Today we’d like to introduce you to Christine Elfalan.
Christine, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My partner Dana and I are friends first. We live in the same neighborhood. Our husbands surf together. She and I used to do meal swap together. She is a nurse turned stay-at-home mom. She was pregnant with her second baby at the same time I was pregnant with my first — in fact we were due one month apart.
Once we had our babies and they started to eat solids, Dana and I got to talking about how we didn’t love the baby food options out there. Being Asian-Americans who grew up in diverse environments, we wanted more diversity in our foods and most of all we wanted it to be fresh and healthy.
In Jan 2020, I was laid off from my executive role at a small tech start-up and Dana and I decided to forge ahead. She was building fun recipes everyday while I was trying to get all our logistics in place. Our plan was to launch in April.
Then in March 2020, as the pandemic emerged and we had to decide what to do. We had a long conversation about whether or not we should move forward. Seeing how difficult it was to grocery shop, home-school and work from home, we decided that we needed to do this for all the hard-working parents out there.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We feel very fortunate that despite the craziness of the pandemic and the economic shift, that we are able to still start this business. But it’s has NOT been as smooth as we hoped.
I’d say our biggest struggle is getting the distribution we originally hoped for. We had plans of working with farmer’s markets, daycares, pediatricians and other partners, but these businesses themselves were struggling to figure out how to pivot with the pandemic so it was and still has been so hard to get our foot in the door.
Joju Baby Food – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
As moms ourselves, my co-founder Dana and I know how much work it is to cook for your little one and those grocery store pouches just don’t cut it. So we came up with joju. We cook so you don’t have to! Fresh Baby Food. Locally Made. Delivered all over LA — to the South Bay, West Side, The Valley and The Hollywood area.
We’re fanatics about creating fresh, delicious food that will develop your baby’s palate. We want our babies (and your babies) to eat like we would, that means food inspired by cuisines around the world. Some of our favorites, baby dal inspired by Indian dal, blueberry haupia from Hawaii, and Italian veggie risotto made with quinoa.
If you’ve ever used a meal delivery service, you know how wasteful the packaging could be, so it was really important for us to ensure we addressed this. This is why we’ve brought back the old milkman model. Leave your used jars out at the end of the week and we’ll pick them up when we deliver your fresh new food.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career has been starting Joju of course. It’s been so much fun to build it from the ground up and getting to do it with a friend.
The proudest moment of the business itself has to be hearing how much our parents love our service and getting to see the babies enjoy the food in photos and videos. One mom told us that her baby will only eat greens when we make it. How can that not make you happy?
- Website: jojufoods.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/jojufoods
- Facebook: facebook.com/jojufoods
- Other: https://g.page/jojufoods?gm
Photos with kids: Alice Akiyama, Photos in the kitchen: Ute Reckhorn