Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leanne Grant, President of Loco Bebé, located in Cabarete, Dominican Republic.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a family-owned Organic Food Manufacturer that produces delicious healthy, convenient snacks for families on the go sourced directly from the farms and produced in our certified organic facility. We produce our pouches for families who love our Caribbean flavors that are nutrient-dense and remind them of the islands.
Tell us about yourself
After our first child turned 6 months and started to eat solids, it became very evident that was a serious lack of nutritious options for families on the go. After noticing store bought was not an option, I began to make my our purees for my son using local fruits, which were very unique from what was available on the shelf in the Dominican as well as in the United States. I felt I couldn't be the only mom out there who wanted something locally sourced, organic, and convenient, so I set out to start producing my combinations in pouches convenient for everyone. One early morning, my husband asked me the most expensive question he has ever asked me, "how can I help?"
I love when I hear from parents who say they love our product, and I love it even more when I hear kids become obsessed with our pouches. One of our biggest motivators is helping young children start off eating right. In today's consumer packaged products industry, there are so many products that claim to be healthy and the right choice to give your family; however, when you read the ingredient, you see there are ingredients that don't have your child's health in mind.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Building our own facility has been a major accomplishment for Loco Bebé. Most of the smaller family-owned baby food companies outsource their production to big commercial facilities. They rely on someone else to source their ingredients and produce all their products. By creating our own facility, we keep all our ingredient sourcing local; we have created our own farms as well as partnered with other local farms to help certify them as Organic, adding to our local economy as well as creating opportunities for great jobs for our community.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As a mom of 3 kids, trying to carve out time for my children is one of the hardest things to do. Building a business is not a 9-5 job. Our work days start as soon as we wake up and don't end until the evening. Finding time to help with homework can be difficult, but I know my kids watch what we are doing and are proud. They miss a lot of events or vacations because we are busy working; one day, I will make it up to them. For now, trying to be present for them every morning for a hug and every night for story time is a priority.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Marketing, Marketing, Marketing. Take and make every opportunity to market yourself and your business.
- Set a budget down to as much detail as you can and then times it by 4.
- Take every meeting. Some may not go anywhere, but I've found those meetings that I almost didn't go to turned out to create the most positive chain reactions.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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