Influx curated conference-speaker interview-neil grimmer- nest collective
May 26, 2009
Here are Neil’s responses to some questions I sent across to him recently.
1. Can you briefly describe your background?
I’ve spent the majority of my career helping food companies figure out what to do next, be it brand strategy, marketing direction or product innovation. For the past two years I’ve been the Chief Innovation Officer and Co-founder of the Nest Collective. Prior to Nest, I was the VP of Strategy and Innovation at Clif Bar & Co., and before that, a senior designer at IDEO. In what feels like a previous life, I was a practicing artist and cultural critic. My work was, in effect, conceptual product design–high concept, fully functional products and experiences that made a statement about a world/culture that we live in.
2. What inspired you to start the Nest Collective?
We started Nest based on two beliefs:
1. Businesses are in a unique position to solve many of the social and environmental problems that we face today.
2. And, “making the world a little better” can, and should, be big business. In fact, it’s Nest’s dream to one day live in a world where organic, sustainably minded brands are the rule, not the exception.
The focus of the Nest Collective right now is to address the health of children in the United States by creating a suite of organic foods for babies, toddlers, and kids. As a dad myself, I’m aware that what my kids eat during those first few years sets a lifetime of healthy eating habits. Look, one out of three kids in the U.S. are either overweight or obese, so we believe that there is a lot of work to be done! We think our brands, Plum Organics & Revolution Foods, are part of the solution.
3. What other companies and people in this space do you admire and why?
I’m truly inspired by every entrepreneur that is trying to grow a cause-related business or a social venture. I admire those who have a vision to bring something new to the world that can have an impact on how we live, and who have the tenacity to actually start a company in this economy is. I have a lot of respect for Jeffery Hollander, founder of Seventh Generation who is a pioneer in the green cleaning space. You gotta love the folks at B Corporation for creating a new corporate standard for social and environmental company performance
4. What impact is the recession having on the organic/natural marketspace?
When it comes to organic foods for kids, the market is still very strong. We are experiencing substantial growth for both of our brands. The parents who see the value in organic foods are more likely to remain committed to buying healthier food for their kids and looking elsewhere to cut back.
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