As many of you know, this has been a tumultuous few months for me and for Little City Kitchen Co. I wrote a few weeks ago about the struggle to make this a profitable venture, and after several months of weighing my options, I’ve finally come to a decision: it’s time to stop baby food production.
There will be additional details with logistics coming out for customers (some are at the bottom of this post), but in the spirit in which I started this blog, I wanted to share why I’ve come to this decision, and my process to get here.
Although I have been hesitant to share my doubts publicly, I’ve grappled for several months with where to take Little City Kitchen Co. I’ve learned through this process that commercial-scale cooking isn’t for me. Give me the microphone for a 200-person cooking demo any day, but keep me out of the kitchen! Not only was the cooking physically (and mentally) draining, but to my detriment, it took me out of my entrepreneurial frame of mind.
Let me be clear, I do still believe that this type of baby food business can be profitable, and given the proper amount of motivation and support (both financially and with collaborative partners), this could still be a hugely successful venture.
It boiled down into two simple options for me: grow, or die. And I decided that I didn’t have the infrastructure or the motivation in place at this time to grow. There is certainly the possibility that I will re-launch the baby food at a later date, but not in the short-term.
A Little Heartbreak
The part that breaks my heart (just a little) is that I’m still convinced that 1) I’ve created a great product, both in look and in flavor, and 2) there is a dire need for this type of baby food on the market today, and 3) it’s not a product you can just put on the shelf and expect to sell; there is a large amount of education that needs to take place first.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my ego has taken a big hit. I’ve always prided myself on being the one that can make anything work, so it’s hard to make such a dramatic change without some crap bubbling to the surface. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that maintaining the “status quo” by continuing on this path is actually the weaker move. The stronger move is to admit this isn’t working and to make a change. So that’s what I’m doing.
My New Outlook
Somewhat surprisingly, I feel really good. I still feel like I’m in the right place, surrounded by the right people, and have no regrets about any choice I’ve made to get me here. My hope is that by not putting my energy towards that part of the business, I’ve made more space in my life to attract other, even better, opportunities. At least that’s what I keep telling myself…over and over and over.
So, what’s next? Don’t worry, I’m not out of the baby food business entirely! I’m going to keep on writing and teaching, two parts of the business I’ve always loved. Stay tuned for a four-part baby food cooking series in the next couple of months with more hands-on instruction.
I’ve also been toying with the idea of writing a book, baby food or otherwise. I wonder if the title ‘Confessions of a Failed Food Entrepreneur’ is available?? In the meantime, there will be blog posts dedicated to lessons I’ve learned, and hopefully it will help both inspire and provide a realistic picture for other food entrepreneurs out there.
Read more about Little City’s direction…
Baby Food Orders for Customers
The next baby food pickup/delivery date will be Saturday, March 10 as you know. The order form will be coming out in the next few days. I don’t want to leave all my best customers high-and-dry, so there will be opportunities to continue ordering in April and May, but they will be limited to existing customers only. So those of you who have just started ordering through Little City Kitchen Co., you should have plenty of opportunity to stock up on food if needed.
So there you have it. Big news. I don’t want to get too mushy here, but I do want to take a moment to thanks all my friends, family & customers for their amazing support over the last two years. I’ve received so many incredible calls, texts, emails, etc… with kind words throughout this process. It really has meant so much – thank you thank you!!
Wait, this is starting to sound like a goodbye. I assure you, it’s not. You don’t think you can get rid of me that easily, do you?
Jill Epner is the owner of Little City Kitchen Co. is a Bay Area company making handcrafted, organic, frozen baby food with an International twist. Follow us on Facebook, or sign up to receive our newsletter with information on starting solids & making your own baby food.