The Jonas Brothers, the American pop rock trio that rose to fame on the Disney Channel circa 2005, are still churning out hits and touring the globe 15 years later, but they’ve also expanded their creative repertoire far beyond the music scene.
Courtesy of Jennifer Bett Communications Their latest venture is an entrepreneurial one.Rob’s Backstage Popcorn , a singularly addictive sweet-and-savory snack created in a partnership with health-oriented food and beverage platform The Naked Market , made its official nationwide debut yesterday.
It’s an exciting first joint business endeavor for the brothers — band business aside, of course — and the product itself is a special one.The popcorn’s seasoning was created over 30 years ago by Rob Garbowsky, father of Greg Garbowsky, longtime friend, former bass guitarist and current member of the band’s management team.
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“I just really fell in love with the popcorn and had dreams of one day turning it into a full brand” Garbowsky’s popcorn began its transition from family recipe to direct-to-consumer product one night after Nick Jonas performed a solo show and spent the evening at the Garbowsky home, where he tried the unique seasoning for the first time.It wasn’t long before the rest of the Jonas crew tried it, and it soon became the unofficial go-to backstage snack on the Jonas Brothers’ “Happiness Begins” tour.
“I just really fell in love with the popcorn and had dreams of one day turning it into a full brand that we could then launch and bring that same happiness we felt from it to our fans around the world and to people who just loved a great popcorn,” Nick Jonas says.“The brothers were down, and it was all a very exciting thing.And so about two-and-a-half years ago, we started seriously working on building up the brand identity and overall feel.”
The Naked Market played an essential role in making that happen.Co-founded by friends Harrison Fugman, Alexander Kost and Tim Marbach, the omni-channel platform is on a mission to bring healthful, delicious options to consumers: Its unique, full-service model creates and launches health-oriented brands and products across a variety of categories — all under its own roof.
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“We saw the lack of innovation in such a fast-growing part of the snack world” For CEO Harrison Fugman, the decision to partner with the Jonas Brothers to bring Rob’s Backstage Popcorn to life was an easy one.
“I break it down into three buckets,” he says.“The first was talking to the guys and hearing just what a true, authentic story the brand has, combined with [the brothers’] passion for it.But as good as the story was and as much passion there was, ultimately, you need a great product for anything to work — whether that’s in music, food and beverage, and beyond.
So when Rob actually sent us samples, directly from his kitchen, we were just blown away by the taste profile.
“And then when we really dove into the popcorn category and the competitive dynamics there, we saw the lack of innovation in such a fast-growing part of the snack world,” Fugman continues.“It was really the stars aligning.Then it was off to the races.”
The Naked Market and the Jonas Brothers quickly got to work crafting a recipe that would stay true to Garbowsky’s original and hold up as an artisanal, direct-to-consumer product — all in only eight short weeks, just in time for its exclusive launch on the band’s “Remember This” tour, where the popcorn has been available to fans.
The accelerated process included remote taste-testing.“Samples were sent out to Jersey for Kevin to try and out to L.A.for me, Greg and Joe to try,” Nick Jonas says.
He also notes that his wife, actress Priyanka Chopra, was passionate about the project and had a lot of ideas about how to get the flavor just right.
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Image credit: Courtesy of Jennifer Bett Communications “When you think popcorn, we want you to think Rob’s Backstage Popcorn” The fast development paid off.
Joe Jonas says that the popcorn’s final iteration exceeded expectations, and the reception on tour has been overwhelmingly positive.“What we’re finding is that everyone’s reaction is the same.We can’t believe how good it actually tastes,” he laughs.“We figured that it was something [fans] would enjoy, but we didn’t expect it to be something they’d want in the audience every night.
That just shows how good it is.”
Now that Rob’s Backstage Popcorn is available for delivery across the U.S., it’s fair to say the snack has taken center stage.
The next step is to keep the popcorn on consumers’ minds.The Jonas Brothers want Rob’s Backstage Popcorn to become everyone’s go-to snack — just as it’s become theirs over the years.
“When you think popcorn, we want you to think Rob’s Backstage Popcorn,” Kevin Jonas says.“And that is the goal.And we won’t sleep until that happens.
But the reality is we’re just really proud of this product, really proud of where the story began and how we got to this place now.We’re just really happy that we have such great partners, and we’re going to make it great.”
Written By Amanda Breen Entrepreneur Staff
Amanda Breen is an editorial assistant at Entrepreneur.com.She is a graduate of Barnard College and recently completed the MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts during the 2020-2021 academic year..