Peekaboo started by accident. I had decided to make baby food for a living. Pureeing carrots with aplomb and my freezer bulging with frozen cubes of food, I felt ominpotent. So I began to research the sector and quickly realised that making food for children other than your own turns into a legislative minefield.
But while doing my research I stumbled upon a company called Babylicious. Here was a company making frozen cubes of wholesome baby food that looked exactly like the type of thing I had in my head for my business. I was gobsmacked that despite having two children, I’d not heard of this brand. So I wrote to the founder – Sally Preston – and said I thought she could do more to promote her product.
She invited me in to talk to her and despite having a 5 month old baby in tow, I was hired. Peekaboo Communications was born.
I spent about two years working for Sally and her team and what amazed me most, was how much sticking power she had. And it made me realise how glad I was that I had decided against trying to sell frozen baby food. Because it has not been an easy ride for Sally. Her products are fantastic. They are to this day, the only baby food that I have eaten willingly (other than the stuff I made at home). They taste great, contain no added salt, sugar or anything artificial. They even come in little cubes, just like mums make at home. So what’s the problem?
Freezer space in supermarkets has been shrinking over the last few years, while the chilled foods sector has sky-rocketed. People see chilled foods and think they are fresher or better than frozen. But think about it: if you fast freeze food the minute it’s cooked, it locks in all the goodness. If it’s chilled, it often needs to be pasteurised and then it slowly and surely deteriorates. Jars or other ambient food products need to be cooked at extremely high temperatures to kill any bacteria, again reducing the nutritional value.
So here you have a product that mums and kids love, that is packed full of goodness and should sell itself. But supermarkets don’t have enough freezer space for it. And even if they do, as a mum, you’re not used to shopping for your baby food in a freezer so you don’t even know to look for it there, particularly as half the time the freezers are labelled Chinese Ready Meals or similar. So you don’t buy it. So the supermarket decides not to stock it. And Sally is back to square one.
This has been a tough ride. Sally has often described herself as a weeble, a children’s toy with the slogan: Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down. And that’s exactly what Sally is. No matter what gets thrown at her, she just keeps bouncing back up.
She has now come up with the solution. Slimline freezers that fit into the baby aisle so that mums can pick up frozen baby food while they’re picking up nappies and snacks. Sally has had to basically invent a new freezer! That’s quite something for a mum who simply wanted to help other mums feed their kids healthy food.
As of April the new freezers will be going into six ASDA stores as part of a trial. Assuming we can get enough mums to go into the stores and try out the range, they’ll be rolled out nationwide. And if that happens, I do believe Sally will at last be able to have a holiday.
We’ll be helping Sally spread the word to mums in these six areas:
Burgh heath (SW London)
Lower Earley (Reading)
Roehampton (SW London)
Eastleigh (South Coast)
If you know any mums in these areas and are able to help spread the word, please do. This is one mumpreneur that deserves success!