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Young Guns: The Whole Foods Effect

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Siggi is Siggi Hillmarrson's nickname. He uses it because his Icelandic name is a tongue-twister (Full disclosure: His actual name is Sigurður, and I couldn't pronounce it after trying several times.) Siggi is so catchy that he decided to use it as his yogurt company's name when he started up back in 2005.

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Siggi the person is tall and lanky; Siggi the yogurt is a lowfat, strained skyr yogurt that uses three to four times the amount of milk than a regular cup of yogurt. Hilmarrson, who had moved to New York to go to Columbia Business school, was homesick and decided to start making the yogurt himself. After a serendipitous run-in with a Whole Foods distributor, Siggi's Skyr yogurt, which is projecting $6 million in sales this year, has taken off--but not without a couple of bumps in the road. Watch the video for more.

 

Six Shooter Q&A with Siggi Hilmarsson of Siggi's Skyr Yogurt:

1. Where were you when you thought of the idea?

Hilmarsson: Not sure, as it kind of developed gradually, first as a hobby and then into a real business. I did make my first batch of yogurt the Christmas of 2004.

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2. What are your three biggest tips to entrepreneurs?

Hilmarsson: I have a simple one: try to sleep well. You never make worse decisions for your business than when you are totally sleep deprived. Second you can't do everything by yourself. And lastly, plan for success not failure.

3. How do you market your product?

Hilmarsson: I try to get a full cup into the hands of consumers so they realize the full experience of eating something that satiates them without giving them a sugar rush and a subsequent crash.

4. In three words, how would others describe you?

Hilmarsson: Right now, one word too many: "He is rather happy!" But most times: "He is too worried."

5. What is the future for Siggi's?

Hilmarsson: Reasonable expansion without compromising on my values for the yogurt; adding new products to our selection and farms as our suppliers.

6. What is the future for Siggi Hilmarsson?

Hilmarsson: Haha, hopefully a short vacation sometime soon.

For past videos, go to the Young Guns Archive, and if you know of a promising startup, e-mail us at youngguns@foxbusiness.com.

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