When Whistler couple John and Leah Garrad-Cole first brought their newborn daughter Poppy home from the hospital, they set out to provide the best possible nutritional diet for her. Frustrated with a lack of tasty and healthy on-the-go baby food, Leah decided to start making her own. Fast forward three years and today the couple has since founded Love Child Organics baby food and have just distributed their first batch to 150 Walmart stores across Canada.
“When we began writing the business plan two years ago we knew we wanted it to be a leading national brand,” explained John. “We approached Walmart back in the spring of last year because we knew the chain was fairly progressive when it comes to baby food. They were excited about our product and just last December agreed to stock it in all 371 Canadian Walmart stores by March.”
To meet their business plan goals, John and Leah sourced out a production and packaging facility based in Toronto. While they would have liked to produce their baby food closer to home, they had a hard time finding the appropriate facility that was certified to make and package their 100 per cent organic and all natural product.
“We have sold out already,” exclaimed Leah. “Since we made and packaged our first large batch of baby food in December, we have already sold all of our six baby food products to stores like Walmart, Nestors and IGA. That’s over 400,000 of our packages.”
Leah claims the popularity of their baby food is due to its focus on organic nutrition and parents wanting to make better food choices for their babies and young children.
So far the Garrad-Cole’s have invented six different types of Love Child Organics products, made of a range of organic fruit and vegetable purees, designed for babies six months and older. They are available in BPA-free, squeezable packs and are fitted with a screw-top for convenience. The mixtures also include quinoa, a gluten free supergrain rich in amino acids and acerola fruit, which is packed with vitamin C.
“When I am making my own baby food at home I’m never content with just blending up some apples. I always add superfoods to whatever I’m making — a handful of kale or some quinoa. My three year old doesn’t know the difference and I’m thrilled she’s eating some serious greens,” said Leah.
The couple claim their goal is to widen their product line and have 14 to 16 different types of baby food on store shelves by the end of this year.
Before launching full time into Love Child Organics, Leah was a special needs teacher and John previously worked as a finance advisor in the UK. John attributes his experience in finance to his success behind creating a well thought out business plan.
Before launching Love Child Organics, John and Leah noticed there was a gap in Canadian made organic baby food products. Having previously lived in the UK, they knew organic baby food was in stores in England, but realized there was a severe lack in Canada.
After investing their own money into purchasing ingredients, packaging, marketing, facility rental and labour, the Garrard-Coles admit they are stretched financially right now, but are hoping their commitment pays off in the end. They have set up a small office based out of Function Junction and as their company expands they expect to hire or on a few new staff members by the end of this year.
“I always thought I was going to be a teacher forever,” said Leah Garrad-Cole. “I never expected life to take me down this path, but it just makes sense right now.”
Love Child Organics products are currently in Walmart stores and can be found in Nesters and IGA by early next week.