PUBLISHED: 5:30 PM on Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Five questions with Peter de Jongh
Peter de Jongh has been fishing Alaska since 1992 and has lived in Ketchikan, Cordova and Sitka. He has crewed and captained fishing boats from Seattle to the Bearing Sea, having seined for salmon and herring, longlined for halibut and black cod, crab fished the Bearing Sea and captained tenders in Prince William Sound.

"I own a power troller in Sitka and although I would always rather be fishing, I can't fish 11 months a year anymore because I want to settle down to start a family and spend my time between Juneau and Sitka," de Jongh said. de Jongh now runs his own company, de Jongh Concepts LLC. and is introducing two new products to the area.

What product currently claims most of your concentration?

I am very excited about this product. The product is called Buzz Bites TM. Buzz Bite TM. is a chocolate energy chew that contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but with five B-vitamins, Ginseng and Taurine that enhance performance, increase endurance, and stimulate metabolism to give you a competitive edge without a "sugar crash."

The product contains only one gram of fat and three grams of sugar per chew. I don't really like energy drinks and can't drink much coffee, but since I hit my upper 30's I definitely lack the spunk I had when I was 20. I had known about Buzz Bites TM for some time and enjoyed using the product on my boat because it fits in your pocket and delivers fast, long lasting energy when I need it to get through a long day trolling.

When I learned about an opportunity to be the exclusive vending distributor for my area I jumped at the chance and have not looked back.

Today the main health complaint of Americans is a lack of energy. Coffee and energy drinks are very popular but they are not very portable. That is what's so special about this product, it is a great tasting chocolate chew with all the energy producing ingredients of an energy drink (minus the sugar) that does not have to be chilled, will not melt, fits in your pocket and can be used when you need it.

It is the perfect product for students, construction workers, fisherman, skiers and snow boarders, hikers, campers, drivers or anyone else that might find themselves in need of extra energy but have no way to get it otherwise at the time they need it. In the very short time since I have been promoting Buzz Bites in Juneau, several people have walked up to me and genuinely thanked me for making this product available to them.

I have been told time and time again that one Buzz Bites chew has turned an otherwise bad day into a good one!

Buzz Bites give people an option at a lower cost, as well as if they are in too much of a hurry to wait in line. This is fast, two quarters in the machine and you're off. I have placed 20 Buzz Bites vending machines around Juneau with many more to follow here as well as Sitka, Ketchikan and eventually all of Southeast.

Locations include Juneau International Airport, Eaglecrest, Juneau Bowling Center, Henry's, Juneau Drug (coming soon to Alaska and Proud Juneau and Ketchikan locations and Super Bear), and many other convenient businesses. Jason Kensey, the founder of Vroom Foods Inc. is the inventor of Buzz Bites and another great product called Foosh TM. Mints, of which I am also an authorized distributor. The FooshTM. Energy Mint contains the same energy producing ingredients as a Buzz Bite but comes in a tasty hard mint Peppermint form.

I truly believe in the products and the company. Vroom Foods Inc. is an American enterprise manufacturing high quality American energy products that go where you go.

How did the concept of your second product, Barrier Booties occur to you?

Barrier BootiesTM are designed to give the wearer antimicrobial foot protection in high "no shoes" traffic areas by providing a waterproof barrier between your feet and the airport security line floor. Recent research indicates the presence of fungus, molds and bacteria that can lead to disease unique to the security checkpoint sections of airports.

Barrier Booties are TSA approved disposable footwear made of waterproof, recyclable polyethylene. They are packaged as two pair, making one package last a round trip or having an extra pair for a spouse or friend. Barrier Booties are on sale at Alaska and Proud supermarkets in Juneau and Ketchikan, as well as Ron's Apothecary and the Juneau International Airport gift shop.

I got the idea for this product when my girlfriend and I went on vacation last summer. It was a warm day when we left Juneau so a lot of people were in sandals including myself. I looked at how many bare feet were walking along the same path as I would be barefoot and thought "this might not be good." That night I was sick with a stomach bug that pretty much ruined the first half of the first vacation I had taken in two years. When we got home I did some research and found a number of articles online that suggest a real health concern at TSA checkpoints across the country. Simply wearing socks does no good due to bacteria transference back to the shoe.

Of course it is not the fault of TSA that this problem is occurring, we take our shoes off in the interest of our national security and it must be done. I am trying to make it convenient for people to protect their feet when they travel.

Barrier Booties are also great for wearing on the plane after you have gotten comfortable and have taken off your shoes but need to walk around. I also care about the environment very much, and that is why I have installed a Barrier Booties recycle bin at the Juneau International Airport and welcome any recyclable bootie. It can be found immediately past the TSA checkpoint on the right.

All products I promote and distribute are designed to enhance the quality of people's lives and that means a lot to me. That is why I have been a commercial fisherman all my life. It is an honest job that helps people live better.

What is the most difficult part of marketing your own products?

The most difficult part of bringing a product to the market is advertising. In order to get the idea of your product across to many people it takes a lot of creativity or a lot of money, and sometimes both.

How do you implement a plan to produce your products and get them out to consumers?

de Jongh Concepts does not manufacture the products the company promotes, we leave that part to the professionals. I promote products that are new to most people, so as far as getting the product to the consumer, my best success has been a grass roots movement that begins by visiting the local businesses that carry the type of products I sell.

I like to speak one on one to business owners and managers and let them know who I am and what services I can offer them. When a good product is correctly placed, things start to happen. Word of mouth travels fast when you have a product people want or need.

What advice would you give others looking to market an idea?

The best advice I could give others is never let anyone or anything distract you from your goals. And although there are a lot of good people out there willing to help, some help is better than others.

Choose wisely which advice to follow. Never be ashamed to say, "I don't know" and never be afraid to ask "why" or "how".