Finding White Space and Timing Entry Into New Markets

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How do you find white space in your market? And when you do, how should you time your product release? Ken Wegner, President of Jel Sert, and his son Gavin, Senior Brand Manager of subsidiary SLIQ Spirited Ice, share their approach at Jel Sert. They discuss their experience at this nearly 100-year-old family business, and how the company successfully transitioned into the competitive alcoholic beverage industry. 

Tune in to learn:

  • Lessons from Jel Sert’s history that resonate today (8:46)
  • How to grow and innovate responsibly (13:50)
  • How to find white space and time your entry into the market (22:57)


About the Guest:

  • Ken
    • Ken Wegner is the President of The Jel Sert Company and its wholly owned subsidiary, 21 Holdings LLC. Wegner’s grandparents founded the company in 1926 and he started as the Director of Purchasing in 1985 and became President in 1997. Guided by the legacy of his grandparents and his father, Wegner has continued their mission of making high-quality, high-value food and beverage products that help families and friends create lasting memories.

Wegner received his BA in Economics and Spanish from Denison University.  He is based at Jel Sert’s and 21 Holdings’ headquarters in West Chicago, IL. Outside of work, he is Chairman of the Elmhurst Memorial Hospital Foundation Board and American Childhood Cancer Organization Board, a board member at the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, a member of the Board of Trustees at Denison University, and a member of YPO Gold.”

  • Gavin:
    • Gavin Wegner, who serves as the Senior Brand Manager of SLIQ Spirited Ice at 21 Holdings LLC, received his BS in Business Administration from the Marshall School of Business at The University of Southern California.

He began his career at The Jel Sert Company and has held roles in finance, brand management, and licensing. Most of his professional experience is in marketing iconic freezer bar brands such as Fla-Vor-Ice and Otter Pops.

Gavin is turning SLIQ into a disruptive newcomer in the alcoholic freezer bar category. He develops and implements brand strategies and creates the roadmap for short and long-term growth and expansion. His passion for brand storytelling is apparent via SLIQ’s multi-faceted and layered marketing initiatives that resonate with the brand’s 21+ consumers. 

 Gavin began working at Jel Sert in 2015 as a Financial Analyst before becoming Associate Brand Manager, then a Brand Manager, then a Licensing Manager, and finally the Senior Licensing Manager.” 

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Episode 263