As we celebrate our 20th anniversary this year, we’re thinking back to how it all began. We’d love to say there was a glamorous or exceptional beginning that started the story of ROOT. The truth is, it was a journey of evolution.
It started with Kuvy Ax, ROOT’s founder. Or rather, with her mom. Born in Boulder, CO, Kuvy was raised by a hippie – a food loving, everything-made-from-scratch mom who loved to cook. Naturally Kuvy developed a deep respect for good food and those whose labor of love is to serve up that food to others.
Kuvy’s full name, Kuviana, is Inuit for “fountain of happiness,” and being the kind of person who loves to share good things with others, she spent her twenties working as a public radio host, a writer for local magazines, and in radio and newspaper promotions. Meanwhile, in the evenings, she was rekindling her passion for food, and fell head over heels in love with reading cook books, trying new recipes and techniques, and all things food-related. She finally decided to pursue her passion and became the Director of Avocational Programs at Boulder’s Cooking School of the Rockies in 2000, where she worked with local restaurant chefs to create a program of classes. That set in motion the next series of events that really set the stage for who ROOT is today.
During this time Kuvy became friends with Chef James Mazzio, who had recently won Food & Wine Magazine’s prestigious Best New Chef award, and was starting a new restaurant/cooking school/catering facility nearby, ChefJam. James hired Kuvy to promote ChefJam, and Kuvy realized that the things that she loved to do – connecting people, making people happy, getting people the recognition they deserved – was an actual job, and it was called “PR.” Just like that, Kuvy’s new business promoting chefs and their restaurants was born.
It just so happened that around the same time, the Food Network was becoming hugely popular as people’s interest in cooking and “star chefs” grew. Boulder was also gaining traction as a city with notable restaurants. Kuvy’s PR business, then called “Cutting Edge Marketing” (a play on her last name, “Ax”,) took off quickly.
One thing led to another and Kuvy was able to expand her PR work, promoting all kinds of food companies, and not just locally, but across the U.S., such as Door to Door Organics, Lasater Grasslands Beef, and Kingdom Cheddar.
With a growing focus on local, natural and organic, the agency rebranded under the new name ROOT PR in 2013.
Meanwhile, PR had been changing rapidly since the days when Kuvy started her agency. Newsrooms were shrinking and social media was growing. By 2016, there was a dictionary-approved term for those who use big Instagram followings to sell things: “influencer.” There was now an overwhelming number of places to get information on what to buy and what to do, and landing mentions in newspaper articles was no longer enough.
Kuvy began hiring others to help promote their clients through the new channels, discovering that it was much more fun and more satisfying to work in a team, with people who were the best at what they do. Before long, our agency was a tightly-knit team of social media and influencer managers, marketing specialists, PR professionals and content marketers.
At the same time our service offerings and team were expanding, Kuvy was becoming clearer on her passion for and dedication to leveraging our team’s skills and talents to support businesses in the good food space (“good” because it tells a story, is grown with purpose or made with heart. “Good” because it’s honest, intentional, approachable and appealing to the senses.)
The world of good food had grown hugely over the past few years, especially in Colorado. But the space was increasingly competitive, and simply stating a food value was no longer enough to differentiate and stand out from the sea of voices. Consumers had become more sophisticated, as they are to this day. Companies that want to survive in the good food marketplace need to match that sophistication by creating a strong brand that stands out in the sea of natural food products. Kuvy had become increasingly frustrated at not being able to offer her clients the strategic branding and marketing work that they needed.
In 2018 Kuvy met Kristine Root, a brand strategist and passionate foodie. Growing up, Kristine’s family had a large family garden that was more like an urban farm, and spending her childhood planting, weeding and eating raw vegetables right out of the ground had sparked a lifelong love affair with food, farming and community that became the center of her life and her work.
With that last name, so many shared values, and the ability to bring branding and marketing strategy work to their clients, a relationship working together was clearly meant to be! Kristine’s skills, deep caring nature, and 14 years of experience allowed us to help our clients build the strategic positioning, messaging and brand foundation they need to succeed in the competitive food landscape.
As we approached our 20 year anniversary, we recognized that we had outgrown the current company name “ROOT PR”, and it was again time to rebrand, adding in the marketing work that we now offer, and really honing in on our passions, commitments and expertise in the good food space.
Welcome to ROOT, the good food agency. We are a team of industry experts providing our clients with PR, social media, influencer marketing, branding, and other marketing services, who are devoted to good food—to those who grow it, make it, sell it and bring it to life—and who have a shared passion for helping better brands thrive. Our work is our contribution to the good food movement.
What are you waiting for? Say hi already!