Entrepreneur: Alexandra Buckley Voris & Maggie Jones Patton
Business name: Bitsy's Brainfood
Years in business: 2
Website address: http://www.bitsysbrainfood.com
For parents, educators and child care professionals, keeping children healthy and educated about their mental and physical health is a top priority, especially with childhood obesity on the rise. Moms and entrepreneurs Maggie Jones Patton and Alexandra Buckley Voris aim to promote a healthy lifestyle for children with their business, Bitsy's Brainfood. It sells nutritious and fun alternatives to often-unhealthy processed foods.
Voris and Patton launched their business after working together at Children for Children (now GenerationOn), an organization that connects youth with community service. Now, the duo focuses on promoting Bitsy's Brainfood's mission: "Be Smart, Eat Smart." Here's how Voris and Patton used technology to get their business up and running and spread the word about children's health.
Founders of Bitsy's Brainfood share how technology helped them start their business.
Business News Daily: What problem were you hoping to solve when you started your business?
Alexandra Buckley Voris: Childhood obesity. And the simple fact that when it comes to kids, broccoli could use a little good PR. We saw that within the organic food space, there was opportunity to do more when it comes to marketing healthy eating to kids. Why should healthy organic food for kids be sold in boring brown, cardboard boxes? Why couldn't the character-driven marketing tactics that built the sugary cereal industry be used to create a groundswell around healthy organic cereals? And so we were inspired to find a way to take our knowledge about kids and our passion for healthy food and bring them together. The result is Bitsy's Brainfood.
BND: Could your business have existed 20 years ago?
Maggie Jones Patton: In many ways, what we do is more about inspiring and teaching kids than anything else. So, yes. People have used stories and relatable characters to motivate kids for the good for centuries. And creative, health-conscious parents have always worked to give their kids good, wholesome food. We're just packaging the learning, the good food and the fun! But we will say that it would have been harder to figure out how to do this to scale without the power of Googling for answers and "how to's."
BND: What technology (or technologies) has most made your business possible?
A.B.V.: In some ways, we went from "idea" to "Google" to "production." When you are taking a risk and starting something that you have never done before, being able to learn online, find resources, and even make contact with vendors and mentors — just by Googling — well, it really shows you the power of the Internet and technology. [Google Apps Sharpens Monitoring Tools for Businesses ]
We use our website quite a bit as a critical platform to engage kids with games and learning tools about nutrition, [to engage] parents with recipes and information about our products, and [to engage] retailers with information about our business. All of the traditional social media tools are also so important to us, from Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest and blogging.
We also use a CRM platform called Zoho.com, which is an awesome app and data management system. It helps us keep our accounts and customers organized, and stay on top of who is communicating with whom and when.
BND: What technology can't you live without?
M.J.P.: Our CRM platform, Zoho. We love how it lets you start with the first moment of scanning a business card in as a lead, and allows you to track everything from there on out as you build the relationship.
We use Google Mail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and, well, we do a LOT of Googling, as mentioned previously. Can't really imagine life without it.
BND: If you could hire one extra person right now, what would you have that employee do?
A.B.V.: Help support our relationships at the stores where we sell (both online and brick and mortar). At the end of the day, your contacts are your capital. It's all about the relationships. It's the most important thing. When you are selling a product, your team isn't just you and your brand team, it's everyone out there at the stores or online retailers where customers go to purchase your products. Getting your extended team excited makes a difference.
BND: What technology do you wish existed that doesn't?
M.J.P.: For work, some kind of virtual computer desktop organizing assistant that would clean and organize all the files on your computer daily.
For home, an app that sorts through all of your photos and organizes them into perfect albums for printing.
For juggling them both, a giant family calendar that hangs on each of your walls, syncs to your phone, syncs to your spouse's phone and keeps you super organized with the juggling act of life.
BND: What technology do you think is most overrated?
A.B.V.: We don't know that there are necessarily overrated technologies as much as there are overused technologies. Guilty ourselves, but as parents we think it can sometimes be hard to unplug as much as we should. Being glued to technology versus enjoying time with your kids playing, reading with them or snuggling is overrated.