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How This Founder Turned A Farmers Market Staple Into A Cult Brand


Mind Body Green

It’s easy to be addicted to Justin’s nut butters—and we’re betting you’ll love the cult product even more after listening to the story of its founder, Justin Gold.

Gold’s career started at a stand at the Boulder Farmers Market, where he sold his homemade nut butter to hungry shoppers. It was a side gig to his day job waiting tables and working in a local REI. (The name Justin’s is actually a nod to those early days when he’d label his jars with his name to ward off his hungry roommates.) In the 15 years since, the vegetarian and avid cyclist has turned the stand into a multimillion-dollar company by staying true to his values and expanding his product line in a smart, sustainable way.

In this podcast episode, Gold speaks candidly about his experience growing the business and the obstacles he encountered along the way. His explanation of the traits that define his entrepreneurial spirit—curiosity, frustration, and passion—is especially inspiring. These three qualities converged a few years into Justin’s evolution when Gold borrowed $75,000 from his roommate’s parents to start packaging his nut butters in portable squeeze packs people could take on the go. What he thought would be an overnight hit ended up being a bit of a flop—but instead of resigning to failure, Gold leaned on his curiosity and passion and started to investigate what was going on.

“I literally would stand at the store, watch people shop the set,” he says. Once he did, he realized that the way he was packaging the product and placing it in the store was off, so he made a few tweaks that changed the company’s trajectory. “With that move alone, our jar sales really started to increase and took off, and it created this really great system where the business was able to create a sustainable and profitable foundation.”

Gold admits that the first goal of any business should be to turn a profit, and from there you can focus on helping the planet. Tune in to learn more about how this nutty founder manages to do both.