Lessons Learned: Selling Health
00:00 Shazi Visram: Hi. My name is Shazi Visram. I am the founder and CEO of Happy Baby and Happy Baby makes organic foods for babies and toddlers.
What inspired you to start HappyBaby?
00:12 Visram: I saw this incredible opportunity to build a meaningful brand in a space that just hadn't had any innovation since the 1930s. There were so many premium items for baby, like $1000 strollers, and $100 shoes, and $1000 cribs, and all these things that really wouldn't affect the life or the health of your child. But the one thing that really could didn't exist. And I thought, "What an incredible opportunity to build a meaningful brand in a space where you could actually make a difference in a child's life."
How did you start your business?
00:46 Visram: I started working on the business... Actually I was at business school, and I was part of the Greenhouse program at Columbia, and I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start a company. And so I started developing the business plan in the Greenhouse at Columbia, and soon after graduation really began putting the wheels in motion, bringing a team together and raising the financing.
How do you ensure the quality of your product?
01:15 Visram: I made the first recipes in my kitchen in Brooklyn, but you can't really start a baby food company small. You have to do it in a state-of-the-art facility. Quality is of the utmost concern. We create everything with the help of a really, really well-known pediatrician, Dr. Sears, and so everything is about optimal nourishment to grow babies' bodies, and that's where it starts, and using the best organic ingredients which are a given. So, once we feel like we have something that's truly, truly healthy and impactful, we do taste tests on hundreds of babies including my own, and usually you get the thumbs up. Some of them can't do the thumbs up but you get a smile, or they don't spit it back out and that's always a good sign.
How do you make a difference in your customers' lives?
02:02 Visram: Part of what we do and what we stand for is providing fresh, wholesome food to babies, and to make parents feel really good about having an alternative than making their own homemade baby food or the ubiquitous jar of baby food that's hyper-processed and sits on the shelf for three years. It's what you give your baby over and over again that they develop a taste for, and that's actually how we can make a difference in the health of children in our country. Because if you give them healthy food more than ten times, if you give them the best and most incredible fresh peas more than ten times, they develop a taste for those peas and a preference for them. And if you give them Cheetos more than ten times, they develop a taste and a preference for those. So it's really about developing the best things and making sure that parents have the education and the awareness to know that they should give these products to their babies and their children to actually make a difference in their lives.