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Betsy Fore was named one of Forbes 30 under 30, BBC’s 100 Most Inspiring Women, and she is currently the co-founder of Tiny Organics, a nutrient-rich, organic baby food company designed to build adventurous eaters from a young age.
Betsy has over a decade of experience as an inventor, product founder and CEO, serves on the Tufts School of Nutrition and Policy Innovation Council and her company, Tiny Organics, has been chosen by Michelle Obama’s Partnerships for a Healthier America for their baby food initiative to support veggie-forward early palate development across the nation.
But above all, she is the mama of a little boy named Sebastian who was the inspiration behind launching Tiny Organics.
Her Forbes 30 Under 30 title for manufacturing and industry as one of the only woman inventors in her company and her inspiration to be an inventor
In her first company Wondermento, she invented the first “fitbit” for dogs called WonderWoof
Her journey from being raised in a rural town with a Native American mother to building Tiny Organics at 8 months pregnant
Lessons learned from scaling her first company: growing a team, creating a shared vision, exiting a company, being a solo founder and fundraising
How to feed your baby whole foods with baby led weaning, starting solids and why timing on savory over sweet flavors is important for developing a child’s palette
What she did differently with her second company: Tiny Organics
The importance of Tiny’s Founding Family – testing and reiterating for a year before bringing it to market and the value of organic word of mouth marketing over paid advertising and how it led to scaling and funding faster
Interested in trying out Tiny Organics? Get 40% off the first box of Tiny meals with code: TINYLOVESMOAC
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[00:00:00] Stephanie: Welcome back to mommy’s on a call today. I’m bringing on Betsy Fore. Betsy was named one of Forbes, 30 under 30 BBCs 100 most inspiring women. And she’s currently the co-founder of tiny organics, a nutrient rich organic baby food company, designed to build adventurous eaters from a young age.
Betsy has over a decade of experience as an inventor product, founder and CEO, but above all, she’s the mom of a little boy named Sebastian, who was
the inspiration behind launching tiny organics. So welcome Betsy.
[00:01:25] Betsy: Thank you so much, Stephanie,
[00:01:27] Stephanie: it’s wonderful to have you. I wanted to start off by asking what was your biggest mom win of the week.
[00:01:33] Betsy: Oh, wow. That’s a good one. So my son and I go to the farmer’s market every Saturday, I’ve actually been able to plant a garden within this last year. He’s just turning three. And this past Saturday we were there and it was the first time in quite a while that they had a band and. Three people playing saxophone.
And our song came on as I was walking by. And it was just a special moment with me and him together, where somewhere over the rainbow started playing. And so we started dancing and it was just like this beautiful, like you could never have planned it type of moment where it was like, literally bringing a tear to my eyes.
It was happening, but, and, and you, and you kind of think to yourself, like, wow, like it’s all, it’s all worth it. You know, everything, you know, it’s so it’s so hard, right? Like being a new parent. There’s just those little moments that if you can lean into them and be truly present, right? Yeah. I think that was a definite win and he kept talking about it after, too, that we like heard our song and, you know, it’s what I always sing to him at that time.
That’s so, yeah.
[00:02:34] Stephanie: So you get, so I actually give me a little bit about your family context. What are the roles you and your partner play? Just your family dynamics.
[00:02:42] Betsy: Yes, yes. Yeah. My partner Patrick and I have been together for like 16 years now. Wow. Yeah, we celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary this year.
Yeah. Little Sebastian who was a miracle. I mean, I couldn’t have had a baby. Initially. I had to go through a really invasive surgery for fibroids, which are most prevalent in African-American and native American women, which is why my mom and my grandma and everyone on the reservation. Has struggled with this.
And so I kind of had some context there, but kind of was not prepared for that surgery because it is a C-section, but you’re not, you don’t have a baby afterwards. Right. However, because that happened, I wasn’t able to get pregnant and have Sebby. So he is our little miracle. And as you know, Stephanie, I’m currently going through IVF.
I do try to have another. And so that’s also a roller coaster. Just started everything a couple of weeks ago. And, you know, on top of running our companies,
[00:03:38] Stephanie: I want to hear more about like doing both of those and things. So with your first were, was that natural? The was that IUI was that iVF.
[00:03:46] Betsy: That was a natural.
That was natural. So I’d had the surgery. I was sort of primed. And I was younger at that point as well, so that, yeah, we were totally blessed. And, you know, because he, he was also a planned C-section because of my previous surgery. So of course in typical Virgo fashion, he came right on time to the minute, like when he was meant to arrive, I was trying to get it scheduled for September 4th.
Cause that’s Beyonce birthday, but then everything was booked out anyway.
[00:04:15] Stephanie: Three C-sections and I scheduled each of them, except for only one of the three came on their scheduled date.
[00:04:21] Betsy: So I know. Amazing. Wow. Okay.
[00:04:26] Stephanie: So my last one was February 3rd, 2020, and I actually wanted her on February 2nd cause I wanted it to be 2, 2, 2, 0, but then it had to be a Monday because they don’t do C-sections on Sunday.
[00:04:41] Betsy: But it’s
[00:04:41] Stephanie: kind of, it’s interesting to like plan your birthday, but then you never know babies do what they want to do.
So where were you, I guess at the time, when you had your first kid, where were you working? What were you doing? Because, I mean, Forbes 30, under 30, like all of these, you know, titles and stuff.
Where were you, how did you earn these? What’s your background?
[00:05:02] Betsy: Yeah, definitely. So that was with my previous company. I’d founded. Was honored with Forbes 30, under 30, but backing way, way up. So I actually grew up in the countryside building motorcycles. My dad, who’s a motorcross racer and probably my greatest inspiration in a lot of ways throughout life.
He, so, yeah, he and I were always building things. And when I went to uni, I figured out, oh, wow. And it was my first time I’d ever been to a big city. I went to Chicago. And I figured out like, oh, I could study industrial design and engineering and actually continue to get to build things. Right. So first 30 I actually got from manufacturing and industry because that’s my background, although I was really only female and all of that.
Yes, exactly. So when I was, became a toy inventor after university, which is just like so surreal that this happened, but Chicago was really a hub for it. I was the only, I was the youngest by far and one of two women inventors and the whole firm. And I was able to sell my concepts to George Lucas for star wars and Mattel for Polly pocket did work on WVE the game of life.
It was so much fun. And I thought, wow, can’t get better than this. Right. Because you’re, you got to run. Startup within this innovation firm and by creating everything by hand. So actually this was before I was able to convince him to get a CNC machine. We did everything with lays mill mold room back for actually building stuff, which is kind of a lost art nowadays.
And I’m just so grateful. I feel like I was last generation to really enjoy. And then I would read about, so I, my, my partner Patrick had mentioned, and I knew that he’s his family’s from Poland originally. And so we knew we wanted to live in Europe for a bit. And I had heard about a guy, Mike Lathan Smith, who was building what was fast becoming one of the top kids, digital brands in London.
There were still a few people there at the time at our old offices, but I flew out and not knowing anyone. I had never been in the country before. And sort of surreal and not knowing anyone walked in and a very long story, but by the fifth time he was like, okay, you know, let her in. And we chatted for over two hours.
He heard me on the spot to lead all the product. So that was from physical and the digital side, which was so incredible. And it really opened my world to like, wow, okay. This is where. You know, it’s all sort of headed. And we were able to build becoming over 300 people over a hundred million registered users, online marshy monsters with like the Pokemon of the UK.
And Michael actually was founding calm the meditation app during that same time. So it was really fun to get to see him go through that next journey for in, in his story as well. But it was during that time too. I’m doing hackathons on the weekends to kind of scratch that building like the builder itch.
Cause I was only able to like leave, you know, the teams at that point. And I invented the first Fitbit for dogs. So it was for my dog whiskey and this was my previous company I founded because he was overweight and I tried everything to get him to lose the weight and finally build this, that I have a Fitbit for myself.
Why don’t I have one for him? And over the course of a few months, he did begin to lose weight. And then he got to his goal weight because of the device, which makes him his life up to two years. So I knew. If I can extend that lie from my dog, like I want to bring this to the masses because at that time over half of dogs were overweight or obese and UK and us.
And so I did found the company in London. So the headquarters were there. We launched it Harrods initially, which was so much fun with some celebrities. Colette repairs, fashion week when that was still around and then over to Bloomingdale’s and Manhattan and all of my, we built everything in house. We didn’t buy anything, you know, off off it was actually the full stack of hardware.
We built patents
[00:08:26] Stephanie: yourself or anything.
[00:08:27] Betsy: Did you? Wow. So, so yes. And on the bow tie as well, we have a design. Because it was the number one accessory for any dog, right. It’s like a cute little bow tie. And so we’re like here, we want to own that from, from the tech perspective. So the bow tie would tell your, tell you in real time, is your dog sleeping, running, playing dreaming even.
And what other dogs that they met up with that day? And who’s top dog, who’s got the most exercise and every day.
[00:08:53] Stephanie: What was the name? Yes.
[00:08:54] Betsy: My previous company is Wondermento and our hero product is WonderWoof yeah, so we, it was such a magical journey for about eight years. I wonder what, and we had the best retail attraction of any pet wearable in the U S so we launched every best buy on in-cab.
Every pet. Every urban Outfitters. And it was just, so was such a wild ride. Cause I never even had a sales director. So I was like the one doing all this. There was a lot of learnings. I’ll never be a sole founder again. I was like, it’s just taking on too much, especially when you’re running this, this many different departments within the company.
So I was going to Hong Kong every time. For our product team there on the hardware side as well. And yeah, just a ton of learnings for this next company that I founded.
And to your original point, Stephanie’s like, you know, it was actually whilst getting pregnant with Sebastian and trying to exit Wondermento that, that Sophia and I came together to build tiny.
And so he was eight. I was eight months pregnant when we were in prospect park, handing out. Tiny cups, two complete strangers. And obviously this was pre pandemic, but hundreds of families were feeding tiny to their babies and we weren’t even like launched yet or a real brand. And Sebi was then born like very soon there after, and he’s been raised on tiny ever since he was five months old.
He, every single day has been eating and eating tiny and prefers it. It’s kind of like his nostalgia. Mine is, was McDonald’s when I was growing up. That was my first words. McDonald’s Coke. Fresh is like, Oh, hold on.
Yeah. So in the middle of Illinois in a very rural country town. Yeah. Native American too. Yes. So my family’s at turtle mountain Chippewa if from North Dakota reservation. Yeah. I actually am getting up there in the next couple of months and got to see everyone this past week too, for a family reunion, but yes, and actually on our reservation.
They’re there. You know, when my mom was growing up there, there was no access to WIC even, which is really the north star for tiny is how can we become an accessible household name, but to all communities across the nation. And so over half of babies in America are fed on the food stamp for women, infant and children called WIC.
And it is our, yeah. Scar to be the first organic whole food offering on there. So it’s definitely part of the story and yeah, actually, no idea. Any of that, I
[00:11:15] Stephanie: did not know you were part native American or did you grow up on the
[00:11:18] Betsy: reservation or you? My mom did. Yeah. And I grew up going every year. Yes. So my, my family is still there and I have many, like, I was just with my auntie who, she’s the director of the hospital, where my mom was born on the Rez.
And then my other auntie who just passed this. This last year, she founded our university there as well. So incredible powerful women, you know, like kind of paved the way and then a total inspiration in terms of our tribe and yeah, including my mom. So definitely feel like, yeah, I, you know, that’s, that’s just a strong, a strong core part of who I am and what I want to bring you the ability to
[00:11:53] Stephanie: go to like university after and then do all that.
[00:11:58] Betsy: Wow. That’s pretty wild because I came from a place where most folks are still in that little country town. Like I had never been to a big city until I went to Chicago to go to university, you know? So it, it definitely felt like, yeah, just a wild ride, really to think like what you could accomplish, if you can.
Sort of believe in yourself, keep pushing yourself forward. Right? Because it doesn’t, it didn’t, nothing was kind of, you know, nothing comes easy in life, but I think if you, if you have that hard work and that passion, that dedication that you can just get leaps and bounds, like so far, So then, and so I’m really grateful for that, as you say.
So then leading into your
[00:12:35] Stephanie: dog company. So you were inspired because of your own dog to create this. Did you create the digital site also, or like, where did you get, how did you get
[00:12:43] Betsy: the expertise?
[00:12:44] Stephanie: You were a hardware person, an engineer. So you created this. But, you know, building a team or doing that, how did you find the people to bring that idea to real life conception
[00:12:55] Betsy: or who are the people that you hired?
Well, I think that’s the most important job of any CEO is bringing on the team and really trying to elevate them, empower them and be that visionary that they want to work with. Right. Because for me, it was definitely bringing on my CTO. Initially, the only reason that I was able to launch. And then we brought on our director of hardware.
Yes, we did everything in house. And I just always hired people that were smarter than me that knew more. I’m still doing that to this day. Right. Something else I did in the very beginning was bring on this really big board of advisors. And that was what I translated the tiny as well, which has served us so well, these folks that have already been in the industry for years, cause I would say I don’t have a food background.
Right. So, you know, coming, coming at it from that understanding. And then really co building it with us has made a big, big difference. And so, yeah, I think, I think it’s all about trying to rally around the vision when you get the right folks around the table, right. To build it, which is why. Yeah. It’s just so many learnings building.
Wonder what if and one of them was that I didn’t, you know, I wanted to be a co-founder for this next one question.
[00:13:59] Stephanie: So you said you were like, I never want to be a solo founder anymore, so you want to be a co-founder. I guess a couple of questions.
One. How did you know it was time to move away from the dog company to build this next company?
And two, how did you find your co-founder? Like, what were you like? How did you know Sophia and then why would, why did you pick her and also, why do you want to co-founder.
[00:14:20] Betsy: Yes. Yes, great questions Stephanie, definitely. So I knew it was time because we had been approached over two years prior for acquisition because our biggest competitor with Seoul was acquired by Mars and SS.
So you can probably guess who was courting us at that point. And I had never had. Dreamt of selling. I was having so much fun building wonder woman. And then it was like, once I was proposed with this, you know, opportunity, it was like, okay, maybe I’m going to start thinking that way. And then ultimately in the end, it wound up that we didn’t even go with that acquisition, but it was an exit.
And so it wasn’t something. It made it where I was able to step away, remain on the board and you know, it wasn’t, it wasn’t like I was going to stay on and build the next pet tech lab for the next five years, which was kind of part of that deal as well, because I knew I wanted to, I’m truly an adventurer at heart and I knew I wanted to do.
You know, childhood nutrition or not nutrition company, but just a childhood company at that point. And so when Sophia and I had met originally, I was speaking at maker fair in New York, and we had a mutual friend there, and this was like maybe two years prior to us actually coming together again at a rooftop party 4th of July. So almost, yes, exactly. I guess four years ago in 2017 where it was just like, w it was just like, when you meet someone and you’re like this. I mean, it’s, it happens very few times in your life. Right. But like, it’s just like sparks. It’s like, oh my gosh, this idea that she had for me for when she always wanted to found a children, a child, mom, I forgot.
No, not yet. She was born in the Finnish baby box and she has had this lifelong dream to. You know, bring that to the US. And then when we came around what we were going to do together, it was really how do we make the biggest impact on childhood development? And so that’s how we eventually got to nutrition.
But when I had so many learnings from building the first time around, but I knew I just want to self fund the company again, like for the first couple of years, I did go on to raise millions for wonder Wolf as well. But I knew that this time I wanted to align myself with really as an EIR with, with, with, uh, VC firm that felt super aligned with my values and the mission.
And ultimately, after chatting with quite a few around New York, made the decision to go with human ventures. And so we absolutely love Heather. She’s still on our board to this day and we really got to co build it with them from the beginning. And that’s when you know, all these exciting insights happened around bringing advisors around the table and realizing that the biggest impact we can have on a child’s life with what they’re putting in their body.
We could help shape their gut health so that they could grow up to be the healthiest versions of themselves. Because what was really stunning to us is that we started digging into the research. We realized baby food is a completely invented category in the 1920s. So, so prior to. Babies. We’re just eating real whole food.
Right? I think it was like, you know, how, how we were born to eat. And yet, you know, with these canned purees, a lot of times there’s, we’re having, even when I was eating them in the eighties, added sugar and salt put in for the parents palette as well. And so when a baby’s coming off of breast milk, which is already sweet or even formula for that matter, They are then already prone to have a sugary forward palette.
So if you’re not introducing the savory flavors of vegetables in particular, from the very beginning, then it can make it just so much harder to develop those taste preferences as the child grows. And so we know of, and in all of our research, we’d done, there’s a period in a, in a, in a person’s life at the age of four to seven months old.
So none of us remember it, right, but it’s called the flavor window. And that is when a person is more keen to treat. New flavors than they ever will be their entire life. And so if you can capture a child at that point and be able to introduce them to vegetables, they could actually get a sense for savory over sugary, or even as interesting.
I feel like I was gonna say, I think I missed that window for all three kids. Cause unfortunately, well, and then I think I only see
[00:18:08] Stephanie: you said four to seven months in America. A lot of times they say don’t start till six months. Don’t start feeding. And so, and then you start off with like the cereals or like the liquidy kind of stuff.
Or I would puree my own kind of fruits and vegetables, but
[00:18:22] Betsy: that
[00:18:22] Stephanie: only leaves like a short window. Cause if you start at like six months and then you do the whole, like, we’re going to introduce one food at a time, like every week, you know, especially as a first time, mom, you, you are afraid of all the allergies.
[00:18:35] Betsy: And the choking hazard, like a baby led weaning. I was actually curious, tiny organics. I know. Cause I, we love the, you know, your food.
[00:18:44] Stephanie: It is not pureed or anything. And so there are other companies that do purees. Do you puree the tiny organics or do you just give them whole and do baby led weaning from the very beginning.
[00:18:54] Betsy: Exactly. So you can, you can do it both ways. We never mom, Shane as a mom does want to start with praise at first of course, but eventually they will need to start solids. The way that we felt tiny is that my son started at five months old, where he was able to grab it. He didn’t have teeth at that point, but because it’s perfectly steamed, it will just disintegrate and the child’s mouth and thing of they’re able to pick it up and see, oh, that’s a broccoli, that’s the carrot.
Right. And so I think that’s part of this is that you’re creating kind of these. Variety of flavors as well with exposing children to other cultures, through food from around the world. So we have Valencia pay coconut Curry, Ratatouille. We’re creating a native American one, the three sisters. Now I’m with my cousin, who’s a chef.
And you know, so we’re trying to expose children in a way where they will crave. Savory flavors as they grow. So obviously my son being a toddler now can still enjoy tiny as a healthy or a snack or the oatmeals as a full breakfast as well. And we do have product line extensions coming out too. But I think for us, it’s definitely about the mom or dad who wants to try baby led weaning.
We’re meeting them there and we’re, we’re giving them that opportunity to, to feed this whole real foods. You can actually see what each vegetable is. And 80% of our cups are all vegetable as well as 80 of our a hundred first flavors are all savory. So for us, when we looked at the market, Only 10% of children are getting enough vegetables.
And majority of that is through French fries. And this is for all children under the age of five. So we thought, right, this is a massive vegetable deficiency intake, right? It’s like cross all of America and how can we really just help make vegetables fun and accessible and a friendly way. And so that’s been, you know, definitely our life’s work and mission, but I think when exactly your point, Stephanie, when you’re introducing those first foods, it is really nerve wracking.
Unless it’s just about them sort of like putting it on their mouth and trying to get that taste for it, which is really at the four to seven months, mark, what you mostly be doing because they can eat it with their hands unlike purees. Right. Then there is that fun bit of playfulness that can happen to you.
Obviously it’s a big mess as well, but that fun bit of playfulness that you just don’t get when you’re. Spoon feeding a child, right? Because it’s allowing them to build this independence that much like the Montessori movement as well, where they can become independent eaters and thinkers for that.
[00:21:08] Stephanie: So I want to go back to when you met Sophia, were you pregnant at the time where you did you, were you in the process or anything?
So, cause I guess my question is most people, you know, they become a mom, they come up with these ideas, but like it’s hard to execute and I know there are a lot of moms out there who are like, I wish I could solve this problem. I wish I could. But you have a baby and you’re like, I don’t know how to even do this.
How do I raise capital? Or how do I find the time? So how was the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey for this company once you became a mom?
[00:21:40] Betsy: Right. So I think that was a big part of me wanting to partner with Sophia as co-CEOs, because I knew I was going to have to step away, even if it was just for a few weeks.
And then we were able to bring our COO Carolyn on the night before I delivered. That’d be as well. Who’s came to us from beyond me, has been with us for three years now. And as absolute rockstar, only reason we’re here today, as well as with Carolyn. And so I think for me, it was really, you know, figuring out because something I learned along the way when building these companies and even like seeing Michael build, build, Calm and mushy monsters prior is like,
It’s like that proverb, right? Like if you want to go far go together. Right. So you can only do so much. And I understand the beginning of the career, especially when you’re first starting out, you do kind of want to say, this is mine. Right? And like, here’s what I’m building and I’m going, I’m doing this, but you can, I am like, prove that you can go so much farther if you can just spread the love. If you can just bring people around you and empower them to own it and feel that it’s their baby too.
And so I think by doing that, that’s the only reason I was able to be a full-time mom and full-time co CEO is because I had these phenomenal women that were supporting me, like in that, you know, and you know, and I, and I hope to do for them as well.
Right. That cause, cause I actually don’t believe that women can have it all. I don’t think that you can be like the. You know, mom and, and, and CEO or fundraiser, whatever it is. Like, I think you have to bring those people around you that can kind of do it with you, right? Like there’s a reason that there’s that, you know, again, cliche, but, you know, it takes a village.
Like there’s a reason that, that, that, that, you know, came to be and why we just don’t have it now. And we’re all living in these silos. It’s like, we at least have the opportunity as women to say, like, okay, we’re actually going to. You know, we’re going to be the change we want to see where we can create those environments right around us of these women elevating other women, or, or of course, you know, Raul, we just brought on our director of engineering this morning and our first man, we’re so excited.
And so of course, like, you know, it can be, you know, men and women elevating each other. Absolutely. But I think like there’s this really special magic that happened. We’re making come together and support each other in the sense of motherhood as well. And what that means for you, your company. So my advice would definitely be to like anything that you’re kind of lacking.
So, so Sophia leads, marketing, and I lead product roles because
[00:23:58] Stephanie: you can’t be the same or else it won’t.
[00:23:59] Betsy: Exactly. Yes. And so previously. He wasn’t a co-founder it was my CTO. Right? My past company, the reason I was able to get it off the ground. And so I think more than anything is like, when you have this idea and this vision is figuring out how to articulate that, right.
To the people around you and like creating that sort of like buzz. But it’s right to say like, oh, well I could partner with you on that. And like, let’s do it together. And just being really like, happy with it and like figuring it out and sort of that’s my favorite part is like the scrappiness, the zero to one.
I, so I think like, because what that creates momentum in itself, right. When you’re able to build from the earliest days with, with those people around you, and it just means that you actually can execute that something because I can never do this, you know, alone or even dream of it because I wasn’t in food prior.
Right. Right. The technology piece. And I was able to build that, just given, you know, the, the great experience with Wonderwoof and building that database. But it wasn’t, you know, I didn’t know the first thing about food other than I was gonna say, did you like hire
[00:25:01] Stephanie: nutritionist? Like how did you build that side?
You came up with an idea. You’re like, okay, we want to do something in the kids space. You agreed on food, but you didn’t have a Sebby yet.
So you didn’t even know, like, what do kids like to eat? Did you was like one of your first hires, like somewhat, how did you come up with this menu and palette and did you taste test also?
[00:25:22] Betsy: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. And so our first person we brought on was our neonatal nutritionist, Priscilla BARR. Who’s been at NYU for over a decade. She’s now a as long as well, but she’s helped us through the way our executive chef Maria has created old recipes that they are nutritionally dense. And then from the very beginning, even prior to launch, we partner.
Well, nutrition and policy. So the Dean, my safari, and has only ever come on to science-based and not consumer facing companies prior, but he actually came on to our scientific advisory board. And so just so, so honored to have his involvement and the reason for that, and the reason we wanted to get involved is because we showed him our bill of materials for the foods themselves.
And it was like, okay, that’s great. Now we’re as in for some houses, This isn’t a nutritional panel. There is nothing added. There’s no added sugar, there’s no added salt. Even the oat milk we make from scratch. Right. So it’s like, it’s literally as clean as it gets. And I think he was just so blown away and so excited about that reality of like feeding children, real whole foods that aren’t like totally processed or even parade.
Right. But then we were able to get him on board. So again, to that point of like, can you get these advisors around you that actually know so much more right around the table, but then equally what we did is, is had a hundred founding families in. Brooklyn. So we sent one email out to the park slope parent group.
We got hundreds of inbounds within the matter of hours we had. I’m curious. Yes. So at that point we had partnered with human ventures already. So it did say, yeah, we always go back to that email actually, because it’s like, oh my gosh, what was like the magic here? But it was, it was this idea that they’re a founding family and that they’re going to be building the product roadmap with us, which they did.
Right. So it was also the VC back thing, you know, and I’m sure that. Part of it too, being in Brooklyn. But I, but I really believe that it’s because there are so many families out there and moms in particular that are, are saying like, okay, I do want to like make an impact. I do want to do something, you know, for childhood development, even.
Right. And so a lot of these moms, they’re still with us to this day that we still do the recipe testing with them and we’ve been to their homes cause this was pre pandemic. We, uh, there’s this great story. When I was eight months pregnant in 90 degree heat where we were willing of these blue and Mark’s coolers.
Prospect park and Sophia and I were heading them out to, yeah, just little changes. They were feeding their babies right there. And that’s when we knew we have a white space here that hasn’t been tapped into because it’s only parade available currently. And so what we did is we went into their homes. We saw they were using the product of all 100 founding families.
We then made adjustments. So each of the recipes, we tested at least five different versions of those 12 hero skews that we launched with. This was for a full year prior to us going to markets. And then we got insights from the packaging where. Moms were saying, we don’t want to put more plastic into the world.
Right. So you’re vegan, which is great for animal rights. And of course like it and, and even the environment as well, but we want to be better for the planet. Right. And not put more plastic out there. So we actually re-engineered our whole, like what we were planning to launch for our supply chain to make it totally plastic free so that we could.
Say, and we are, we are going with the foil tops as well. So we could say like, okay, we’re going to be the first food D to C company to do that, which is why we’re able to partner with plastic pollution coalition. But that was the direct feedback from our founding families on it. Important
[00:28:38] Stephanie: point in general is that you had these founding families and you tested your product.
I think so many times that we come with these ideas and we’re like, yes, it’s going to work. And then you put it to market. And all of a sudden it’s maybe a flop and you didn’t test and iterate. So I love that. You said you did it first with a hundred and then you brought it to market almost a year later with all the feedback from like real moms.
[00:29:00] Betsy: Exactly. But that’s, what’s so cool. Stephanie is like that created. We always say there’s almost no more viral word of mouth than that of a mom. Who’s convinced. That created this ripple effect, at least in the Northeast, with those moms where they started talking and said, you have to try this. And so quick, quite quickly, a hundred became a thousand, you know?
And, and so, and all the reason we were able to recently close our series A round of funding so quickly, just over 18 months after we had launched is because the numbers speak for themselves. We actually have majority of our growth coming from organic word of mouth. Right? So this.
We were so self for so long. I mean, you’re looking at the entire product team on this call. My COSIA Sophia is the whole marketing team, you know, we’re, we, we, we were a group of 10 women that were building this, you know, over this time and some of them were part-time. And so for us, you know, that’s always been really important too, is that over half our investors over half our board are women as well as diverse.
Because again, we have to be that change that we want to see and bring about, but definitely it feels like. Yeah. Th th this, it created a life of its own by having that organic growth, right. That I think is it’s just magic because people really connect with the product and they really believe in it and a word.
[00:30:18] Stephanie: So I wanted to talk about the early stages of you becoming a mom. So you’re pregnant, you have this, you’re super motivated about the company, and then you have a baby and sometimes, you know, things change within us.
And I know tiny is your other babies. So it’s like, how did you kind of structure your time between the two and did you hire help at home?
What did that look like? And then emotionally, what, what went on in your head and how did you structure that with.
[00:30:45] Betsy: So I was in New York city at the time with no family around. And we actually were so scrappy and I had done this with wonder what as well, where I was like, so scrappy, all my employees are living better.
Right. So it was something where we felt like we couldn’t even really get help. So I was having to like, stay home. Sometimes my mother-in-law would fly out. And I just remember, because I really, really struggled with breastfeeding actually had to go to the emergency room two days after bringing him home.
And I did stick with it. I don’t think I enjoyed a single minute of it honestly, but I stuck with it. But, and I think that learning of like the cluster feeding right. Of just like the, just feeling like totally helpless and not, and I didn’t have any other mom friends either. So it was just like, okay, we need to create this.
There’s going to be ASAP. Right.
It bring moms together. Cause it is so lonely. And I think the only way I was able to do it is because of, again, my co-CEO Sophia being
Oh, this is my friend, Stephanie. Okay. Precious. Can you go and see what daddy’s doing right now? Why don’t we go check? Okay. Hopefully he’s not in a meeting too. No worries. So, okay. So I was curious about,
[00:32:12] Stephanie: you know, say even the roles or hut or your partner, husband, your husband, I assume. And you play in. You know, raisings, have you, while you were building the company, like, was your husband full-time working?
Like, what did that look like? Okay.
[00:32:27] Betsy: So he took off, I think it was two weeks initially. And then we trying to space it out where it was kind of like a few days here, a few days there, but I was having to just work, work from home actually, when. Weeks old or was it four weeks now? I can’t recall, but I went to another prospect park.
Drop-off where my CEO Carolyn was there with Sophia this time. And we have this beautiful picture of him just being like so incredibly tiny, but I wanted to get back on it right away. I remember having this like really internal struggle, even when Sophia came to the hospital to meet Sebi on that very first day, I was like even after C-section sat up in bed, like how did that meeting go? Right.
And I still know which meeting it was like that I was asking so crazy that I wasn’t able. And so I think in a lot of ways, it was like I wanted so badly to be working again that I felt I was in this. Like, I honestly depression. Like I went through when, you know, with the cluster feeding and feeling like I can’t, I just can’t do it all.
Like. You know, be, be there for the company we hadn’t officially launched yet. So I think that helped, but it was still such a struggle and like, looking back, it was like, oh my gosh, I should’ve have figured out. And now I have, right. Because we have our series a, so we figured out how we can do like all the benefits that we would want to see for working moms for the future.
And to be that change, like we’re figuring all of that out so that we can, and we have like a handbook now with the best, like family care benefits, families kind of benefits that I’ve ever seen. I don’t have any companies I’m really thrilled about that. But you know, at the time when you’re in the very beginning of it, we hadn’t even closed our seed round.
It was just really, really hard. Yeah. And actually that was a
[00:33:58] Stephanie: question you mentioned, you never wanted to self-fund again. So this one you were at, you said you were an
[00:34:04] Betsy: EIR at right adventures.
[00:34:06] Stephanie: How did you, so did you even have a product yet? Or did you just have a concept or idea when you were pitching?
[00:34:12] Betsy: When we went in? So, Hey, you mind mentors? It was a little bit different cause they wanted to partner with second time founders at that point that didn’t matter to have a fully fleshed out idea. So when I first met with them, it was like, oh, I actually had a couple ideas of what I thought like would, would work and the childhood development space that then wound up pivoting nutrition quite quickly after we joined.
But yeah. So I think, I think it was a little bit different. Yeah, with, with that. And, you know, I did go on to raise money for Wonderwoff as well. And not to say I would never self-fund, you know, I have with tiny as well, but just wouldn’t fully do that again. Like, cause I think there’s so much joy that you can get from partnering with the right investors, right.
That really believe in the vision, the mission. Truly come together and make it just so much greater and bigger right. Than anything. And so we’ve just been totally blessed with an incredible board for the past two years that they’ve actually become my closest friends, you know, and everything. It’s a pretty big board too, especially for our stage, but just phenominal people that like want to see us win and want to get tiny, took to all families right across the manifests.
So I think like it’s a little, like maybe a little bit different with the VIR, like role that we took initially.
[00:35:21] Stephanie: I know you mentioned a lot of things you learned from Wonderwall, but now that you’ve closed your series, a and you’re on your next company of, what do you think is like the top or takeaway or lesson learned that you can give to other maybe entrepreneurs out there who are in the trenches right now?
You know, what would be your number one thing after all of this?
[00:35:40] Betsy: Yes. It’s definitely that if you, if you can believe in something enough, you can convince like those folks around you and figure out what it is that like excites you and keeps you up at night. Right? Cause it might be something that you weren’t even expecting.
Right. But you’re just like, can’t stop thinking about, and then, and then try to wonder. In the lens of truly trying to like help humanity, what would this look like? Right. And like, how could this become something kind of so much bigger than, than me? And then you can rally yourself around that vision. I think you can get others on board with you.
And that, to me, it just creates this energy in the world that can like almost be a self fulfilling prophecy, right. In a lot of ways. It’s like, if you, if you believe it, if you tell yourself something, you become it. Like, I really, really believe that. And I, and I know it’s been true in my life. I think just don’t stop believing truly just like Q journey song right now.
[00:36:39] Stephanie: I actually was wondering, since you worked with the founder of calm, do you have any like self care practices, meditation practices that you do daily for yourself? To help you kind of be bigger than yourself for, you know, and also to help you balance motherhood and entrepreneurship.
[00:36:54] Betsy: So I have taught Sebastian breathing techniques.
So we do those together before bed, every night. And then when he, when we’re both feeling wound up or he’s really wound up, then we’ll do them as well. And so just trying to, you know, tell him like meditation. Like a normal part of life. And we do have our own kind of prayer that we say before dinner every night, that might be one of the only moments we’re all together.
Right. And just like that time of really gratitude and appreciation. I think when you’re, when you’re sharing in that, it’s, it’s, it’s hard not to be happy at that point. Right. Like even with a toddler in general, because they’re just so enthralled with everything they’re doing, they’re just so in the present, but it’s like brings you into it in a way that unlike almost anything else does.
Right. And it’s like, Yeah. I think just like that, the grateful heart, right? Like throughout has been a common thread, like with my family. And, uh, definitely I always do my calm and I try to do every day, you know, sometimes it’s every week or every other day, but that had, that has helped tremendously just to build it in as.
You know, practice that can really refocus you.
[00:37:55] Stephanie: What time do you wake up in the morning?
[00:37:57] Betsy: Well, so I only am running a two hours of sleep right now, which is why my son, a little bit delusional, because be just starting, coming into our bed at night and I can’t figure out how to, you know, cause we don’t want to do the cry it out or anything, but.
I don’t think he was meaning she would, they’ll just like kick me all night. Like, sleep is not scalable. If you have any tips for you, let me know. But I’m like, which I’m into like a regular bed or like, is there anything that has spurred this? We were away for a week from him traveling. And I think when he was with my parents, I think he just got used to that like comfort of, oh, I don’t have to sleep in my toddler bed anymore, even though I’d been in there for months.
Right. Like I can come in and like have a cuddle and like that comfort. Yeah. So it just feels. He just never wants to w when he is back in his bed, now he will fall asleep. Then immediately, as soon as he’s like, you know, cause he’s a light sleeper woken up and he’ll come in. But yeah, I started, I definitely feel like, unfortunately
[00:38:55] Stephanie: it’s a little bit of tough love where when they come in.
Get out of bed and it’s hard for you as a parent, cause you’re like, I just want to stay in sleep and it’s so easy to just pick them up and throw them in bed kind of weird comparison. But I know a lot of people who have their dogs sleep in their bed and then they get a new dog and they’re like never again, because it disrupts your sleep.
So unfortunately the best thing is just pick them up, walk them back to their room, put them back in bed and you just got to keep repeating it.
It’s kind of one of those things that unfortunately, after the hundredth time, Finally, maybe they’ll lay down, but like, you don’t want them to cry and get distressed, like, but it’s like, they’ll like, mommy loves you, but you know, this is your bed, you need to sleep here.
Like this is mommy and daddy space and like walk them back, lay with them, maybe, you know,
Whatever pet their head like rub their back and then leave. And if they come right back out again, again, like this is mommy daddy’s space, this is yours.
Like you need like a cuddly. Do you need this? Like, what would you like to sleep tonight?
[00:39:55] Betsy: Yes. So
[00:39:56] Stephanie: tiring though. And I know how to, like so many times I would have to walk back, walk back, walk back, but it’s like, you give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. So you let them sleep in your bed one night and then the second night, and then all of a sudden, two years later now, again, And do what’s best for you, but that’s what I say for all parents.
Like, if you want your kids to sleep in your bed, that’s totally fine. I know people who have three kids sleeping in their king bed without like no judgment. That’s what they prefer.
But if you personally don’t want that, and if it’s harming you, then my suggestion would be that gentle and calm, not cry it out, not be mean like just every time it’s like one of those things.
Kindly guide them,
[00:40:36] Betsy: you know, pair them
with anything, be clear with your
[00:40:42] Stephanie: boundaries. So, you know, if you want him in your bed, that’s totally fine. And that’s a boundary, or you’re willing to like keep, but if you don’t then be strong on
[00:40:50] Betsy: your. From, yes.
[00:40:59] Stephanie: I want to ask you what is a super power that you gained once you became a mom that makes you better in either business or life.
[00:41:06] Betsy: Absolutely patience. Absolutely. So I was never, I would say I’ve always been a woman of action, like, so, you know, do, and then figure it out, you know, later or ask for forgiveness later type of thing.
And, uh, so, and that has served me well and entrepreneurial journey, but absolutely patience, because as we know as parents, right. Everything, it just feels like, okay, learning it again and again, and again. Oh, so just finding those quiet moments of like, wait a minute, when you’re really still in this, like patience, it is so beautiful and it unlocks this other, this other world in a way that like you, weren’t kind of anticipating at least that’s how it kind of felt.
Yeah. For me. And so I, I think, I think it’s really served me well as I’ve built the team as well. And just like having more grace with everyone and figuring out. You know how we can really do it together and, you know, in a timely manner, but not one that’s like, okay, let’s just run, figure it out. And we go, it’s run, run for this, but yeah, I’d say definitely patience.
[00:42:05] Stephanie: Do you think that’s helped you with tiny also just build a different type of company?
[00:42:09] Betsy: Absolutely. I honestly, I think if I weren’t a mom, I wouldn’t have that same like conviction of seeing my son absolutely love vegetables, the way that he does because of it. I believe so much because I’ve seen it like work.
And I know, so I also think there’s just that really like precious thing between a mother and her child. Right. That you can’t, it’s just, you can’t even really describe it. Right. But it’s like this unspoken thing and the fact that. With our a hundred founding families, like, you know, we could speak like that.
And on that level, when I was the only mom on the team for majority of, of, of the tasks so far, and now we’re hiring more and more moms, but I think, yeah, that just made, I don’t know how I would’ve done that. Otherwise. It definitely gave me yeah. A lot more grace, a lot more empathy and just ability to CA I I’m, I’m a lot more like, kind of let’s, let’s go, let’s get to it.
Like, you know, just that sort of like mindset and, and this, this gave me like a, really, a whole new world that I was there that it kind of like opened up to me that that definitely made me a better leader. Yeah, I think, I think a better person.
[00:43:20] Stephanie: I love your energy. Congrats on your series. A I can’t wait to see what tiny organics does.
Where can we find you online?
[00:43:27] Betsy: Tiny organics.com and we created a code today. TinyLovesMOAC for 40% off as well.
[00:43:38] Stephanie: Thank you. I’ll put that in the show notes.
I really appreciate it. Well, thank you Betsy, for everything. I loved hearing your story and your energy and everything. So thank you. And good luck with everything.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of mommy’s on a call. Your support means the absolute world. To me. You can find the show notes for this episode and other goodies over at mommy’s on a call.com. And if you enjoyed this episode or have gotten value from the podcast, I would be so grateful if you could head on over to apple podcasts and leave a rating and review so that we can reach and empower more moms all over the world together.
So much again, mommy pod, and I will see
[00:44:20] Betsy: you here next time.