From western boots to popcorn, consumer packaged goods (CPGs) have become one of the strongest segments of the Austin startup scene.
On November 12th, SXSW's chief programming officer Hugh Forrest interviewed Kirstin Ross, managing director at SKU and Aimy Steadman, founder & COO of Future/Proof and founding board member of Naturally Austin to discuss why Austin has become such a hot spot for this kind of entrepreneurial activity and what the next wave of CPG activity could bring to Central Texas.
Hugh kicked off the conversation by asking Kirstin and Aimy how they define “CPG,” and they agreed that the term has definitely evolved and casts a wide net. A consumer packaged good is traditionally thought of as a fast-moving, frequently-purchased item with a bar code: think food, beverage, and beauty items. However, the definition has expanded to companies like Kendra Scott and direct-to-consumer brands like gardening supply subscription services.
However you define it, Austin has seen tremendous growth in CPG start-ups, and this is made possible by the ecosystem of supportive retailers like Whole Foods and HEB combined with an extremely creative and innovative community, and now, there is more funding available, which helps the CPG scene to keep growing. The speakers added that entrepreneurs in Austin have a very pay-it-forward mentality, and the entire community is very supportive. Aimy shared her thoughts on this secret sauce:
“What I hear more than anything is that people in Austin are more friendly, more collaborative, will take more coffee meetings and impromptu Zoom meetings than anywhere else in the country.”
Looking to the future, Aimy and Kirstin see sustainability and inclusivity as the evolutionary next step for the CPG community. They are focused on learning and sharing best practices from other sectors in order to help founders in Austin build even stronger, more sustainable and inclusive brands.
One question from the audience was: What local programming, associations, and groups would you recommend for ATX CPG founders who are hungry to dig in and learn as much as possible about the industry?
The panel recommended:
- Naturally Austin newsletter
- SKU newsletter
- Texas Boxed CPG newsletter
- CPG in ATX Facebook group
So subscribe, be engaged, and get involved with the Austin CPG scene!
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