Monday, December 5, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Caroline Freedman, Co-Founder of Nurturme Organic Baby Food


This week's Spotlight on Mommy is Caroline Freedman, co-founder of NurturMe Organic Baby Food.  Caroline recently sent me some samples of her organic baby food for my daughter, Savannah to try.  Come back here on Friday, to read my Feature Friday post, where I will review her products in more detail, and offer one reader a chance to win a gift pack of NurturMe organic baby food.

But, in the meantime, please enjoy my interview with Caroline.


 Caroline is on the left, Lauren is on the right.

Company Location: AUSTIN, TX
Company Website: WWW.NURTURME.COM 
Twitter Handle: @NURTURME
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved, by others. (Wizard to the Tin Man)  
Favorite Book: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc. 

I live in Austin with my husband and two daughters, ages 3.5 and 6 weeks. We love to enjoy all that this amazing city has to offer - great parks, music, Mexican food!
Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?   

I had the idea for creating a new & different type of baby food when I was pregnant with my first child and uninspired by the offerings in the baby food aisle. I thought there had to be a better option than bland tasting pureed food in bulky jars - like I was given as a child so many years ago!

What is a typical work day like? 

A typical day could involve reviewing some legal documentation w/ our lawyer to get his guidance before we sign a vendor contract; then jumping on Facebook to post pictures from a recent event; then spending some time fielding emails, responding to customer questions/requests for follow up or answering interview questions for a PR hit or updating documents for another interested investor; then having a meeting w/ a marketing team to strategize for a new account… Then throughout the week, we may have an evening meeting to discuss cash flow w/ our financial analyst or a happy hour to attend for a local entrepreneurial organization. All those things happen on any given week.
What has been a struggle while starting up your company? 

The learning curve - since both Lauren and I are first time entrepreneurs and new to this industry - and the fact that there's never enough time in the day!
What did you do in your past work life? 

After college, I moved to Austin on a whim and would never have thought I’d be here 11 years later. Within a few weeks of my move, I had an entry level role at Dell in sales; I spent the next 10 years there learning the “business ropes”, holding roles in sales, call center operations, manufacturing operations support, and strategy (M&A). I resigned from Dell 10 months after NurturMe launched on retail shelves.
What have been some of your major successes? 

In the span of a year we have grown from being available on retail shelves in 10 stores across Texas to over 1,000 stores nationwide (by EOY 2011)! We also have gotten some amazing exposure in the press, including write ups on and  This summer, we showcased our product line on QVC and sold out of 6,000 boxes in about 15 minutes. We also recently completed our Series A round of funding (~1M).

What have been some of your major challenges? 

As a startup, managing cash flow is always a challenge - keeping costs low but not so low that you can't grow the business - and knowing when/how to secure funding. In our case, we raise equity funds, which was a very rewarding process - but also, of course, a challenging one. 
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?  

Even on impossible days, I'm still living my dream. Seeing an idea come to life – almost exactly as it was envisioned – is very gratifying. It’s also nice, of course, to “be your own boss” but that isn’t as liberating as it sounds. I feel very much accountable to our investors and my partner, when it comes to how much work & how many hours I put in.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family? 

I love to work and I *love* being a mom. I have lots of help, mostly from my husband who is a very hands-on dad and who is the biggest NurturMe supporter and fan. With fulltime jobs, we make it work with a patchwork of childcare throughout the week (partial school days 3 times a week and nannies the other 2). It’s the juggling act it’s always described as being, and sometimes can be overwhelming and stressful, but overall the working mother thing is totally fulfilling.

What is next for your business? 

Over the next year we will continue to focus on expanding onto more retail shelves nationwide, particularly in natural/specialty grocers like Whole Foods (where we are currently available across Texas and in a few stores in the southeast). 
Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?  

If my co-founder, Lauren McCullough, hadn’t entered the picture early on, my ah-ha moment would probably still be that fantastic idea I never acted upon. In my experience, having a partner has made all the difference. We complement one another’s skill sets, encourage one another when things get overwhelming, and share the incredible workload that starting a business generates. My advice would be, find a great partner, go for it… and most importantly, don’t give up!

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