’ve faced is…

There are loads of different ones we face on a daily basis. Everything that can go wrong usually does go wrong. Logistics and production are always big tests; cashflow and investment are other pressures. There are often lots of challenges which come all at the same time!

My biggest success has been…

That’s difficult to say, it depends on what stage you’re at in growing the business. At the very beginning getting Selfridges on board was a massive success for us which gave us the stamp of approval. Then Waitrose said they wanted to stock us, so again that was a “wow” moment, then Tesco got in touch. Now we’re launching to a big restaurant chain.

I’m very good at…

Being determined and persistent. Julia and I wanted to achieve something we’re really proud of. People say our drink is amazing and we’ve worked hard to achieve that perfection – a drink with flavour that’s good for you! We don’t take shortcuts and we don’t give up, other people might have, we haven’t.

What sort of person do you look to recruit?

We look to recruit people who are keen, eager and get stuck in with whatever is needed. We’re a team of 7 now. Our ideal employee is someone who enjoys a varied role and has lots of skills and doesn’t want to work rigidly to a job specification because in a small firm such as ours that’s not possible.

What time of day do you like the most?

It depends on the day! Our days are so varied and different. There’s so much stuff going on it’s too difficult to say what time of day I like the most.

If I could give my 18-year old self one piece of advice it would be…

Don’t be afraid to do something, just try it. Sometimes this is easier said than done because of money and logistics, but you need to stop and think what’s the worst that could happen?

Outside of work I can be found…

If it’s sunny I like to chill out and enjoy the outdoors, go for a walk in the country and get some headspace. I also enjoy going to new restaurants or cafes looking for new trends. I love going to the shops and checking out new products that have come to market.

My philosophy on life is…

Don’t worry too much, don’t take things too seriously, just take it easy and carry on.

What I like about working with Ignition Law…

The people! I enjoy talking with them, they’re not stereotypical lawyers. They’re very understanding and easy to talk to and they “get” the start-up culture because they’re a start-up themselves.

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