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How Supper Clubs became the secret sauce behind the Tiny Organics community, with Betsy Fore and Sofia Laurell

by Female Startup Club
April 8th 2021
00:51:20
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Joining me on the show today are the co-founders behind Tiny Organics, Betsy Fore and Sofia Laurell. 

Tiny Organics is the early childhood nutrition company with organic, plant-based, fresh-f... More

before we dive into the show today we have some super exciting news as of this month. Female startup club is officially part of the hubspot podcast network, something we love about the hubspot podcast network is all of the inspiring shows dedicated to helping professionals learn and grow, especially women in business. So if you love female startup club and want to check out other shows like us, we definitely recommend checking out being boss, the gold digger podcast and the shakeup, Check out all these shows and more at hubspot dot com slash podcast network. This is Sophia laurel and Betsy for for female startup club. Hey everyone and welcome back to another episode of the female startup club podcast. I'm your host, june rasheen and joining me on the show today are the co founders behind tiny organics, Betsy four and Sophia laurel. Tiny organics is the early childhood nutrition company with organic plant based fresh frozen meals built on vegetables and essential fruits. In this episode we hear the startup story of Betsy and Sophia how they launched 2 100 mums in a park and their secret source to community building their tiny supper clubs.

If you enjoyed this founder story and you're feeling generous today, please do subscribe and leave us a review to help us find new ears or if you're feeling extra generous shout outs on social media, go a really long way and put a huge smile on my face obviously, but let's get stuck into it. This is Betsy and Sophia for female startup club. Yeah customers want more from brands, delivering more means owning the customer experience, taking control over data acquisition analysis, creative and delivery. Clay vo calls this owned marketing and believe it's the best path to growth for more, visit clay vo dot com slash F. S. C. That's clay vo dot com slash F. S. C. And one last thing before we jump into this episode, I want to quickly shout about our course the ads, N. B. A. Although I'm totally biased, I'm told by so many of the hundreds of women who have taken it so far that it's amazing and they've been able to increase their revenue in their business using the methods taught the ads.

N. B. A. Is A. D. I. Y. Course to help you master the technical skills needed to run profitable facebook and instagram ads by yourself. We've partnered with leading performance marketing agency amplifier to create the best online program out there. And these guys know a serious thing or two about performance marketing. They've spent more than $100 million in ads during their time. You'll learn everything from winning ad creatives to identifying your target kPI S implementing retargeting funnels and deploying scaling strategies to increase your revenue to upwards of six and seven figures per year. It includes six modules with more than 30 video lessons and you can learn at your own pace. But what we're most proud of is that $30 from every sale is donated towards girls secondary education through the Malala Fund, a charity that champions every girl's right to 12 years of free, safe quality education and is working for a world where every girl can learn and lead to learn more. Head to female startup club dot com.

Female startup club precincts. Betsy, Sophia Hi, hello and welcome to the female startup club podcast. I was so excited to be here. I'm so excited to have you here you are both very interesting women with very interesting backgrounds. So I always love to start by getting the 411 on both of you and Sophia, you're in the top screen for me. So we'll start with you. Perfect. Yeah, my name is Sophia, I'm the co founder Cosi along with Betsy of tiny organics. I am originally from Finland. So born and raised in Helsinki, I run marketing a tiny Betsy runs product. I have a marketing and communications background. My wife for founding chinese actually Finnish baby box, we always say was born to build this company. Um it's an incredible invention back home and I saw firsthand the impact that it had actually, it's a box of products that every parent in Finland gets from the government and it has everything you need for your baby's first year and I think Scotland and some other countries have instituted as well, but it actually drastically lowered in for mentality back home.

So it's been my lifelong dream to bring that concept here to the U. S. I lived in London for many years. I know doing your british love London love the UK, worked at the press office of the Finnish Embassy and then moved to new york in 2010. That was another life long dream to to live in new york and you know worked briefly in finance, did some investor relations and then I realized that I thrive and impact driven environment. So I worked at a non profit research foundation for over four years. We did research as to why women and minorities haven't risen to the corporate ports in the US and its some leadership training programs and you know, really meaningful work there. But I had always had this dream and Betsy and I have known each other for years prior and we both remember this vividly. It was fourth of july 2017, a rooftop party when I mentioned the Finnish baby box to her and she will go into her incredible background where she had founded a company in the pet space prior and wanted to start a family. So we came together and found a tiny driving forces together.

Sounds incredible. Betsy please give me your spiel, give me the overview. Yeah. So in terms of my wife are tiny. I mean I grew up in a food desert in a kind of middle of nowhere on the american sugar roller coaster diet of parades. And so when I thought about, you know what's the greatest gift I could give my son who's now two years old. It was absolutely that healthier start to life to know and to love vegetables from the earliest days. I'm industrial engineer by trade, industrial designer. So I started out as a toy inventor in Chicago building toys for George Lucas, mostar bridge franchise from Mattel with my pocket W. W. E. You know, it was such a dream and so much fun. I thought you can't actually get better than this, right? But it somehow it and I wound up building with Michael Acton smith, the founder of calm. His previous company, Mind Candy in London led products there for a number of years. So we grew the company to over 300 people. Over 100 million registered users online.

You probably know machine monsters if you're been based because we absolutely saturated the market during that time. It was a magical journey. And you know, working alongside Michael, it made me realize, hey, wait a minute. Maybe I could also do this as a sole founder. So about a decade ago now, at a hackathon one weekend whilst I was still in Mind Candy, I um, in short inch around old street invented the first pit pit for dogs. Um, and that was actually for my fur baby, my first baby whiskey who's a little rugged terrier from Northern England and he was overweight. Um, so I tried everything to get him to lose the way. Yeah. And then finally thought, okay, I've got a pit for myself, why don't I have one for my dog. Um, and then, you know, I literally built it just for him and then he got down to his goal weight, which can extend his life up to two years. So there were so many learnings in building that company over, yeah, I guess eight years or so and one of them was, yeah, that I'll never be a sole founder again. So that was a really big one there and I self funded the company for the first two years of that start up and then went on to raise. So just a ton of learnings in terms of how to get started as well.

Um but you know, we, we had the best retail traction of any pet wearable in the market, so launched at Harrods initially collect for paris fashion week and then over to Bloomingdale's in Manhattan and every Petco on in cap for the holidays launching their pet tech category, even urban outfitters, which was like a personal dream of mind is in a previous life, I was fashion retail as well, working my way through uni and so that was just, yeah, you know, Oprah's favorite things list and just a ton of incredible um, you know, kind of milestones for that company, but in the end what we realized is we were really building this very robust database right around the dogs held him while being around their size, way age breed, etcetera. And so what Sophie and I knew we wanted to build it tiny from the very beginning. It was really based from that tech perspective as well of truly understanding a child's gut health from the earliest days and how their microbiome actually begins in the womb. And so that's a lot of what we poured our hearts into as we build out this company from the beginning. I'm sure we'll go into more detail about as well. But yes, when Sophie and I joined purses, it was like magic.

And then, and then we were just having so much fun ever since. Holy moly you to wow loving this quick question though for you Betsy, what happened with your last business, Did you exit or are you still kind of involved with it as well? Right. So I actually advised I'm on the board of as well. It's another pet tech company. We're still a little bit in stealth mode at the moment, but there's a ton of crossover because it's building for your dogs, microbiome over their gut health and really just leveraging all the learnings that I've had from underwater because pet wearables is such a hard space to be. We were approached by acquisition by several companies and in the end, the largest check if I mentioned to you absolutely know who it was. You know, it was taking years to come around for the terms to be finalized. And so ultimately knew that in my heart I wanted to move on right to my next baby too tiny and then of course with my son being born and kind of, you know, at that same time, Sophie and I were building it and it just felt like the right timing, especially when the wearable space, it's a very, very crowded now, but like very difficult market, especially back then to be in.

So yeah, there's a ton of learnings, I'm trying to, you know, Sophie and I always say we turn everything into a victory, but it wasn't like the dream exit scenario right? Like that, I would have hoped right, and do the end just to see it come to fruition, you know, so that the company I work with now is truly around extending the lives of dogs as well. So that's something that I can very much get behind and know that, you know, all that great effort is going towards the best case scenario in that way. Got it, got it, wow, amazing. Thank you. Sorry for that little divergence. So I want to go back to the fourth of july party where you've met having these conversations around the business, What year are we talking at that time, was it 2016, this is 20 17, So we didn't met years prior to that. Yes. Okay. Right, okay, cool, okay, so let's go back to the fourth of july, the lightbulb moment hits what happens next, like, what's the timeline to getting this business, you know, kind of together and a plan in place.

Yes. Sophie and I, we were still working right, like full time, so I think that's something to remember as well as like, you know, I was still full time, I wonder what she was in her impact business, but she grew into, you know, the elevate women and minorities to corporate boards across America and you know, there's just like tons of, you know, obviously synergies and what we were doing on our day today, but what we actually had to do and the way that we knew like, ok, this is legit and like there's no turning back is we were meeting up at six and seven a.m. In the mornings prior to our work days in new york. So we were like waking up and then, and then tried to get like 23 hours and then it was every weekend, right? Every weekend we'd be at the coffee shop, hacking and trying to get stuff together and sorting through it. And then we were also interviewing with for different ei our roles in these like top tier VC funds in new york and wound up that human ventures felt the most aligned in a lot of ways, in terms of our ethos, the impact driven, you know, truly bettering humanity perspective. So just was thrilled to partner with them, Heather hartnett, um the Ceo is still on our board to this day and that was from almost day one, right?

Sofia as soon as we we were hacking it for maybe like 67 months there, but then when between their program, it was like more of a google sprint type model where they took us through a workshop and then we really came together around the biggest impact we could have in terms of childhood development is absolutely through a programmatic approach to how we introduce first foods. And so that's how we came around the idea of food, which Sophie and I, as you've heard from our backgrounds, we actually don't come from the food perspective, although I re engineer my body 15 years ago to be vegetarian based on this like sugar roller coaster, I was telling you about a group on, you know, we have surrounded ourselves in the business with these incredible food experts at the table and that's the only way we're here today. So we always talk about that we're standing on the shoulders of giants and that some of the best advice I could give any new entrepreneur is to surround yourself with those folks that actually know the business that you want to get into because you don't necessarily have to know in and out and sometimes it's a massive advantage, not the from that industry because then you don't actually know, you know, in terms of all the red flags and you're a little bit more like hopeful about things, you know, you're willing to take the risk and I think that's really served us in this process.

Absolutely. I wanted to add one more thing, you know, when we were exploring different avenues to go down, Betsy mentioned, realized that we could have the biggest impact in childhood development through food. And we also had started researching the history of baby food and realizing that that category is actually fully invented in the 19 twenties and you know how I ate back home and it's not just Finland china India all across the world, Children eat, you know, very similar food to their parents. So we were, you know, just baffled by why the, a lot of the options that you see today are first of all very sweet and oftentimes also shelf stable. So we felt like there has to be a better way. Uh and when we founded the business and we'll talk about it as well, but we really founded it with our 100 founding families and that's really the foundation that we built this company on. And this is kind of a incredible tiny story about Betsy was probably eight months pregnant this moment and we sent one email with this group called Park slope parents and then we had probably like over 200 parents come pick up food from complete strangers.

Like we had some legitimate reasons because Betsy was pregnant. You know, we didn't look, we looked fairly normal, it was 90 degree heat on large tumblers, we were actually having to ask like solicit help from people that we saw in the park to try to help us carry these in and then it was like literally handing food to a stranger and seeing them feed it to their child right there, that's what it was like, oh my God, we really hit, you know, struck a chord here in a big white space in the category. So you had already kind of gotten developed a product and then you sent the email to be like, hey, can everyone come and try this product that we've developed? Yes, we actually kept it at 100 parents, which we got in about two hours after sending that email. So yeah, because it was 100 founding family grew and you know, prior to that as well and something I firmly believe in is can we get partnerships and from the earliest days that really resonate with the DNA of how we're trying to build a structure this company. So we collaborated with tough school nutrition policy from day one, the Dean Dariush Mozaffarian is on our scientific advisory board and that obviously helped tremendously in working with our neonatal nutritionist from the very beginning to understand what recipes, you know, and what ingredients Children need when, during each phase of development.

So that paid a huge role before we even tested those over 500 recipes actually with 100 founding families. Yeah, we had done a focus groups and surveys as well. And, and really we had actually the initial group of moms sent us, you know, all the meals that they were feeding their Children. And really like we were figuring out kind of the neat state then as well. And you know, every decision as we mentioned, you know, whether it's the recipes, the packaging, packaging is all plastic free, you know, even just some of the communications is the tone because we always want to, we always, there's no mom shaming my mom guilt and what we're building. So they were all, we always say we had like product market love before we ever launched. How long did it take you from that fourth of july party to the, you know, the day at the park where you've kind of got your product and you start seeding it out to these moms one year, a little over one year. Yeah. So it was about 67 months of us hacking like literally in Sophia's kitchen trying to like test things and figure it out together when we don't have food backgrounds and then to our ceo Carolyn O'hare coming on board as well.

So she was there from almost the very beginning, she probably says employee number one, but she built beyond me early days with the ceo there and just incredible mind in terms of the food supply chain background actually, she started like, wasn't it right before sebastian was born and then you guys were having to go through and do hand deliveries to the park slope parents. Yes, I was on maternity leave. I don't like best work today until her birth basically. Yes. My from the night before. Uh, oh my gosh, what kind of capital does it take to start a business like this? And what was kind of the vision in those early days? Was it go really big all at once or was it bootstrap start small, grow slowly? What was the kind of trajectory that you wanted? We knew we were going to be a VC backed business because the way I built my last company, you know, it was clear that if you got the right folks around the table, as we were mentioning, like you could really accelerate a vision and an idea. And so it was like, we didn't even really question that because we knew we were going into an E I.

R roll with human ventures that we were on the trajectory to have that rocket ship type, you know, growth here and obviously covid help that as well and we can talk about that because we believe that it just accelerated the trends that were already in the market. And so we were really able to meet parents where they were and when they needed us the most right to deliver fresh frozen food for their families. But for us, you know, we were absolutely in love with our board. So we built an incredible board. It's actually pretty sizable for our stage of business. But um, we're thrilled actually, some of last week on our one board meeting, one of the members said, you know, my favorite board and it was just incredible to hear say that, but you know, I think that's been the consensus around the table and you know, we've always made sure that over half our investors, half our board as well are women and from diverse backgrounds. So it was something that was really precious to us from the very founding of the company that we would carry that through and we would see, you know, the vision, no matter the obstacles right, that we would get those, those kind of partners around the table. So I think it's just a matter of strategy, right? Because with my last company, you know, as I mentioned, self funded it and then the first money in was actually a $50,000 grant that I received.

So, and then from that point it opened up an angel network, but this was again a decade ago and it was hardware, so very different space. But if you're first starting out, I definitely recommend to look into programs and you know, that for sure helped me to be able to get to the next level if you're not quite sure you are exactly networked in those circles if you are wanting to be like a VC backed business, but I think that's really important to make that decision very early on. That's super critical right to decide do I want to go after? Like, you know, VC funding or am I okay with doing even just family and friends and angel rounds, you know, and we always say that neither Betsy right? We're not, we don't have the typical stories like I'm an immigrant, she is from a town of 300 people. So really a lot of it is also kind of your like, just deep belief is that you're building something incredible and you will get it done and especially, you know, I think it definitely helped that Betsy had fundraise before and she was the second time founder. So I definitely learned a lot and now I can say I'm a first time founder and maybe somewhere in the future a second time founder, but I think it really helps.

It's just again, it's kind of your building this muscle as well when we're fundraising and we'll mention one more thing, you know, that you were pregnant when we were fundraising and we've gotten this question a couple of times, like maybe it is because we're building a baby company, but we never got kind of any push back. It was almost like, and I think Tibet's point earlier, I think the landscape has changed now where it's a selling point to be a woman and you know female a team, we always say we're a team of 10 women. Actually always looking for men are moms. But yeah, so I didn't really get any pushback there. Love that for you. Amazing. I want to switch to talk a little bit about the launch after you did the park email and you had those 100 founding members. What were you doing to then find new customers and acquire people and bring them on to your program? Great question. So we're hyper focused that have been to building on that community and hyper focused on organic acquisition specifically. So that has been, you know, in our basically built into our DNA since the very beginning.

So we quite quickly identified other moms groups. We could tap into similarly and because we knew we had a product that helps, you know, the mom's day today and it was quite easy actually to find these like ambassadors in the very early days. And to build, we always say there's no stronger word of mouth and that of a mom who's convinced and you know, have very much seen it in action as it relates to building tiny. But then currently what we have is of course those community efforts to actually just brought on two new hires to help really supercharged the community, really identify these alpha moms and we don't, we don't love the word influencer. We, we like to say that a mom who's influential in her own community, whether she has 500 or a million followers, you know, And then also we do some paid of course, as well paid marketing and organic marketing. We have email is a really strong channel for us that we focused on smS, you know, referral S E O and on the page side, you know, facebook and instagram and google kind of the big guys. But we are testing different platforms as well.

Like what Tiktok Tiktok Tiktok and even even read it, we're seeing, you know, that could potentially take us essentially trying to find these platforms that have less competition and maybe we could find new moms that way as well. But I would say the main thing for us is really that organic playbook and happy to talk more about kind of the tiny supper clubs and some of the secret sauce. Oh my God, please please talk about the secret sauce because I find like, you know, you get to a certain point and of course you have the Omni channel approach, you're ticking all the boxes, you're doing performance marketing, you're doing smS, you're doing email marketing, etcetera. But I'm interested in finding that those secret source moments for the brand that you're building and what really works for you and what really gets people inspired to talk about you and tell their friends, let's say, I want to talk about the supper clubs. Yeah, definitely. We often say that the first, the inaugural some supper club, which was in boston pre pandemic was a little bit like Sophia and mind wedding because there was like a toast and seven course meal and tears and you know, it wasn't even about food at the end of the day, although food is like this beautiful place of fellowship right?

That you can gather around the table so breast the tiny supper culturally embody that. But you know, we have a massive vision for bringing 100 flavors which is the core ingredient of what we bill, which is a baby like leaning term which will probably know it stems from UK originally by bringing these 100 flavors to 100 cities across America and 100 tiny supper clubs and so what these supper clubs do is they bring moms around the table just to have a chat right? Like to deal with like the struggles that we go through on a day to day and to really just open up and allow for that network right of support And so for us. And of course we do always have, you know, because our baby food, it's not parade so you actually can eat it and we eat it as well. Um, ourselves. So I think for that one we actually have this pie, pumpkin spiced oats with warmed with ice cream over it for the dessert. But you know what we do? There is we have a community of moms who come, yeah, come come around the table usually between 15 and 20 that we really do help to, um, you know, just just just create that space, right for them to feel like, okay, we can open up and it's coming from this really authentic place.

Right? So I think, I think that it is like Sophie and I are at the core of that, you know, we're the ones orchestrating it. They know the founders and then it's like this ripple effect, you know, that we found so really everything that we do in chinese, it really has come from this radical transparency, right? That we've built in from the very beginning. And I think that especially, you know, millennial moms, they really resonate with that and they understand that this is coming from like a very sincere heartfelt place, right? That can just build your brand and has for us, definitely, wow. And so how many have you done already? Yes. So about a dozen were not up to the 100 yet, but getting there because obviously some of them had to go virtual of course, of course. And so you're like flying around doing these supper clubs, finding women too who are part of the influential group of people or just moms wherever they are. It can be just moms wherever they are, but it is that term that Sophia used like the alpha mom who it might be the mom that everybody turns to for two year old advice, right?

But she doesn't have thousands of followers. Right? It's, it's more about, you know, the fact that she, she has a voice and she's able to communicate kind of what, what experiences she's had and the struggles and again, coming back to authenticity. They're so, so it's kind of a little bit of the magic that we don't only share in terms of like how we, you know, gather these moms around the table. But of course, and so to set the scene, you know, even further, you're having these conversations, but like what kind of conversations do you have on the evening? Like what does the evening look like or daytime, whatever it is, they are really special moments. Right. Right. Exactly. It is, it is very much like, you know what sit around that table stays there. Um, you know the way that we set it up is just an open and honest discussion around. Like these are the mom wins that I might have had over the last week or month or even day. Um, and here's like a massive struggle and we always come to the table with a few of the struggles depending on the age of the toddler baby of the parent that's there.

But yeah. And, and so for us, you know, we do cater them to the local community as well, right? Because they are like very much like hyper localized on. So, so some of the moms already know each other actually around the table and it already feels like this more open environment. But we definitely have, yeah, we definitely have like a secret sauce that lets our playbook that we've built and, and it's, it's definitely like, you know, for us, the reason why we believe we have the best organic growth numbers out of anyone else we know in the category because we really have struck a chord there. Yeah. Well if you come to London, I have so, well actually not so many. I have a few friends who are just absolutely amazing and could definitely put them in touch with you. Oh my God, we would love that. Yeah, we would love that because we're going to be out in october actually. Um, it's considered with the pandemic. But yeah, definitely let me know for sure.

You know, one more thing I will add is we talk about community. We love the saying that it's like a living organism and you know, for us, we do want to also create a space for our, our moms to get together even after the event kind of to make it repeatable. So that's the other kind of key part of the playbook that we're working on is to create that kind of space and to Betsy's point essentially is about starting solids, but it's not just about the food. I think it's just about your life as a mom and really the fact that it's an intimate setting is key as well, that safe space. Absolutely. When you look back over the last few years, what do you think the key inflection points have been that have helped you propel forward? That is such a good question. I would mention that we had the 100 founding families for a year prior to coming to market. So we only just launched nationwide in january of last year. We've been live for a little over a year now. So that was definitely a major inflection point when we did launch nationwide and then saw, you know, it was just three months prior to the pandemic and then this explosive growth that we weren't even anticipating or projected.

But I do believe that it's definitely like those very first investors that believed in us to another is Elizabeth Street Ventures will is on our board to this day. And you know, I think having those really consumer minded focused people who just believe, right? Like, I mean I was like seven or eight months pregnant when we first met with them and it was like, he just believes so so much and what we were doing and wanted to, you know, help us crystallize that vision and same with human venture. So I think that that was definitely an inflection point, would you say as well. Sophia and then before the july party because we have three years prior, but like being like, oh my gosh, like when I couldn't sleep that night and just so excited and like those butterflies. Absolutely. And I wanted to also mention that took a lot of hard work, like there's no such thing as an overnight success. Like it does take time especially to build a consumer brand with a lot of brand awareness. So I think for us it's been tremendous to see, you know, last year and this year, I mean how well known the brand has become one of my friends, I think I said to Betty, one of my friends sent actually photo from Miami, there was just a person in his lobby where he's staying with two tiny boxes and no way love.

That was amazing to see, thrilling, I'm sure. But it takes it takes a little while, you know, it takes some time. Where is the business today? And what does the future look like over say, the next 12 months, what's the roadmap? Yeah, so we just launched earlier this year and we should probably make mention as well. One of those very early partnerships that we brought on even prior to going nationwide was with Michelle Obama, her partnerships for a healthier America. So we serve on her shaping early pallets board and part of that is, you know, last month her Ceo interviewed us for the veggies early and often campaign. So it's this icon that we're rolling out on pack and actually a few other baby food brands have just joined on as well. We have about 10 right now that our and then hopefully the industry follows suit. But essentially it's it's an icon that first in the industry to represent that this product is mainly vegetables. So the first ingredients of vegetable is made up of mostly vegetables and no more than 5 to 7 g of natural sugars in this product. So when a mom would see that on shelf or even when she goes on site, right?

She can know instantly, okay, this has Michelle Obama stamp of approval, right? But it is a vegetable forward product and this is something that we want to shift like the mindset in the industry right away from sugaring towards savory. That is our whole value prop in terms of 80 of our 101st flavors being savory, right? The Children could learn to love vegetables from the very first day. So for us it's about rolling out this partnership again in a big way after we've already worked with them for over a year now we just released a white paper and that was part of the announcement that we had last month around the research. We've done. The report is absolutely stunning in terms of you know, under under 10% of Children in the U. S. Get the recommended amount of vegetables and majority of that is through french fries. So what we what we found. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So and so we truly need to retrain and to honestly just shape the palates of a generation, right? So that we can, you know, have a generation that can grow up free of chronic disease, obesity and all these, you know, elements that are that the people have really come into the light over this last year, right?

Giving Covid as well, you know, and just to ensure that like, you know, Children could grow up to be the healthiest versions of themselves. So Sophie and I have really, really big dreams and visions around the accessibility component of what we're doing here and that we're trying to bring it to all babies across America with Michelle's help in terms of the partnership for a healthier America organization. You know, the real dream is to get onto wig right? So that it's the food stamp for women and Children that over half of babies in America are fed on. And currently it's mainly only parades actually that are available and mostly not organic. So for us this is a massive audacious vision that we're like literally this is the north star of the company, right? We want to be able to truly shape the palace, you know of all babies to love vegetables and to grow up to be healthier and to have an understanding of their own health from the very beginning, right? Because when I was growing up, I didn't realize how much sugar actually affects you, right? And especially in those formative years, you kind of like all over the place like in terms of your emotions and it's like imagine if you know an eight year old, you know, yes, like there now meditating with calm, right?

And these other incredible companies that have come about but could they also have a mindfulness around what they're eating and how it affects them emotionally, right in this very formative time. Um you know, Yeah, yeah, exactly and chinese trying to be at the very forefront of that. So it's definitely big, big goals here, so exciting. That's wow, incredible stuff and such great North star to have, I wonder if also Michelle Obama's initiative, what did you say? It was called again partnerships for healthier America partnerships for her healthy America in the white, she found it in the White House in conjunction with her, let's move initiative. Got it, got it. I wonder if this will also hopefully impact the industry as a whole in and I'm thinking like, you know, the companies that do offer these purees that are full of sugar that are full of crap that they then think, hey, you know, the industry is changing the landscape is changing. We actually need to do better and if they're inspired to do better. Yeah, absolutely.

And there was recently, not sure if you caught it doing, but there was a congressional investigation into some of the big baby food brands and they basically found heavy metals in some of the products and heavy metals are naturally, they naturally occur in this toy. I saw it on Tiktok. Yeah. So you know, we always say that title was literally born for this moment because you know, we're all organic or all real whole foods. You know, all our foods are textured, sort of child can really engage all their senses while eating it. So, you know, for us going back to the radical transparency piece, we really feel like this is our moment to really take a stance and absolutely or you're spot on where, you know, the FDA really needs to have more oversight. You know, this is our most vulnerable population and, and also the other pieces for the first time ever. The FDA, you know, published guidelines for babies and toddlers. They never never had had nutritional guidelines for a population that can't really can't decide what they want to eat yet, but there's so much opportunity to set them up on the right path as it relates to nutrition.

So yeah, absolutely. Gosh, you're in the right place at the right time to be leading the way and you know, helping shape the new generation of babies. So amazing what a great purpose driven company. I have a question for you both now. And that is what's your key piece of advice for women who have a big idea and want to start their own business and we will start with you. Sophia, I haven't got to go back to what I said earlier just to have a deep belief in yourself. For me, it's not that I shouldn't be here, but sometimes I think I shouldn't be here. It was just kind of sheer determination that I want to create meaningful impact in the world. And also don't worry if you're your career trajectory or career path is kind of non linear and or weird, you know, even even for me, I come from kind of the, you know, I went from actually, I used to work at a shipping brokerage in in London and then I work was at the press office and it was always marketing communications, you know, but then I went to finance and then I worked at a non profit, which I always say it's good trading ground to founding your own business because you have to do a lot with very little.

But ultimately, you know, again, just don't be, don't be concerned about the optics and how it looks on the outside. Um and I think also leveraging your network, you know, ultimately there were times when I was in my past role and had this big dream, but I wasn't sure how to go about, you know, executing it. And then, you know, obviously had met Betsy years ago at an event. So I'm a massive believer in networking is maybe a hard word, but like I'm a massive believer in being in the, in the right rooms and really putting your whole self out there and I think the network will reward you and it will be, it will come back uh to you all those efforts as well, meeting new people and sharing your story, absolutely power of the people and the power of that community that you have around you. And I also think another point is someone mentioned this on the show the other day, you don't have to have a network, you just have to be able to go and put yourself out there and start building your network. You know, not everyone comes from a network and some people might hear these kind of conversations and be like, oh I don't know anyone, but that's okay too.

You're able to just, you know, start cold emailing, start cold calling and start going to events, just start putting yourself out there and being vulnerable and being able to like ask the question and you'll build your network and you'll build that community 1000% and that's what Betty and I both, by the way, did we knocked on many doors? And many of you are my biggest inspiration in life when it comes to that truly okay, because you've created, you know, a space where especially when culturally that's not necessarily the case when you come from europe, you know, to like kind of make yourself sort of so vulnerable and so open and so and so just authentic to people that they really resonate, right? They want to know you. And I think, you know, Sophia has yeah, as you can probably already, you know, doing, but there's like incredible magic about her, right, that she embodies in that. And I think, you know, people can, can tap into it and definitely like a huge inspiration in my life for sure. And I do think that when you're starting out like this idea that the people around the table, I mean that's literally everything because no woman is an island, right?

Like even just, you know, thinking about mentors you might have had previously in your career, right? That you can ask for advice and try to go to about really anything right. Like what do you think of this? Crazy idea? Like something that really helped me when I was wait a minute early days was like, you write down 100 ideas, you whittle that down to five. You then pitched that out to folks and see like, hey, what do you think? Because when you're first getting going on an idea, like it can really help to have those kind of like big thinking, big picture. But then obviously it crystallizes as you get the right folks around you. So the number one recommendation, as you start, as you begin to truly build and have like, you know, incorporated company or even an L. C. Like to get that advisory board around you right? Even before investors to get those folks that are that you say, hey, I want you to own this baby too, right? Like let's build this together, you know, that that is just so tremendous. But at the end of the day, you know, you have to believe against all odds that no matter what, you're going to try to bring this dream into reality. And I think that's absolutely yeah, another massive inspiration that he has been in my life, where it's like, whatever it takes, we're going to do it and we're going to get it done and we're gonna turn everything into a victory.

And so I think, you know, like, like I mentioned earlier in this episode, you don't have to know everything. And in fact it's actually a massive advantage if you don't write because you can kind of make yourself more vulnerable and say, hey, I'm going to ask those questions right? And I would love to get your involvement and I think that's where it needs to start. It's just this place of humility that like, hey, I want to build something, I want to put some, I want to leave this world better than I found it. And like, you know, let's do that together, right? Like let's have that vision and empower each other and you know what Sophie and I have tried to do since founding the business of all women that we have today. Um, right? And so I think we'll continue to do that, you know, as we grow with those decisions that you make in the very, very beginning are just a ripple effect, right? In terms of the culture of the company and the founding families and everything that you do. So definitely just, just trying to, you know, even if it is like a linkedin message, right? Like, hey, I absolutely love your story, would love to just, you know, chat with you or I see that we're connected here, right? Like, you know, a lot of people want to be able to share their story and and if you asked, if you ask me say like, oh, I'm just super interested in, you know, I think this is amazing what you've done then, you know, they probably will be keen right to kind of give back because as we all know what you give back, right?

Like it actually comes back to you tenfold, there's around. So Yes, exactly, yeah, absolutely love that. I'm conscious of time, but at the end of every episode I ask every woman that I speak to a series of six quick questions, so we're going to have to breathe through it and I'll start with you, Sophia some of it we might have already touched on, but we'll go there, Question number one is what's your why? Why do you do what you do? I would say to create meaningful impact in the world. Question number two is what do you think has been the number one marketing moment that made your business pop. I think it's hard to say that there wasn't one moment. I think it's kind of what we chatted about earlier, which is that foundation that we built with our founding parents. And I would say also the feedback from those founding families has really informed all the decisions we've made here. Yeah, I kept that loop going and being able to build on to that. Love that question. Number three is where do you hang out to get smarter? What are you reading or listening to that? We should all know about right now.

Great question. I I like to meet with kind of a diverse group of people to hear different perspectives. I always joke that I probably watch too much netflix. Um so I watched some really and I I love like true crime and I don't know if those are the ones that I learned from the most, but I think, you know, I think it's just you know, hearing different perspectives from people. I I love people. I love connecting with people. I love connecting people. So I think that's where I learned the most. Mm amazing question number four is how do you win the day? What are your am or your PM habits or rituals that keep you feeling happy and productive and motivated. Um a lot of coffee. No, I think it's like no, yourself and I've talked about this before where I'm, I'm an idol more than a morning person. So for me I tend to maybe wake up a little later, but then work like late until the evening. Betsy noses. Sometimes I go on tears overnight as well where I really do deep work late.

But I do think also for us from a company perspective, really looking at like have we helped apparent today how we've had a baby, you know, better food today. I think those are from a company perspective the winds that we look for. Mm that's really cool to ask yourself. You know that at the end of every day. I love that question. Number five is if you only have $1000 left in the business bank account, where would you spend it? I think we'd go back to the beginning, you know, I think we'd, you know, identify a few more families who need help in their day to day and you know, maybe yeah, by a few coolers and go back to the park to go back to the roots of tiny, which is actually exactly we should by the way, do that. That's a good idea totally. Should. And question number six, last question is, how do you deal with failure? What's your mindset and approach? Well, I think it's an interesting thing. I think failure is in my mind, it is a learning, you know, it's, it's not, if you fail, it's, if you recover and there's that great thomas Edison quote, like I didn't fail.

I just, you know, found 10,000 ways on why it didn't work. Um, and I'm a true believer in that because if you have no failures, you didn't try. And in my mind that's a bigger, you know, I think that's a, that's a big learning where if you want to do anything in life, you have to try. Absolutely. Thank you. Amazing fetc. It's your turn question number one. Okay. It's your turn. Yeah. You've got to give it a go. You got to give it a go question number one is what's your, why? Why do you do what you do? So every morning actually, that's part of the routine question as well. I'm reminded of this because my son Sebastian, you know, wakes me up and it's truly the idea that I'm building this for him. That is such a deep, deep rooted motivator and the fact that he actually loves the food and east tiny at least once a day for the past two years. So like seeing him enjoy it. We enjoy it together. It's this beautiful like bonding time for us. I think that that is truly a deep down to know that other parents are feeling are also feeling this way and experiencing that sort of joy that comes from the convenience and know you're feeding your child the healthiest option?

Absolutely. Question number two is what do you think spend the number one marketing moment that made the business pop. Yeah, I mean as Sophia said, I don't think it was any one thing but I do believe that in terms of business popping for us it's definitely around like how we're trying to get tiny to every community around the U. S. And you know the ph a partnership really solidified that for us in a big way in terms of setting our intentions before we ever went nationwide. And so I think just the fact that that is a longer road and you know where there was this incredible article by the new yorker can babies learn to love vegetables. It was actually a manifesto in our industry is still referenced to this day. And tiny was the only name actually mentioned there in terms of you know, new companies trying to do it. And so I do believe that you know that probably also, you know, it was part of like when we first joined ph a helped in that inflection moment just prior to going nationwide in january of last year. Mm wow goodness Question number three is where do you hang out to get smarter?

What are you reading or listening to? That is great. Yeah, definitely. So as we have mentioned, we actually chat with our with our board weekly and I just learned so much from them and a great recommendation that came was this book. I'm reading the two point. Oh so by jim Collins. So it's you know, he's like the famous um right business like thought leader, but this is his newest one and it is just so good in terms of building companies into the great companies that can stand the test of time. So that's definitely one, you know, I do a lot of you know writing in my free time as well trying to work on a book right now and so I think you know, for me, what I found in my life is I can gain the most inspiration from things outside of the day to day. Right? So so I just planted my garden over the weekend. I'm the type that I actually recharge by being alone. So I think in terms of yeah investing in that time with nature and you know, especially given that chinese totally vegan and plant based is really important to me and my values to.

So I definitely feel like you know that's just a great, great thing I learned very early on in my career is that if you can kind of gain knowledge you know across industries right that it can just elevate even everything that you're doing right and you might not see the connection just yet, but it can be there. Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for the book recommendation by the way I'm going to link it in the show notes for anyone who wants to check that out and then favorite and favorite business book of all time is shoe dog by Phil Knight. So definitely that one if you haven't already had it on, I'm sure maybe people have recommended on the show all the time. It's definitely yeah, for sure. I haven't read yet. I need to, I need to read question number four is how do you win the day? What is your am or PM rituals that keep you feeling happy and successful and motivated aside from the gardening? Yes, it's definitely waking up to a little sebastian and he's your joy. I mean obviously he's in like the two year old phase right now, right? So there are tantrums as well. But for the most part, no matter how I'm feeling throughout my days, like, you know, we can have an intentional moment together where I'm just in the state of play and it just brings you back to reality and that's like the here and now in that moment of like nothing else matters, right?

And I think that you can feel that way with your dog or even with a family member or you know, especially during the pandemic, right? But just finding those, those moments to restore, you know, I'm just so grateful that having a toddler, you're forced into those daily and you have to make the time right? So definitely like with him being my inspiration as well is Yeah, just and I'm very grateful such joy question number five is if you only had $1000 left in your business bank account, where would you spend it? It would definitely be on trying to feed more families with that. Right? So I think exactly to Sophia's point going back to the beginning trying to like figure out how can we best spend this for our founding families are for you know, other other families in need event, right, that need our food because right now it's just a matter of scaling and bringing you know everything to in terms of production, right? And making the recipes themselves amazing. And question number six, last question is how do you deal with failure? Yeah, so definitely, you know, again what we have mentioned earlier is like we just turn everything into a victory.

So even in like even in like the lowest points right in life, it's like you can still find those silver linings and actually you can realize in the end that you know after it all it worked out, it worked out the way it worked out better than you could even have imagined basically, right? So in the moment it might be like this is the worst thing that's happened or how or you know or yeah, definitely, you know felt like failure time and time again, I feel like almost daily actually, but it's like how do you change that conversation and make it and make it work for you, right? And so I think it's just gaining those learnings and picking yourself up and having that resilience and you know, the persistence to do so. Sophia Betty thank you so much for taking the time to be on the show today. You'll learn to love you, you hey, it's Doom here. Thanks for listening to this episode of the female startup club podcast. If you're a fan of the show, I'd recommend checking out female startup club dot com where you can subscribe to our newsletter and learn more about our D I.

Y. Course. The ads. M. B. A. I also truly appreciate each and every review that comes our way. It might seem like such a small thing, but reviews help others find us. So please do jump on and subscribe rate and review the show. And finally, if you know someone who would benefit from hearing these inspiring stories, please do share it with them and empower the women in your network. See you soon. No, mm. Mhm.

How Supper Clubs became the secret sauce behind the Tiny Organics community, with Betsy Fore and Sofia Laurell
How Supper Clubs became the secret sauce behind the Tiny Organics community, with Betsy Fore and Sofia Laurell
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