We had the good fortune of connecting with Jan Hogrewe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jan, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
The pace and time it takes to get from the developed product to seeing it on store shelves. I came from the film industry and the pace is lightning fast vs. what feels like a snail’s pace in the food industry. When I had my recipes finished I learned how it’s produced on a larger scale and how that process takes tweaking to get it just right. Finding the right co-packer to make your product just like you make it involves, many conversations, shipping samples, sourcing ingredients and deciding on packaging. Once you have all those pieces in place finding the stores and buyers to sample and share and decide can take many months! In some cases, you could be looking at over a year to actually see your finished product on a store shelf. All that said – I cannot imagine doing anything else. I’m in this for the long haul. The food community is fantastic!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy?
Being able to do what I do professionally is in part a lifestyle choice as it’s ever present on my mind. There’s always something to do and I have to consciously stop myself at the end of the day. I would not say this journey has been easy however the challenges I’ve faced along the way have taught me so much. I would definitely not be this far if not for those lessons. Some of the challenges have included understanding the way the food business on a commercial level works. From relationships with brokers who want to represent your brand to distributors who want to take it wide in release. It’s a relationship driven business and of course there’s the money aspect. That can be a big challenge and balancing the cadence of producing, monitoring shelf life and inventory can be tricky.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
So many places to see… first I’d take them up to Santa Barbara (it’s only about 1 hour 10 minutes from me) on a Sunday. The drive along the coast is always beautiful. We’d stop in Montecito to have lunch at Cava and enjoy a pomegranate margarita. Then walk along Cabrillo and take in the art walk to see the veteran artists along with new creatives that are selling their art. Santa Monica would also be on our itinerary. It’s always nice to walk along the beach (see a theme) and maybe have brunch at Fig Tree in Venice.
A day at The Broad Museum would be fun and a stop at Grand Central Market in LA to see what’s cooking!
Point Dume is one of my favorite places to hike and spend the day. We could either take a picnic with us or stop at The Sunset Cafe to enjoy the sunset.
Last but not least, we’d take an afternoon and do a little wine tasting at Cornell Winery. The owner, Tim Skogstrom is a dear friend and the host with the most. His intimate knowledge of all things wine is not only educational but tasty!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Just Jan’s success has been a team effort and I’m truly grateful to my daughters for their support and willingness to taste everything! Credit also goes to family, friends and customers who have cheered us along the way. I’d like to dedicate this to my partner, Kris Mason whose creative contributions, wisdom, support, appreciation and trust has helped take our company to the next level.