Meet the Founder of Peanut Butter Americano
Introducing Jeff Malkoon, the founder of PB Americano, a 100% natural peanut butter with low sugar made here in the United States. Peanut Butter Americano is currently in over 30 retail locations. From backpacking in South America to being featured on 35 entrepreneurs under 35, Jeff Malkoon tells a well-rounded story of how he got to where he is today. A proud non-profit management graduate of Arizona State University, Jeff enjoys regularly giving back and truly making a difference in the world. We hope you enjoy what Jeff has to say and learn a little something on the way!
Questions I ask in the video:
- What are the flavors available?
- How did you go about actually creating the butter? Where are the peanuts from?
- How competitive is the peanut butter market?
- What makes your peanut butter better than the rest?
- How did you grow your company?
- What percentage of your sales is given to non-profit organizations?
- Where do you see this company in 10 years?
- Have you considered going on Shark Tank?
- Who do you look up to as a mentor?
What you will learn:
- How you would be contributing to relief work in 19 countries in South America
- How Jeff discovered a market gap to create his product
- The country that produces peanuts like no other
- The competition within the peanut butter market
- Where the profits of his peanut butter go
- How grassroots marketing enabled Peanut Butter Americano to grow
- The widely known entrepreneur that mentors Jeff
- Jeff’s favorite quote
- His advice for other entrepreneurs looking to follow up in his footsteps
Watch our interview with the founder of Peanut Butter Americano here:
Questions not found within the clip:
How did you end up in South America?
I had completed a non-profit management degree at Arizona State and I wanted to take a break. I had been in school for six years before going into the career world. A friend and I planned a six month backpacking trip through Latin America on a tight budget. We did know that we wanted to do some volunteering along the way.
What resources are out there for young people looking to travel?
There are many great resources out there for young people looking to travel. One of the best resources that I’ve come across would be Hostelling International. It’s an umbrella organization for hostels around the world. CouchSurfing.com is one of my favorites. I’ve been on there for eight years and I’ve couch surfed all over the world. Also, I would encourage people to look outside the box when it comes to transportation. My friend and I took a cruise from Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile. That’s how we got to South America. It was cheaper than the flight to Santiago.
When did you start the company?
I returned from Latin America towards the end of 2011. That’s really when I started to develop the flavors and got in the kitchen. However, we didn’t launch until the beginning of 2013. We’ve only been in the marketplace for 2 years.
Where do you see this company in 10 years?
In ten years, we will be selling on a national and most likely international level.
What is driving you to continuously donate to these non-profit organizations like TECHO?
The whole concept for this company began when I was working in the outskirts of Montevideo, which is where I got the inspiration to start the venture in the first place. There, I was working with this unique organization, which is entirely youth-runned. You actually can’t work with TECHO if you’re older than 35. It’s mostly college students that run this organization. I was inspired by seeing young people taking the initiative to improve communities across Latin America. I thought this is what I need to support when I get back to Phoenix.
What’s your personal motivation to keep running this company?
Another market gap that I noticed while traveling across Latin America was American solidarity. People in South America consider themselves Americans as much as we do in America. I wanted to create more solidarity between the two continents. I believe we are doing that through our work with TECHO. This definitely played a factor in wanting to start a company like Peanut Butter Americano that worked with people in both continents.
What is your take on traditional schooling and how it has helped you as an entrepreneur?
I’m a big fan of unconventional educational resources that we increasingly have access to in our world like Khan Academy and other online resources. I think these are just phenomenal options. I’m open to the idea that traditional schooling isn’t for everyone. However, I’m thankful for my educational background. I did my undergraduate with a major in global studies. I did my masters with non-profit management. I had wonderful professors that I look back and have nothing but wonderful memories of. It was a great educational experience at Arizona State University. I would have to say, though, if it wasn’t for me being burned out due to six years of traditional education, I may not have left for South America.
Do you have a favorite book or a book you’d like to recommend to our readers?
I’m reading a book right now and it’s written by Dambisa Moyo, an economist from Africa. It’s called Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. It discusses traditional aid that has been given to Africa. It interests me because I want to make sure our giving is as effective as possible.
How may someone purchase your product?
The first thing I would do is visit Peanut Butter Americano’s official website (PBAmericano.com) and click the ‘where to buy’ section. If you’re in the state of Arizona or in Southern California, there are a number of options for you. If you’re anywhere else in the country, then click the ‘buy online’ option. We ship to all fifty states. We don’t ship internationally yet. Although, it’s amazing to see some of the requests we get from different parts of the world. The farthest has been Moscow, Russia. We were on the local news about a year ago and a few people watching the show reached out to us and asked if we ship there. We looked at the shipping rates and told them if you’re willing to pay a couple of hundred bucks for a jar of nut butter, we’ll send it to you!
For more information or if you’d like to purchase some, check out Peanut Butter Americano’s official website: PBAmericano.com
To get in touch with Jeff Malkoon, you may email him at Jeff[at]PBAmericano.com
Filmed by Thibault Clairis-Gauthier
Written and Edited by Yogin Patel
If you liked this interview, you may also like these interviews:
- Board Blazers: How a 22 Year Old Grew His Skateboard Lighting Business
- Endless Entertainment: 23 Year Old Creates Empire While in School
- UFree App: College Entrepreneur Gets Backed by Will.i.Am