We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan Bryenton & Tom Malengo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan Bryenton & Tom Malengo, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
After our corporate careers, we moved to Scottsdale. We wanted to start our own business in a field that not just excited us, but one in which we took an active interest. We have always been nutritionally focused, ‘foodies’ for our health and pleasure, and Tom is the chef. We wanted to use our business knowledge and experience to help emerging brands in the natural products food, beverage, health and wellness industry. So we set up The Litchfield Fund, to invest, advise and consult in the natural products industry. The Litchfield Fund is named as a tribute to our common farming heritage. Tom’s family was raised on farms in Western Pennsylvania and Susan family’s heritage comes from Litchfield, Ohio.
After learning more about the struggle of emerging brands in this industry, we started a second enterprise, with partners, Brandjectory. Brandjectory is a social media platform that helps emerging brands learn the CPG industry, directly from our partners’ vast business and CPG experience, receive coaching and mentoring, build an investable business and build relationships with investors.
We started our own business because we wanted the adventure and satisfaction of creating something on our own. We wanted to be able to implement our ideas, pick our challenges, work to see them through. Like farmers, we believe there is a process – Seeds, Sprouts, Grow, Harvest – that applies to farming, business and life. We also like engaging with others and helping them achieve their goals. Having our own businesses helps us accomplish all of this. Having a farmer’s attitude – planting, nurturing and harvesting – helps us maintain our focus.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Having broad-based business careers certainly helped prepare us for starting our own businesses. Nothing comes easy, but we stay concentrated on issues and try to resolve them quickly. We have learned it is important to always generate new ideas, learn new skills, try new and innovative roads.
Our drive, desire and enthusiasm set us apart. We are not ones to rest on our laurels – finding new challenges, adventures, learning new things is part of our very being.
We are really proud that in our current endeavor, Brandjectory, we can incorporate all of our business experience and knowledge to help guide emerging brand founders through the difficult growth process. With our partners, we are providing an invaluable service to these early-stage brands to help them learn and grow, solve problems and issues, with guidance from those who have been through it before.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The dog patio at the OHSO, where we like to hang out with our mini-Goldendoodle, DJ.
The Gateway Trail head for sunset hiking. Or a walk around Marguerite Lake at sunset.
Prescott, Prescott Valley and Lake Watson for a day of fun!
Steak 44 for dinner.
Have Tom prepare them a great meal with fresh veggies & grass fed meat from the Uptown Farmers Market.
Visit Lake Pleasant for some boating and a hike to see wild burros.
A fun Arizona western night at the Buffalo Chip or Handlebar J’s.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We are inspired every day by those who accept challenges and work to find success. This includes all the entrepreneurs, historical or current, who have an idea and build a business from it. The farmers, who face every challenge to raise their crop or stock. Those in our military, police, fire & first responders who stand up to challenges each and every day. Tom’s dad, a simple farm boy and coal miner, did his small part in World War 2, like so many others who stand up against what is wrong. We face every challenge, big or small, knowing there are others who have faced challenges but did everything that needed to be done to move forward toward success.