Alex Buckley Voris and Maggie Jones Patton

Alex Buckley Voris and Maggie Jones Patton

Healthy bodies and healthy minds are connected, and learning to eat smart should be fun. Those two simple beliefs are the motivation behind Bitsy’s Brainfood, the creation of Alex Buckley Voris and Maggie Jones Patton. There’s nothing artificial in their alphabet-shaped treats for kids made with real fruits and vegetables and packed with vitamins. Their website features games that promote good health, and nutritious recipes for the whole family.

Transcript

Sandi:                       Welcome to another edition of The 51%, Conversations with Creative Women. I’m Sandi Klein. When you think of children’s snack food, does lemon broccoli, orange chocolate beet, sweet potato oatmeal raisin, or zucchini gingerbread carrot come to mind? My guess would be a resounding no. Those are just some of the selections moms and dads can purchase for their kids thanks to Alex Buckley Voris and Maggie Jones Patton who happen to be co-founders of Bitsy’s Brain Food which has been around since 2012. These business women, educators and moms share two simple beliefs- Healthy bodies and healthy minds are connected and learning to eat smart should be fun- so there’s nothing artificial in their alphabet treats made with real fruits and vegetables and packed with vitamins A, B6, B12, D3, and Omega 3. The snack and cereal box designs include interactive packaging, cool superfood stickers, characters that spark a child’s imagination, and a website designed to keep their minds active. It also features resources for parents and has healthy recipes for the entire family.

                                 Alex and Maggie, who have a combined twenty years’ experience working with young people, met at Children for Children, a non-profit that focused on teaching youngsters the importance of volunteering and giving as well as empowering them to solve real problems. Maggie was the Executive Director, Alex Director of Programs. CFC merged with the Points of Light Institute, resulting in GenerationOn, the largest youth service organization in the United States. Among the programs created during their tenure was Building Healthy Communities, a childhood obesity prevention intuitive that was among the first federally funded programs of its kind. Well, that’s enough from me for now. Ladies, welcome and thank you so much for joining me today.

Maggie:                    Thank you.

Alex:                         Thanks for having us.

Sandi:                       Before we get into your extensive resumes, who is Bitsy?

Alex:                         There’s a little bit of Bitsy I think, I both Maggie and me. She comes from our imaginations, from some of our storybook heroes from childhood. She’s just kind of a magical little girl whose goal in life is to get all kids to eat super smart.

Sandi:                       How did you come up with Bitsy?

Maggie:                    We knew we wanted to create a brand that would really speak straight to kids and empower kids. We know the power of characters to do that.

Sandi:                       Of course.

Maggie:                    So we wanted to create our own unique characters instead of licensing existing characters out from television. Really, create characters that were all about our brand principals – eating healthy, being creative, being smart. Bitsy, the idea was kind of, she just came to mind one day. Literally. I was, actually, visiting my parents and we were also looking for a name that would be really easy for kids to say.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    That would build into a brand.

Sandi:                       It was alliterative. Bitsy’s Brain Food.

Maggie:                    Right. The brain food piece kind of had always existed because our belief that learning happens everywhere and wanting to weave that into snack time and meal time was

Sandi:                       A no brainer.

Maggie:                    A no brainer. Yeah. That was what we were looking for to build a brand around. The bitsy piece was born out of that there’s a little bitsy of all these good things in there. It’s just kind of a whimsical name and it just hit.

Sandi:                       Starting a food company, I mean come on, is no easy feat. Give me the genesis of this because I can’t imagine starting anything.

Maggie:                    I don’t know. I will say that I definitely think that I’m just kind of one of those people and Alex is the same that are constantly having a lot of ideas. We had been working together for a long time and actually, the idea around starting the food company one day commuting home from our non-profit job. Again, just popped into the head, really out of this experience of being on the ground working with kids and food and trying to make healthy fun for them. Just seeing the options that they’re faced with every day and walking the grocery aisles and realizing that there’s just not a lot of good packaged food that is also fun and that is focused on kids. The idea, way back then, it took us a while to get to a place where we were ready to jump off the cliff and embark on it.

Alex:                         It is really challenging starting a food business. There’s a lot of operational logistics. A lot of safety regulations, processes that you need to go through. There’s a lot of devil in the detail in this business, for sure.

Sandi:                       Did you just one day, either one of you, or both of you, go into your kitchen and one day said, I’m going to make a snack that’s lemon broccoli. No, you couldn’t have done that? Did you?

Alex:                         We actually kind of did.

Sandi:                       Really?

Alex:                         Yeah.

Sandi:                       Where did you combine lemon and broccoli, or sweet potato and chocolate or whatever?

Maggie:                    In Alex’s parent’s kitchen. We just. We knew that we wanted the food to be packaged in a way that was educational and fun and we wanted the food itself to have real functional benefits to kids’ brains

Sandi:                       Of course.

Alex:                         Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    and bodies.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    We knew we wanted to do that by teaching them about the power of real fruits and vegetables. We wanted to put the vegetables front and center and do good PR so to speak for broccoli. We basically,

Sandi:                       Broccoli needs good PR.

Maggie:                    Researched, it does. We researched all the key vegetables. Fruits that are most nutrient dense in terms of supporting healthy brains, healthy bodies, the key nutrients kids need. Then we basically went and bought all of those things along with a lot of other interesting organic ingredients. Had to go to Alex’s parents’ kitchen because our New York City apartments were really too tiny for any gigantic experiment.

Sandi:                       Oh really. Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    We pureed and blended and made all kinds of crazy concoctions, and these were the winners.

Sandi:                       So, the two of you were experimenting in your parents’ kitchen for all intents and purposes.

Alex:                         We were. I think we were educated about what we were doing,

Sandi:                       Mm hmm

Alex:                         Yeah, it was absolutely an experimentation.

Sandi:                       And? It was a success? You ate it. You tried it.

Maggie:                    Yeah. We ate it. We tested it with kids. We brought it into our non-profit. People really liked it. I think we just knew that we were on to something important. It was the kind of thing that the, I think the formulations of what we were creating, in many ways the fact that neither of us are extreme chef type people. It was more, what is the phrase? Necessity is the mother of invention. It was more what we knew we wanted. We were becoming mothers at that time. When we were really doing the innovation. We were educators. We’d spent our lives around kids. I think we just kind of knew what would work with kids. What we wanted to put together. We wanted to keep it simple in a way too.

Sandi:                       Did you have children at home at the time that you could experiment with?

Alex:                         I was pregnant with my first child, and I think, incredibly focused on being as healthy as I could be. Just very, very aware of what I was putting in my body.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Alex:                         Sort of thinking forward to the way that I wanted her to eat as she grew up.

Sandi:                       This must have had such an impact on you in your non-profit work with this child obesity issue. You were confronted with it, for all intents and purposes, every day.

Alex:                         We were. We were. I think, what was really exciting about what we were doing is how we were able to make healthy eating really fun for kids. Really, to mobilize them to impact their communities.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm. But that has to start at home. Isn’t that the biggest challenge? If mom is serving KFC because life is complicated and she’s rushed and whatever. It’s hard.

Maggie:                    It is. I think we really believe it both starts at home and in the grocery store aisle. I think that’s one of the big things. People don’t realize the incredible impact that grocery store buyers and their decision making process.

Sandi:                       Hmm

Maggie:                    What they’re going to bring to your store, and how that impacts your entire family’s health. I think that is really the power of moms and women and consumers is demanding better options. Unfortunately, I think that there also is a lot of bias with communities where people do stereo type still. Thing this community is going to want these foods still. They’re not going to eat the organic. Those kids aren’t going to eat the healthier stuff.

Sandi:                       Exactly.

Maggie:                    That’s not them. It just perpetuates this terrible cycle.

Sandi:                       Let’s go back to this. You’re experimenting in the kitchen. You say hey, this doesn’t taste bad. You’re giving samples out to people. Then what do you do? What’s the next step after that?

Maggie:                    I would just say, that we knew enough to know what we didn’t know to some extent.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Maggie:                    We always called and asked for advice. I think that’s something that from running a non-profit. Just being thrown into a lot of different circumstances throughout our careers we always, both of us I think, were very much of mentor seekers.

Sandi:                       Mm

Maggie:                    Advice seekers. Get enough wisdom to be able to hit the ground running. Then I think, honestly, thank goodness for Google. I would say half of the early things that we needed to figure out. The web is such an incredible resource. That probably sounds like a gigantic cliché, but there’s really nothing that you can’t learn to do through the web. You could get your entire college education online now. You can learn about anything. If you’re digging for resources, it’s really all there. It’s just about digging and being willing to dig and then due diligence and learn.

Sandi:                       Rolling up your sleeves. Yeah.

Maggie:                    Yeah. I think both of us, too, are just. We really do like the challenge. It is incredibly challenging. Everyday something happens that we’re like, you cannot write this stuff. What? The challenge of it is so fun. I think, being in a place too, in your career, I think everyone experienced that hunger. Experiences that hunger to be learning.

Sandi:                       No pun intended.

Maggie:                    Yes. To be learning again.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    Evolving.

Sandi:                       You knew the time was right for you to maybe leave the non-profit world. You had expended all your energies there. It was time for you to move on?

Maggie:                    I think we’re very mission driven in what we’re doing right now, too. I don’t feel like our, our hearts are really still the same in terms of what drives us. However, I do think that after years of working on the front lines with kids

Sandi:                       Right.

Maggie:                    We both very much believe that you can’t just, that often times, programs are putting a band-aid on a problem. It’s really business that has to change. When it comes to food, I actually think that’s the truth. We can have our kids out exercising and doing playground programs. Money invested from foundations and throw that all that we want at schools about getting active etc.

Sandi:                       But that’s only solving one part.

Maggie:                    It’s only one piece. Right. What’s available in the grocery store aisle is just such a critical part of this issue.

Sandi:                       Then again, people can make their own food at home for their children. My son and daughter-in-law mash sweet potatoes then freeze them and put them on a stick and my granddaughter has sweet potato pop.

Maggie:                    Props to any, all parents who do that.

Alex:                         I really think that Maggie and I benefited from this incredible explosion in the baby food category. Where there were really so many packaged premium organic products for kids that we knew we could feel really good about. As our kids started to get older, we really noticed this sort of vacuum in the kids’ space.

Sandi:                       If you’re just joining us, my guests today and Alex Buckley Voris and Maggie Jones Patton who happen to be the co-founders of Bitsy’s Brain Food. Okay. Back to starting this company. Where’d you get the money?

Alex:                         We really just fund raised through friends and family.

Sandi:                       Kind of a kicking starting sort of thing. And people donated?

Maggie:                    That’s the good part of a non-profit background. You’re basically professionalized askers of resources.

Sandi:                       [Laughing] Right.

Maggie:                    Professional beggars. [Laughing]

Sandi:                       Yeah.

Maggie:                    Selling believing in an idea.

Alex:                         Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    What we have done for a living really. Selling believing in an idea to help kids. This again is another iteration of that really.

Sandi:                       So, you get a financial foundation. Now, you have to take this somewhere on a much bigger scale.

Maggie:                    Alex and I are literally involved in every aspect of producing our products. Soup to nuts.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    From the formulation to being on the production line to quality assurance to making sure our organic certificates are in place to running taste tests with kids. Making sure. And then out selling it into the stores. It’s kind of, the phrase of the day is hustle, hustle, bring the muscle.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Maggie:                    Every day is a different aspect. I think that’s one of the things about being in a startup too. You really are involved in every single different piece. It does allow you to be really nimble and flexible. Try to make the best products that you possibly can because you have so much control in that way.

Sandi:                       But flexibility notwithstanding, it has to be overwhelming. You seem so blasé about it. Alright, maybe I’m just too

Alex:                         It does feel that way. I mean, Bitsy feels very much like a child.

Maggie:                    Yeah.

Alex:                         A very demanding child.

Maggie:                    [Laughing]

Alex:                         Twins perhaps.

Sandi:                       Twins.

Maggie:                    Quadruplets.

Sandi:                       That seems more like it to me.

Maggie:                    I guess the part is that while it’s beyond challenging every day. Things happen that could just totally derail you, I think. If you, the only option I think to us is to keep going. Just, the phrase has become never, never, never, never, never, never give up.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    Failure’s not an option. Keep pushing and striving to grow.

Sandi:                       Because you believe in what you’re doing.

Maggie:                    Right.

Sandi:                       That helps. I mean, when you can see that it’s not some pie in the sky; no pun intended there; idea that you have but something that you really firmly believe in. It’s not just whimsical. It’s not hey I’m into this so we can make a killing and then move on to something else.

Maggie:                    No. I mean, we’re just all in. I think, both of us talk about this all the time. How every night, I think we go to bed, whether it’s four in the morning like last night. We were emailing back and forth and it was one. I was like glad to know we’re both up dealing with stuff.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Maggie:                    I think both of us go to sleep every night very thankful for the opportunity to be doing this.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    There’s not a day, even when challenges stare us down, where I think we aren’t enjoying it on some level.

Sandi:                       That’s terrific. So, who is it besides Alex and Maggie? You have a staff obviously.

Alex:                         There’s no way we would be here if it were just the two of us.

Sandi:                       Clearly, if people go to your website and they see how creative and alive and fun it is. Who came up with that? Who’s the creative part of your duo?

Alex:                         Maggie

Sandi:                       Okay.

Maggie:                    No.

Sandi:                       Okay.

Maggie:                    I don’t think so. I actually, one of the weird things about Alex and I, is like a lot of people, I think when you’re starting a business are like, how are you each other’s balance? We’re actually very similar. I think that’s in some weird way how it works too. With the juggling of everything, it would be very hard to do it without sharing a brain to some extent.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Maggie:                    But,

Sandi:                       Well, you have quite a history together.

Maggie:                    one plus one equals one with us.

Sandi:                       Right.

Maggie:                    It’s the, to the creative piece of the website and all that, I will say my husband was really involved in it. We have a friend, we knew what we wanted with the characters. We kind of had Bitsy in mind. My husband who is a creative director and in advertising, he really then said, oh. Okay. Sat down one night and made a little duck and created an outline of these little characters and their personalities. Suddenly there was Bitsy, Buck, and Baxter the next morning. He had given birth to two more little people for the little crew.

Sandi:                       Must be crowded in your household. [Laughing]

Maggie:                    Yeah. It’s crazy. Then we knew we wanted to do; our education philosophy was always kids first. We wanted to bring that into our company which I think is one of the.

Sandi:                       You mean to appeal to them.

Alex:                         Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    Kids first.

Sandi:                       Before the parents.

Alex:                         Yes.

Maggie:                    Yes. That in doing so you do right by the kids and do right by the parents too.

Sandi:                       Got it.

Maggie:                    Putting the health of kids first, putting their fun first, all of that. I think is actually what moms and dads are looking for in a way. We knew we wanted to create a really kid facing website. We knew we wanted to be very character driven and we wanted to have fun and games.

Sandi:                       Like, you alphabet shaped snacks.

Maggie:                    Right.

Sandi:                       That’s pretty smart. What are you eating? I’m eating the letter A.

Alex;                         We knew that kids learn in 3D. Versus sort of, sometimes you’ll see snacks where the letter is stamped on. Kids really learn by holding a letter and experiencing letters that way. My daughter, she predictably, but truly learned her alphabet through Bitsy’s Brain Food.

Maggie:                    We’ve seen that happen with lots of kids. All of our friends’ kids.

Sandi:                       Uh Huh.

Alex:                         It’s been really so much fun.

Sandi:                       Is all the creativity from your two brains?

Maggie:                    Yes.

Sandi:                       Well, it should be Alex and Maggie Brain Food.

Alex:                         [Laughing] We did ponder SmartAlex Snacks at one point.

Sandi:                       That’s cute.

Maggie:                    I think the creative piece with my husband too and also Lizzie, who’s on our team who’s been with us since the very beginning, is hugely creative and had run a children’s bookstore and events business before working with us, very entrepreneur as well.

Sandi:                       When you started the company, what did you have in mind in terms of ages?

Alex:                         Really kids.

Sandi:                       What age kids?

Alex:                         We sort of say two to ten. I think children as young as one can start eating Bitsy if their eating solid foods.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Alex:                         And their parents are comfortable with their eating solid foods.

Maggie:                    We think kids are very aspirational and you can see that in different brands. For example, you have Playskool and Hasbro.

Alex:                         I think, even with the baby food space. There was a huge explosion in the last five years in terms of the pouches.

Sandi:                       Yes.

Alex:                         The pouch foods. For example, my son, he really differentiates between one of the baby food company brand’s pouches

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Alex:                         And their branding. A Go-Go squeeze applesauce, for example, which he identifies as kid. Even as a three year old, he really doesn’t want something that makes him think of baby food being a big brother.

Sandi:                       Got it.

Alex:                         It is really that two to ten range, but it is for everybody. That was one of the most important things for us. We eat all of our kids’ food.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Alex:                         We really believe that we shouldn’t make food, if it doesn’t taste good enough for you to eat, does it really taste good enough for your kids to eat?

Sandi:                       Yeah. It’s almost how dare you!

Alex:                         Yeah.

Sandi:                       Well, he’ll like it, or who cares if he likes it.

Alex:                         Right. I think that’s actually part of the problem too. So many of the baby kid, organic, healthy cookie crackers can be pretty blah. It’s no wonder that when Timmy runs down the street to the Oreo packed pantry, they go raid it and go crazy. The taste profile is so important to us. It has to taste great. We sell at a little market that is under the Goldman Sacs Building downtown.

Sandi:                       Downtown Manhattan?

Alex:                         Downtown Manhattan. It’s a lot of men shopping there. The product actually sells well there. I think everyone likes the idea of brain food and healthy snacks.

Sandi:                       Men? Men are buying that product?

Alex:                         Yes. My dad actually demos.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Alex:                         We sell at Whole Foods in the South East. We’re in three regions of Whole Foods right now in the country. My dad is actually, thank goodness for him, he’s out there demoing.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Alex:                         For me in the stores.

Sandi:                       Mm Delicious.

Alex:                         He sells it to so many adults, to 60 something’s.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Alex:                         Because of the Omegas and the vitamins and all that need for brain support that we all have. It’s interesting. Our cereals contain Choline which is a very important mineral and nutrient for supporting healthy brain function. The FDA is actually just releasing some new information on that. Research is continuing to evolve. But, I think a lot of the nutrition profiles in our products are important for everybody actually. We really try to make it so everyone can eat it.

Sandi:                       Again. I’m going for these obvious statements in terms of no brainer but it just seems to be a no brainer. Why is it that you just have to fill your cabinets with sugar pops?

Maggie:                    I think there’s two things driving a lot of the problems- One is the taste profile and how people have not; businesses have not made the right decision by kids to lower the sugar content of a lot of products and then they force other companies that are trying to right by kids to increase their sugar to compete from a flavor profile.

Sandi:                       Hmm

Maggie:                    Whereas kids that aren’t introduced to that extreme sugar. If we were all doing better by kids there wouldn’t be such an issue. The other big issue is price.

Sandi:                       That has to play a major role. Does it not?

Maggie:                    The pricing of food I think is one of the biggest problems in terms of childhood obesity and the health and wellness in America. Businesses obviously have to make their decisions and have their margins that they’re looking for when they’re selling their food off the shelf. For example, for us to make the choice to put real fruits and vegetables in our cookies versus maybe a competitor who recently decided to put vegetable dyes in their cookies to make them and write on the front colored with vegetable dyes. Those cookies are going to be cheaper than ours. Do they have real vegetables in them, other than vegetable dye? No. I hate to call it out like that. I just kind of feel like it’s one of those things were at the end of the day, it’s how I feel about being a working mom, frankly. I’m not going to sit here and say it’s all easy. It really aggravates me when people do because I just want to call a spade a spade.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    I feel like everyone with food, when it comes to kids, should be honest about what they’re doing.

Alex:                         The standards around food and nutrition for kids. I think retailers being willing to partner with companies like ours and maybe take a slightly smaller margin so that we can make food that’s that much better for your kids to eat. I think that’s the thing to know too. When you see Bitsy’s Brain Food at a retailer that is a retailer who is really behind bringing better food to your kids.

Sandi:                       Would you say it’s a retailer with a conscious?

Alex;                         I would.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Alex:                         I really, our retail partners are amazing and so passionate about doing right by kids and trying to do better. Those buyers that bring us in are, to me, such heroes.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Alex:                         Because they’re the ones that are going to help solve the problem that, by kids 5th birthdays right now in our country, one out of three children is obese. That statistic is pretty staggering.

Sandi:                       And it’s 2014. I think that’s the thing that’s so disheartening. Really, we’re just singing the same song over and over again. Why can’t we seem to move the needle? Was that hard for you guys? To get your product on store shelves? Can you find Bitsy’s Brain Food in most grocers?

Alex:                         Whegman’s has been a great partner for us. We are now in all Whegman’s stores. That’s a great partner to have on the East Coast.

Maggie:                    They have bought in and been a partner with us from the beginning.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    And supported us through entrepreneurial hurdles. Challenges. The bumps along the way.

Sandi:                       You’re clearly not the first company to do this.

Maggie:                    No. That’s done this.

Sandi:                       That they’re involved with.

Maggie:                    But they’re really innovators and leaders in the grocery and retail space. I mean the nature’s market place section of Whegman’s is where our products are, they have kind of a store within a store model of healthier products.

Sandi:                       Uh Huh

Maggie:                    Are just real leaders and they’re also very unique I think again, in the way that way that they treat and support the brands that they believe in that are startups. Have been just a huge champion for us. Also Whole Foods.

Sandi:                       You said. Yes.

Maggie:                    We’re in three regions of Whole Foods. What I love about Whole Foods. The grocery team leaders at Whole Foods Stores, the connections that you build. That’s one of my, I think, favorite things about doing this is the store level relationships. With the folks that are really there when a customer asks

Sandi:                       Huh

Maggie:                    I’m looking for a snack for my kids. When they get passionate about your brand and support you. We have had some really amazing champions at Whole Foods grocery teams.

Sandi:                       That’s wonderful.

Maggie:                    That I love. We’re in Texas at AGB. We’re launching in Sprouts. It kind of comes across the West and then towards the East.

Sandi:                       So, you guys are on the road a lot aren’t you?

Maggie:                    [Sighs] Yeah.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Maggie:                    It has been. It is. We try to interweave, it’s kind of a giant mesh of our kids and motherhood and Bitsy’s. To tell you an example,

Alex:                         I call my husband Maggie, regularly, by the way.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Maggie:                    My husband’s named Al, so Al and Alex, it is the complete. Yeah.

Sandi:                       Confusion. Yeah.

Maggie:                    Yes. I think it’s funny. I don’t know. My son both associates himself as a member of the Patton family and team Bitsy.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Maggie:                    It’s funny. One of our advisors called us, actually this weekend, called me to tell me he saw us on a display in one of the Whegman’s Store’s in Fairfax Virginia. He started telling me a story about, he calls and checks on us and we’re lucky we have people that do that and are supporting us and know how hard it is. He said I was riding back on the train yesterday and this woman had her breast pump and bottles and I just thought of you Maggie.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Maggie:                    I thought, this is pretty funny that this sixty year old man associates me with my breast pump.

Sandi:                       [Laughing] That’s wonderful.

Maggie:                    Really, I know him from the business space. I cracked up. I love this man so much. If that tells you anything.

Sandi:                       That tells me plenty.

Maggie:                    About how it’s been.

Sandi:                       Yes.

Maggie:                    I think I sold our first alphabet smart cookies into our first Whole Foods with the Baby Bjorn on me.

Sandi:                       So, what do you see tomorrow for Bitsy’s Brain Food? Are you going to expand your product line to include what? Can you share that?

Alex:                         That’s all top secret, but we have so many big ideas and really big dreams for Bitsy. How we really want to innovate in the categories that matter to kids.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Alex:                         And matter to families.

Maggie:                    We’re not going to talk specific categories.

Sandi:                       Okay.

Maggie:                    We feel like people are at our heels a little bit. By the way, the competition is great. It just is driving innovation and at the end of the day, like we said, for us, it really is all about the kids.

Sandi:                       For sure.

Maggie:                    That’s what we want to see happen. We want, our dream is, when there’s a kids section in the grocery store and not just baby. And there’s real nutritional standards around that. Moms know where to go to make a better choice, I think that we’ll really feel like we were a part of that. When we go to a retailer we don’t just talk about bring our products in. We really talk about that. That’s where we want to see the grocery stores go. We hope Bitsy’s is helping to lead the way there.

Sandi:                       It sure sounds like it. Not for nothing. Forget what’s inside the boxes. It’s the boxes that are so eye catching – They’re colorful, they’re out there, they’re just not bland, boring whatever – cereal in a whatever.

Maggie:                    Right.

Sandi:                       I would eat it.

Maggie:                    Yeah.

Sandi:                       Why not?

Maggie:                    We hope you do. We’re going to send you some. Get you stocked up.

Sandi:                       I’m going to eat it. When your heads finally hit the pillow, you must feel just great.

Alex:                         I’m not sure we really stop long enough to do that. I think every once in a while there’s a moment that makes us sort of pause and reflect and feel lucky for what we’ve been able to build so far. Every day is fraught with challenges that are exciting and unusual and keep us pretty busy.

Maggie:                    Part of the thing that we realized as we both became mothers doing this is we changed our mantra together to don’t stress do your best. I actually think that at the end of the day, there’s not a pat on the back as much as there is this perspective taking. There’s a lot of that because up against the challenges and up against the sacrifices. There’s a lot of sacrifice in starting a business like this.

Sandi:                       I’m sure.

Maggie:                    It can be really painful sometimes.

Sandi:                       I bet.

Maggie:                    To be honest.

Sandi:                       When you’re on the road and you’re missing out on milestones at home. Of course it’s hard.

Maggie:                    Yeah. That’s really hard. If you ever don’t feel like, there’s such a delicate balance. When it tips a little bit too far to the uncomfortable place you have to just really bring it back. Have that perspective taking moment and know. I think one thing, too, we each have a boy and a girl. I do love the example we’re setting for our daughters too. There is a big part with the women piece to this.

Sandi:                       For sure. Mm Hmm

Maggie:                    That’s important to us.

Sandi:                       You pride yourselves on, let me say that, that’s wonderful.

Maggie:                    Yeah.

Sandi:                       It’s terrific. It’s been my pleasure to get to know you both and I wish you more continued success. It’s very exciting. For everybody, it’s Bitsy’s bitsysbrainfood.com.

Maggie:                    Thank you.

Sandi:                       Get to be a certain age and then something does happen to your own brain. I better start popping your snacks.

Sandi:                       Join us again for another edition of the 51% Conversations with Creative Women. I’m Sandi Klein.

Narrator:                 Thanks for listening to The 51% Conversations with Creative Women. For show comments and suggestions please follow us on Twitter at #sandikleinshow. You can also find us on Facebook at The 51% Conversations. The show is produced and recorded by Chad Dougatz at the Hangar Studios in New York City. Sandi Klein is our executive producer.

 

 

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