Today we’d like to introduce you to Kerstin Kuhn.
Kerstin, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My background is in journalism and I have been a food writer for more than a decade. I’m a hugely passionate foodie and through my work have been able to fulfil my dream of traveling and eating my way around the world, meeting top chefs and dining in amazing restaurants. I also love to cook, and feasting with friends and family is a regular ritual in my home. When I became a mother, I knew that I wanted to pass my love of food onto my daughter, Maxine. I’d seen first hand from friends and family what terribly fussy eaters children can be, and it was my biggest nightmare to end up with a child who hates vegetables and refuses to try different foods. So, I put my journalistic skills to work and started doing an enormous amount of research into what determines our food likes and dislikes, trying to understand why some children are better eaters than others. I read a lot of books and scientific papers, and I came to understand that like so much in life, eating habits are learned. I realized that as a parent I had the power to teach my child to love healthy eating and to be open to trying new foods. The key was to expose to her to a huge variety of fresh ingredients and a range of different tastes, textures, and flavors to get her used to eat healthily and regularly experiencing new foods right from the very beginning.
So, when Maxine was ready to start solids, I bombarded her with lots and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits from the very beginning. Every day I tried to give her something new, which meant that soon I started to experiment with flavors, adding herbs and mild spices to her purées with the aim of really awakening her palate. I read numerous baby food cookbooks, from Annabel Karmel’s books to Bébé Gourmet and Around the World in 80 Purées. I tried to get as much inspiration as I could to come up with ever-new recipes for her. And the more creative I became, the more Maxine seemed to enjoy eating. Before I knew it, I was making baby food for some of my mommy friends who were struggling with feeding their babies either because they lacked the time or inspiration to make baby food or because their babies refused to eat what they were making. They all seemed to love my purées, and that’s how the idea of starting a baby food delivery company was born.
I developed a core range of baby food recipes that I knew babies loved (as I had tested them on my own and friends’ babies) and then, I consulted with a pediatrician, who specializes in infant nutrition, to ensure my range of purées was as nutritious as it was delicious.
Then, the hard part came: turning my idea into a business. So, I sat down with my husband, who has worked with a multitude of brands, and we wrote our first business plan. We had to build a brand and a website that really conveyed the idea of the product. And after finding a commercial kitchen where I could produce the food, completing a number of health and safety training courses and getting all the necessary licenses and permits from the various health departments in place, we were ready to launch. This process from conception to launch took almost a year.
For the first six months, we just tried to get noticed. Nobody else was really doing upmarket baby food on the level that we were doing it, so we were lucky to get quite a bit of high profile press coverage, from the Daily Mail to ABC News, CBS’ The Doctors and various parenting websites and blogs. But it has taken time to grow the business. We’ve realized along the way that it’s not just about introducing the idea of baby food delivery and the convenience but educating parents about the long-term benefits of feeding their babies a varied diet and a multitude of ingredients and flavors – and getting them to understand that what they feed their babies in these very early months will impact their eating habits and ultimately their well-being for years to come.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Starting a business is never a smooth road. There are always unexpected challenges, and it’s an emotional rollercoaster ride filled with highs and lows. My biggest word of advice to anyone starting out is to make sure that you are totally committed to the business or product you’re about to launch, and that you 100% believe in the idea. When things get tough, the only thing that will help you push on is your belief in yourself and your product.
One of our biggest challenges initially was that we were trying to change consumer behavior, and that’s never easy. Traditionally moms don’t go online to buy baby food, and until very recently, not a lot of emphasis was placed on what babies eat. But as meal deliveries have become more commonplace, parents are getting used to the idea of baby food deliveries, and more and more parents are learning about the importance of baby food in establishing healthy eating habits for life. It’s still a challenge at times as our product is much more high-end than the baby foods you can buy in the supermarket for 99 cents so not everyone will get it. But the parents who do get it, really understand this is a huge investment in their child’s future. Our customers appreciate our service so much, which for me is incredibly rewarding.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Little Foodie Club – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Little Foodie Club is a baby food delivery company that is revolutionizing the way babies eat and learn about food. We teach babies from the very first mouthful what real food tastes like, giving them a huge variety of fresh, organic ingredients to help to develop their palates right from the start. Our curated meal plans take babies on a culinary journey through tastes, textures, and flavors that will nurture their bodies, stimulate their minds and expand their palates to become happy, healthy and adventurous eaters when they grow up. Our recipes are unique and unlike anything else on the baby food market – from a baby beef casserole (slow-cooked pasture-raised organic beef with carrots, tomatoes and oregano); to salmon with sweet potato, orange and ginger; baby coconut curry; and pears and raspberries infused with lavender, our purees are as healthy as they are tasty.
We offer two different meal plans: a 21 Days to Solids introduction plan; and a 6 months plus meal plan. Everything we do is rooted in science and the understanding that the more variety of fresh foods babies experience in the beginning, the more likely they are to enjoy vegetables and accept new foods when they grow up.
Our 21 Days To Solids plan is what really sets Little Foodie Club apart as there is no other product like it on the market. It’s a three-week program that helps parents to introduce their babies to solids with confidence and ease, based on the scientific discovery that the bigger the variety of fresh vegetables babies are exposed to in the first few weeks of eating solids, the more willing they will be to eat vegetables and accept new foods when they are older. Our plan offers 21 different organic ingredients over 21 days, so a new flavor every day for three weeks, helping parents to lay a foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating habits for their babies, without even having to go to the grocery store. We’re about to offer this plan nationally, with overnight shipment anywhere in the US. Up until now, we have only been able to deliver this to families in California and Arizona. Watch this space!
Often it feels as if the media, by and large, is only focused on the obstacles faced by women, but we feel it’s important to also look for the opportunities. In your view, are there opportunities that you see that women are particularly well positioned for?
The biggest challenge for many women is balancing motherhood and work, particularly with such limited maternity leave here in the US. Had I stayed in the UK, I would have been able to take a full year off after having a baby. But in many ways, the lack of financial support is what pushed me to do my own thing and I honestly don’t think that I would have started a business like Little Foodie Club had I remained living and working in the UK.
So, I feel that when it comes to entrepreneurship, there are boundless opportunities for women and mothers to make their mark. Female entrepreneurs are having a tremendous impact on the small-business landscape nationwide and there is a lot of focus on women-owned companies now, with many different grant programs available to help women achieve their dreams.
- 21 Days to Solids $125 plus shipping
- Baby Food Subscription Meal Plans from $140 per month plus shipping
- Website: www.littlefoodieclub.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/littlefoodieclub/
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/littlefoodieclubLA/
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/BabyFood_LA
Portrait shots by Samantha Jacoby, Product shots by Adam Fenn, Food shots by Evan Duning