In this episode, we’re joined by Laura Modi, CEO & Co-Founder of Bobbie.

Laura talks about her journey from working at Google and Airbnb and how she made her way from the tech industry to the world of physical products.

Importantly, Laura shares the frustration that led to her creating a new and better baby formula product: Bobbie and the challenges of launching the product into a regulated and competitive industry.

Laura emphasizes and talks about embracing science to figure out tough problems and the importance of surrounding yourself with a strong team of experts.

Transcript

Ken: Welcome to the physical product movement, a podcast by fiddle, we share stories of the world’s most ambitious and exciting physical product brands to help you capitalize on the monumental change in how, why and where consumers buy. I’m your host, Ken Ojuka.

In this episode, we talk with Laura Modi, CEO and Co-Founder of Bobbie. Bobbie is a popular organic and European style, infant formula and product that’s growing like crazy. Laura talks about her journey from working for Google and Airbnb and how she made her way from the tech industry to the world of physical products.

She talks about her frustrations that led to her creating a new and better baby formula product and the challenges of launching that product into a regulated and competitive industry. She talks about embracing science to figure out tough problems and the importance of surrounding yourself with a strong team of experts.

We also talk about why women and especially moms need to start more businesses and why they make some of the best entrepreneurs. Laura was a pleasure to talk to, and I think you’ll enjoy this. Hey Laura, how are you doing? 

Laura: Good. Happy friday, 

Ken: Friday to you too. Hey, thanks for jumping on the call with me. I appreciate it.

Laura: Of course, of course, delighted to be here. 

Ken: So, uh, where are you calling from? 

Laura: Well, I am calling from my office slash basement of my house in San Francisco, but originally from Arland. 

Ken: Yeah. Yeah. And I’m sure the listeners are hearing the accent. Um, and so, um, how, how long have you been in the states then 

Laura: Lived here now 12 years. I always thought I’d kind of just pop over, maybe spend a year or two and I haven’t left. 

Ken: Well, nice. Nice. Well, we’d like to kick these off by, um, just hearing a, a quote from you. Um, you know, maybe, maybe something that that’s impactful to you, some words that you live by, is there anything that comes through?

Laura: Mm, yeah, I always say it’s not rocket science, unless it’s rocket science. And it’s just a philosophy I live by, in so many different ways, which is just the most things in life are way more simple than we make them out to be. And I think humans in, and especially those that, you know, are, are, you know, within the intellectual space, they make things more complicated than they need to be.

So it’s not rocket science, unless it’s rocket science. 

Ken: Well, I love it. I love it. So I don’t know what comes to mind. You have an example of something like that, that, that maybe you’ve seen or experienced. 

Laura: Yeah. I mean, I, I could get into just even the industry that I’m in, you know, like I get this all the time.

It’s like, wow. You know, you make infant formula. That must be so hard. Like how did you ever even get started with that? And you know, when you really break it down to its most simplistic form, it’s powdered milk. I mean, that’s what it is. And you know, obviously the steps to get it off the ground, not trying to completely dumb, dumb it down.

I mean, yes, it was a long journey and it took a lot of sweat, but it’s, it’s not as complex as, as the, what often is your very first reaction to something. And the more you get into it, the more you experience, the more you learn, the more you realize it really made simple. 

Ken: Right. And I love that example. And, and of course, you know, in this interview, we’re going to dive into your company and, and, you know, I really want to get some details there, but before we do that, uh, could you just give us a little bit more about your background?

Um, it looks like you’ve, you’ve, you have a pretty interesting background and you’ve spent some time in Silicon valley working for some of the notable, uh, Silicon valley companies like Google and Airbnb. But, you know, I want you to take us back to, you know, even before then, you know, um, you know, what, what were you like as a kid?

What did you want to do? And how did that lead you to eventually make your way over from Ireland? 

Laura: So I actually grew up in, I grew up in an entrepreneurial family. Our family is the manufacturer and distribute at PPE clothing actually. And for 2020, I would say that and people would look at me. Cross-eyed no idea what I was talking about.

Um, very unsexy industry boss. Massively required. And we’ve all, obviously come to learn that. So come from honestly, come from like the manufacturing background and it was a big focus growing up with, you know, high vis jackets, hard hats and masks. Um, so, uh, that, that’s kind of the family I grew up in and being from an entrepreneurial family, you. You find yourself learning about starting a business and contributing to a business and playing a role in the development of a business. Very early on, my dad took a very fond interest in making sure that kind of the entrepreneurial conversations started at our dinner table and I’m the eldest of five.

And I vividly remember there’s some of my favorite memories, all being around the dinner table. Having very deep conversations about what society needs, uh, what products we need to see on the market. And even allowing us to contribute to the insights of where he was obviously building with his company and playing a role in, in developing our family business.

So, um, it was always in our blood. 

Ken: That’s awesome. And did you guys end up working in, in his company, as you know, as you were growing up, did you have an opportunity to do that?

Laura: I don’t know if I’d call it an opportunity are more like parenting, you know? I mean, yes. I think we all enjoyed, uh, being able to, whether it was for summers or certain breaks or internships, you get to play a role in the business.

But I think there was just a level of expectation that came with it too. And. Yeah, it was, it was a great education, a huge education. I think what comes of that too, is the reality that what you can bring back to a family business, um, is even more valuable. So it’s very important. And another thing that was fostered very early on was.

He didn’t want to see all immediately walk into the family company. He wanted us to go out and to get more experience in other companies in the world of tech and in the world of manufacturing, but maybe in a different industry. So that by the time you end up returning to the family business, if that was your decision that you’re coming back with this with some new value versus kind of the immersion that we got young on.

So I did that. You know, I got to a place where I. What’s the 2008. And obviously, you know, all those who can remember, uh, everyone was hit hard and I just thought, I need, I need to get out of the country. I need a new experience and the concept of moving to America, California. I mean, honestly it felt like a dream.

You know, buy a convertible and drive down the one oh one was all I knew from watching the movie. So clearly the whole thing just felt like, you know, a dream to be able to move to the U S and I, yeah, I applied to Google and was very, very, very fortunate to have, you know, my landing there. Uh, as I, as I moved over to the states, and that was my first introduction coming over here.

Ken: Now, it sounds like you had a bit of a marketing background. Is that what you were doing or, or were you into tech? What, what did you do at Google? 

Laura: Yeah. And so I was, I worked in Massey marketing, but it was actually more finance. I was a product manager and I was assigned to work on the Google finance product.

Now the Google finance product is for anyone who doesn’t know it’s. You know, a financial information site. So if you’re interested in learning anything about the stock market making investments, you would go to Google finance, you would learn more about the product or the company, the brand that’s public.

If you wanted to make a trade. And I was launched into working on this project and I had zero background in the stock market and understanding anything related to the financial markets. Wow. One because it’s predominantly kind of a guy’s world and old boys club there’s lingo and, and jargon in that space.

Unfortunately, many women rarely get into, but because it was the product that I was given, I became. He started with every little bit of not only the product and feature and that we were building, but the stock market itself. And I became so enthralled by us. I found myself two years in just day trading.

Uh, because I was watching the stock market on a regular basis and it became, I wanna say it was a bad habit, but it was certainly one that I, I enjoyed learning, 

Ken: Especially at that time, you know, 2007, 2008, you know, there was just a lot going on with the economy that, um, I think all of us were watching the stock market in one way or another, you know, back then.

Laura: Yeah, it was a good opportunity to, as, as we were seeing kind of the recession and seeing the hit on everyone, and it woke me up to the need to be educated on what, like true investment look like and investing in diversifying your investment would look like, um, so that as you’re continuing to grow your experience and your wealth and your savvy to what it would mean if we went through this moment again, 

Ken: Right. Okay. Yeah. That’s, that’s very interesting. And, and so you made your way from, from Google, um, and you spent some time with, uh, Airbnb as well. Right? What did you do there? Yeah, 

Laura: It’s an interesting story, actually, how I even stumbled on Airbnb. I used to go out to New York on a regular basis with Google and had an engineering team there and would meet, meet with them once.

You know, every two or three months. And I was always being put up in a hotel. And there was one trip where I just couldn’t find a room or, you know, they were too expensive based on the budget the company was given and someone said to me, oh, you should check out this company. You could just rent someone’s apartment.

And I was traveling out there for work and they were like, yeah, just check it out. It’s air, bed and breakfast. And, you know, uh, went on and I found myself a two bed apartment in what district was it? I don’t even remember now. And I called my friend in Dublin. I said, you need to get out of here. You’re five hours away.

I’m five as well. I have a two bed apartment in New York city this week. And we can just spend a week together. I mean, it was so novel. Like when you think about it, the concept that you could stay in someone else’s apartment for a work trip and to come home every evening, feeling like a local cooking dinner, it was the most, I mean, eye opening experience.

And I was so besotted with experience. I found myself at the end of the week going, I need to work for this company and I, you know, whatever it takes, I will join in whatever capacity I need to work, uh, with them, because what they’re doing is something really special and disrupting an industry that I think only now we can reflect on and go radically needed to see a change.

And I contacted someone, uh, who connected me with the founder. And I said like, I want to join, bring me on in whatever capacity. So I joined as one of the earliest, uh, operation leaders and, uh, moved between growing our, uh, hosts. And our hosts, uh, host ops org and our customer service org. I also got an opportunity to come back to Arland for a while and open our European headquarters.

Um, and it was just really running in every direction based on what the business needed. 

Ken: And so when you joined how big was Airbnb and I, and I forget when it actually started. So how old was the company and how many employees did they have at the time? 

Laura: I want to say the company was three years old. I joined in 2011, maybe around a hundred people, maybe less.

Um, And I felt like I joined very, you know, you joined and you think, oh, my it’s been a fabulous three-year journey they’ve been on because you have no idea when you join kind of a rocket ship like that. What the next few years instructor is going to look like, and it’s a journey that’s. Again, I think about kind of the gratitude and fortune.

I had to be able to join and get that kind of experience because it was non-stop and nonstop only in the way that was, um, addicting. And so addicting that then, then once it does wind down, you think, how do I get back on another train like that? How do I get that energy back? And ultimately it was starting a company myself, but the energy was addicting.

Ken: Hmm. That’s interesting. So, um, obviously, you know, this isn’t a podcast about, you know, working at tech companies, you know, you met, you made your way from that, uh, to the world of physical products. So why don’t you tell us a story about how, how you ended up, you know, eventually starting, uh, Bobby and you know, what, what led up to it?

Laura: Yeah, you’re, you’re right. Coming from the world of tech, the idea of starting a physical product and it felt like a hearse transition, but yes, it very much mirrored my early, I suppose, experience, uh, in our, in our family. So what led up to it was a personal experience. I had my first kid while I was at Airbnb and. One of the most joyous moments in your life was actually one of the most vulnerable and. Embarrassing experiences that I can remember because I went into it, assuming that I would be able to breastfeed and I thought it would be easy and beautiful and natural. And all of that jazz that society tells you, this is normal.

You will be able to breastfeed because all women in society bowls being able to do so, and I felt lied to by the world. Because I struggled to be able to breastfeed my daughter exclusively. And that moment to be faced with the reality that doesn’t mirror expectations is it’s just heart wrenching, especially for something as sensitive and as personal and as fragile as how you feed your baby.

I vividly remember standing in the middle aisle of not going to name it, but it was a pharmacy choosing a product. To feed my child because I couldn’t breastfeed. And this product was sitting on a shelf between cat food on one side and diapers on the other. And I’m thinking, is this really where I’m buying my baby’s food?

My two week old daughter who, everything I put into this, this child, I wanted to be gold. You know, you’re growing the most precious thing out there, but yet I’m feeding her something where the first ingredient is corn syrup. It just seems totally mad that I would be feeding her this and hence it, it answered the reason why I felt so guilty and so embarrassed about the choice that I was making.

Um, even though, I mean, in hindsight, I didn’t really have a choice. I had to feed her. So that was the Genesis. 

Ken: Okay. So you’re, you’re standing there in this aisle and, um, you know, obviously not happy with your choices and, you know, even just where it’s located on the shelf, the presentation, just, just your options in general.

Did you start thinking about potentially starting a baby formula company at that point? Or did it just start percolating a little bit at that point? 

Laura: Well, just, I mean, yeah, I definitely didn’t walk away immediately from that experience in gamma starting to invoice, but it, what it did, I walked me, it had me walk away going, I need to figure out how I, how I feel less guilty.

So what I did was I just started researching the market. And honestly, like every new mom, you turn into a crazy researcher, you start researching the best infant formulas, you know, where the ingredients come from, you know, what does the market look like? And as all of that research, What’s happening, you know, over the next few months, I continued to discover that there was few options on the market and that the majority of parents, 83, to be exact 83% of parents were turning to infant formula.

But yet no one was talking about it. And all of this research over the next few months, you know, if you could imagine kind of the chart here, my knowledge of research was going up. My knowledge is going up and my exhaustion was going down. I guess now my, my daughter’s getting a bit older, so I get to the end of that first year with her.

And I feel like it infant formula expert, because I know everything about the market. I know it’s dominated by two major companies and it hasn’t seen change. In 40 years, I was aware that there was a rampant black market for European infant formula and that the European. Infant nutrition standards get updated on a regular basis in comparison to the U S this was knowledge that unless you went into that crazy researcher hole, you were never going to know.

So I finished that first year going. I know too much to be dangerous here, that I should do something about this. Like why isn’t there a better option on the market. And, yeah, that’s when that’s when kind of the percolating turned into kind of the inception and, and ultimately starting the company. 

Ken: Okay. Interesting. So, so for those who don’t know your brands don’t know Bobby, what is it? How do you describe it and what makes you unique from the other formulas that you described? 

Laura: So, um, I’ll start by saying that all infant formulas need to narrow breast milk. So, you know, As far as one entrant forming a differentiating to the next, it’s really important that all of the recipes are giving you the output that a baby requires.

And I always say this because for any mom is listening. It doesn’t matter what brand or product you choose to feed. Just remember that. Your baby is going to thrive and you were making the right choice for them and compared to any other product out there, that’s such an important message for parents to know the differences and where Bobby kind of stands out is that we have chosen ingredients that go into that recipe that really differentiates what’s on the market.

And at the end of the day, the choice of ingredients. Is is what you can also see in kind of the longterm impact as well. So Bobby is the only infant formula on the U S market that is also designed after European nutritional standards. That means that we’ve matched our levels of vitamins and minerals and ingredients to mirror those that you also see in the European market.

And we’ve done that because of the European. Um, the European nutritional standards are constantly evolving based on the latest science. The last time it was updated here in the U S was in the 1980s. So while we are FDA regulated, we also mirror that of nutritional standards. 

Ken: Okay. I see. And the, and those standards are generally considered to be higher, you know, higher standards than what you would see here in the United States.

Correct? Not only do they evolve, but they’re, they’re usually a little bit more rigorous and, and just a little more demanding. 

Laura:  They are. I mean, look, I’ll do two very dairy, um, Consumer friendly examples. The first is that there is limitations on adding corn syrup to infant formula in the EU. But yes, here in the U S if you want a hundred percent of the carbs that need to get added to be high-fructose corn syrup, you can do that.

Um, so there’s no regulations put on companies here to make a decision around what ingredients to choose. If you can choose the cheaper one, depending on what kind of company you are, you may choose to do so. Um, another example is DHA. TJ is a really, really important nutrient for brain development and the EU came forward and said, the minimum requirements for DJJ are so high that they exceed any infant formulas decision to put Daj here in the U S and that’s their minimum bar.

Ken: I see. So let’s, let’s dig into the corn syrup. Um, thing I know, obviously, you know, in the last few years, um, corn syrup is, you know, it’s being removed from a lot of products, you know, at least, at least from what I can see, you know, what, you know, for those that maybe aren’t, you know, too dialed into the real impact of corn syrup and Y you know, we may not want to consume it.

And, and why, especially, you wouldn’t want to. Feed it to a baby. You know, could you explain that a little bit? Give us a little color on that. 

Laura: Yeah, it is funny. I think I met my whole was just as soon that it just seems obvious, but it’s not because, you know, we use corn syrup for a lot of things. Um, so first off we here in the U S and we generate a lot of corn.

And corn syrup is plentiful. And so it is used as kind of a cheap carb source. And to be fair, it, it gives you the output for exactly what carbs are required for some of the detriment or at least the way some of the science is evolving is showing that too much corn syrup early on can have an impact at an adolescent age.

So you often don’t see the impact immediately. But that impact could be everything from, uh, cognitive development to weight gain, um, at an adolescent age. So just knowing that you could be stunted in, in different ways, 13, 15 years down the road would give you pause to say why introduced too much corn syrup at this early phase, knowing it’s going to have a long-term negative implication on our health.

And you think it was just like zoom-out and you think about this country overall, there’s so much work to improve our healthcare system and it really starts with what we’re consuming and starts of what we’re consuming very, very early on. It’s a, it’s a horrible cycle that we continue to see here, which is if we continue to eat bad food, we will continue to deteriorate our health.

And that will continue to put strain on our healthcare system and the cycle continues and it really, really, really starts. At a young age. And if your baby’s first food is corn syrup, you’re already off to a bad start, 

Ken: You know? And, um, You know, I know in the last few years, you know, I’ve, I’ve done a lot to cut corn syrup out of, out of my own diet.

Um, and it’s largely been from, you know, one of the uses that you said, which is, you know, weight management or weight gain, you know, and I’ve noticed a huge, huge difference that way just by, by trying to do that, you know, I, I just thought it was more interesting from, you know, uh, looking at it from a baby’s perspective and, you know, I’ve got five kids myself, and so we always.

Exactly. And, and everything that you’re saying actually resonates because we, we have, uh, an eight week old. And so we’re, we’re going through, you know, the new baby at home and, and, uh, you know, keeping that baby fed and, and, you know, even some of the stuff on your website about, you know, tummy troubles, you know, that these little infants have, you know, and so yes, we’re, we’re experiencing it right now.

And so I’m really happy to have you on the podcast and be talking to you about this.

Laura: Oh my god. Congratulations. Five kids. Wow. You’re you’re making me want to go first anymore. 

Ken: Well, let’s, let’s just say I’m, you know, I wake up everyday saying, oh, five kids. I’m just as surprised as you so it’s it. It’s interesting.

Laura: I know. Well, congrats on your, your eight week old. 

Ken: Well, thank you. You mentioned a stat, you said 83%, and then I’m not sure that I caught the rest of it. Could you, uh, could you explain that, that stat again, 

Laura: 83% of parents will turn to infant formula in the first year. 

Ken: Okay. And why is that? What are the reasons for them?

Laura: Well, many and I’ll start with one that has been kind of the, the one that we really stand for, which is the modern parent. Today, the parent today looks very different to the parent 40 years ago. When you think about those that need to turn to infant Vernon, as they need to, to start, we live in a place where.

Going back to work after you have a baby is not just happening. It’s expected. There’s very little paid maternity leave, paternity leave. So for you to go back and work a 40 hour work week and ensure that you’re able to pay for everything else, I mean, you have to make that choice to go back to work or do you stay home with your child?

People don’t have that choice. So, yeah. It seems like a very obvious one, which is just, how can you expect to exclusively breastfeed your trials for 35 hours a week and go back to work. You, you just cannot. So people are making the choice and they’re saying I have to go back to work. And because of that, I’m going to have to be my child’s infant formula.

Then outside of that, there’s. Double mastectomies at a higher rate, surrogacies adoption, gay couples, people having kids older and on medication. And nevermind just the desire to say I’m done breastfeeding. So. When you look at the world that we parent in today to the one we did in the past with more women in the workplace, less options for you to stay home with your kids and are an array of the parent figure, looking different.

They’re all adding up to why we will turn to infant formula in the first year. 

Ken: Okay. Yeah. Interesting. Thank you. Um, yeah, I wanted to, to, um, you know, change the channel a little bit and just talk about a little bit more about the process of actually getting your product developed, um, and getting it to market, you know?

And so you decided to go down this track, you, you, you saw the need for, um, a new kind of baby formula. What were your, your next. Steps, you know, what did you do, um, to actually start sourcing ingredients and find a co-packer to help you out with this? I, I assume you guys use a co-packer. 

Laura: We do use a co-packer. Yeah. And yeah, it has been a journey of we, uh, We have been an analyst for three years. So it starts with the fact that infant formula requires it requires you to meet FDA regulations. So when you think about a spectrum of products in kind of the food and drug space being developed, you have drugs on one end and they have major oversight by the FDA.

And then you have food on the other, which require you to hit certain standards, but it’s not like you need to get FDA approval. Right in the middle between drugs and food, you have infant formula and you have infant formula because for all intents and purposes, it’s food, it’s powdered milk and it gives you all the nutrients you need.

But it’s food that’s being given to the most vulnerable audience as the sole nutrition. So it is imperative that the safety and quality and development of this product are world-class. And it just requires a lot of oversight. So too, I get the question a lot, which is if this is such a needed product.

And if there was, if there was an ability to differentiate, why wouldn’t we see more options on the market and because of where it sits on the spectrum is why for you to meet FDA regulations. You have to work with very specific Comans here in the U S. Up until recently, there was only one contract manufacturing facility in the U S that really makes into informed.

So first off you kind of think about that roadblock. Just to get to a place to someone who can make your product. You’re limited by very few options, in fact, no options. And then when you do get an opportunity to work with that one Komen you’re beholden to them in many ways. And that means you need, you know, honestly, a lot of capital and time to be able to work with a product that will require FDA regulations requires me to have variations.

So. Yeah, we have to raise money and, you know, to enter the market. As I mentioned, you need the capital and time we had to raise venture capital and we have to give ourselves three years and, uh, that’s what it took. And we just launched into the market in January and we’ve been on the market now for four months.

Ken: Okay. All right. And, um, did you end up working with that one, uh, Komen or did you find a different option? 

Laura: We did, we did. And they have been fabulous. Um, truly the relationship that you build with your Komen and your suppliers, I mean, yeah. You heard about this, a launch kind of all, you know, entering into physical product world.

You starting. We’ll get, like, what are your key dependencies? And I continue to hear from people like that, Komen is going to be everything. So I T I took it very seriously and, um, the relationship we built with them and the partnership we have with them and the dedication that they give to us from an innovation standpoint and, you know, the desire to explore.

And, and honestly, they’ve been one of the best partners, um, in a way that I truly can’t imagine being here without them. 

Ken: Yeah. And you said that the partner word, you know, a couple of times in that, um, and I think that’s something that a lot of people don’t realize that your Komen is a partner in every sense of the word, you know, and, and your success is largely dependent on, on them and them doing what they say that they’re going to do.

So. A hundred percent really important to find a really good, uh, Coleman. Okay. So, um, uh, so I’m curious about, you know, raising money, uh, for this. And so how, how far along did you have to get, um, before you, you felt like you were in a place to then go and pitch this to investors. Um, and, and what did you have to, to show them that, that you were the person to actually launch this company and be successful in this, in this, you know, in this space.

Laura: It was probably about eight months and it started because I found out I was pregnant with my second child when I got the company started. And I thought, I’m going to, I’m going to cellphone. This there’s no reason why I won’t be able to get this off the ground and launch before this child comes in.

Kind of like that naive assumption that, you know, you could get this off the ground in nine months. And I’ll, I’ll never forget kind of getting into that last trimester and thinking the plan is in place. I know the contract manufacturing disease and the suppliers, and I, you know, had like a, a small team of scientists on board.

We had our, the most beautiful formulation in place. And it got to a point just before it was by to have the child where realized no, this journey is going to be a bit longer and, uh, for us to do this, right, I’m going to have to raise money at that. And also ensure that my relationship with my husband wasn’t going to be hurt if I kept self-funding this launched into fundraising and. I, I don’t know if I’d recommend to anyone to go out and fundraise eight months pregnant. But it definitely added to the story for why I wanted a better formula. 

Ken: Yeah, no kidding. No kidding. Um, I, I was actually, that could be used to your advantage, right? 

Laura: It could, except it, you know, I don’t blame probably people who were sitting at the other side of the table thinking, am I going to give you millions of dollars nearby to have a baby?

Right. But for anyone who knows a mom, especially a new one who is fueled by something that isn’t right for their child, nothing stops you. And it gives you the fuel to even push further, which was exactly the case. So it was very fortunate investors. They saw the opportunity and, you know, I went in with the due diligence of kind of the plan and, and team to demonstrate that this could be executed well.

And we had the determination to ensure that we would. Be a differentiated product. Um, and you could see that in the work today, which was the formulation in place and the brand we had built. So. Raised two and a half million, about 10 days before having my baby and had my child and then got back to work, um, and, and deploying that two and a half million dollars to a place that we could look at a product concept that was developed, know that it works and then went in and raised a second round of funding about a year and a half later.

Uh, and I was actually pregnant with my third child for that raise and closed 4 million then. And that 4 million plus the two and a half got me to a place, um, where I launched, uh, FDA regulation products and two babies. 

Ken: So, okay, so you launched, um, earlier this year, right? January, is that right? Correct. Yes.

So how how’s that going? You know, what led up to the launch and, and, you know, did you guys do anything special, you know, to, to actually launch the product and get the word out? How’s it going? 

Laura: It’s going really well. I it’s, it’s one of those products that I always had full faith in. Like, you don’t need to, you don’t need to test if there’s a product market fit, it’s infant formula it’s requires.

And I didn’t need to question like how big the market was. It’s pretty clear how many people are having babies every year. The unknowns were. Will this brand resonate? And, um, I, you know, knowing that the belief was there in the product, it was just like, how quickly can we build awareness and get people to know about.

Bobbie and the Busey ensuring, again, our parents’ spaces. If it works, it takes off. And to watch the organic word of mouth and moms talking on their own forums at sea, come up across other people’s content. I mean, nothing brings you more, yeah. Joy than seeing a mom in a state that you’re not in having no connection to the company.

You know, tagging you on Instagram, they’re tagging their infant formula and those small moms you’re like, wow, like how often do people tag and I won’t name other brands, but like we’re talking infant formula and they’re tagging this company. It really, I mean, it brings me so much joy to see my physical product out in the wild sitting on someone’s kitchen, counter.

Um, so much joy. 

Ken: That’s awesome. And so, um, are you guys a strictly, a direct to consumer or have you gotten into some retail? Okay. 

Laura:  Strictly direct to the consumer today. The plan is to go into retail at some point for certainty, not rushing. Um, this is a predictable and repeatable product and mom’s parents need it when they need us, that our job is just to make sure that we can get it to their doorstep when they, when they require it. So we’ll, we’ll continue direct to consumer and probably in the next year or two, we’ll find ourselves on a retail shelf. 

Ken:  Awesome. Awesome. All right. And, um, and coming up, you know, for the rest of the year, what can you tell us about, you know, what’s in store for Bobbie?

Is there anything that you’re particularly excited about? That’s upcoming 

Laura: Part of what we’re doing in this upcoming fundraise, and I’m very excited about actually is. I have a strong belief that more customers should be investors in products and investors and early companies. And I’m really, really excited to share that we are going to be launching what we’re calling the Motherload, where we are going to be inviting our customers and moms to be an early investor in the company.

So for, you know, a check of a hundred dollars, you can have equity in the company and watch the journey. And I really hope we can bring around 500 women to the table. 

Ken: Fantastic name, the mother load. Um, and, uh, if somebody was interested in getting involved in that, what, what would they, what would they do?

How do they find out more about that? 

Laura: I think for the moment, it’s just following us on social apps. Bobbie B O B B I E. And yeah, we’ll be making announcements when it opens up. 

Ken: Okay, awesome. Well, let’s, uh, let’s jump over to the quickfire round. I’ve just got four quick questions for you. Name one tool or resource that has helped you the most in your current position.

Laura: Google calendar. 

Ken: No, that’s a great one. I can’t live without that. Uh, either. Um, what is, uh, one book? 

Laura: Uh, let the score take care of itself. It’s a football analogy. Um, even not being a sports person myself, it’s very clear how to Ron and grow and manage a business. If you can think of it like managing a football team.

Ken: Yeah. And that was a Walsh, right? Um, coach of the 49ers. Is that right? Exactly. Yeah. That’s a great quote. I actually haven’t read that book, but I have, uh, a new Amazon, uh, or audible credit that, uh, I might use that for. So that’s a good recommendation. What is one piece of advice? Yeah. And you would give your 21 year old self 

Laura: Don’t sweat. The answers. The answer is just to sweat. If I could go back and just realize that it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other, just get it done. Don’t worry about the answers like Trudy, just get it done. 

Ken: I like that. Who is the person? You know, um, let’s limit it, I guess, to the, to the world of business, um, or, or physical products, um, that you would love to take to lunch.

Who is somebody that maybe you admire you, you, you, you watch and, and, uh, you’d love to take the lunch. 

Laura: I’m going to say someone who I’ve never met. Uh, I mean, obviously that’s probably the question, but she is also no longer alive and that is my grandmother and she. She died at a young age, never got to meet her, but she was an entrepreneur herself.

And she created a clothing line back in the day where she had 13 children. And, uh, that clothing line today is one of the biggest Irish clothing companies in Europe. And I would do anything to be able to meet her. 

Ken: That’s awesome. You really do have an entrepreneurship in your blood, huh? 

Laura: I do. Most of them. I haven’t met, but it’s there. 

Ken: That’s great. Well, Laura, this is, this has been a good interview. Um, I, I think that we’ve learned a lot from your journey with Bobby and, and even just your experience before, um, uh, what, um, you know, what parting advice would you give to those that, uh, that maybe are thinking about launching, um, a physical products company or, you know, they’ve launched a physical product company and they’re currently in the grind, you know, what, what piece of advice could you leave them with?

Laura:  I think the biggest thing is for you to just become the experts. Um, you don’t have to be today. If you find a physical product that you’re deeply passionate about, immerse yourself into it in a way that you’re going to be writing the pieces on it, they, you should be giving a lecture on as a case study on us, become the experts, and then just believe in yourself that you know, better than anyone else.

Ken:  I think that’s a great place to end. And, um, we can certainly see that you’ve, you’ve done that with the world of baby formula. Wish you all the best of luck with Bobby. It seems like you are just kicking butt and doing awesome. Um, I appreciate you taking the time. Thank you.

Laura: Thanks a minute. And Ken. 

Ken: Okay, we’ll talk soon. Bye. 

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