Jill Van Gyn is the CEO and founder of Fatso. Jill launched Fatso in the back of a health food restaurant in Victoria, BC in August 2016. Armed with two stand mixers and lots of cleaning supplies (peanut butter is very messy), Jill optimized her recipe with the goal of creating a lower cost nut butter that packed more nutrition into one spoonful than any other nut butter on the market. Spoon for spoon it had to taste better, have more ingredient diversity, and cost less than other specialty nut butters on the market. Jill believes that good, nutritious, and tasty food should be accessible to all, and with that in mind, Fatso burst onto the market.
For the first two years in business, Jill packed up her small SUV with exactly 73 cases of Fatso and delivered her product to grocery stores all over BC. She set up demos every weekend between Vancouver Island and Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, firmly believing that if people could just taste Fatso, they would buy it. And they did.
Before Jill launched Fatso, she developed a strong passion for issues of social justice. Driving this was her experience getting sober in 2010 and her post-graduate degree in International Development 2015. After finding herself woefully unemployed she found direction and purpose with Fatso. She made a promise to herself early on that if Fatso ever got legs she would use her resources and platform to champion social justice causes. Today Fatso has donated to and supported a wide range of charities and organizations that focus on harm reduction, housing issues, food security, LGBTQ+ communities, Black Lives Matter (both Canada and US), and First Nations communities. Fatso also routinely uses their social media and public profile to openly support these causes. Jill also sits on the board of Peers Victoria, a sex work advocacy and resource centre in Victoria BC. During the 2020 COVID pandemic Fatso donated product, cash, and resources totalling over $250K.