Healthy food a natural for happy babies
ALUMNI | It’s not every day in a city of more than 8 million that a phone call made on a whim gets an audience, let alone a warm reception. So when Amy (Nathanson) Marlow, CHS ’97, tracked down a co-founder of a brand-new organic baby food company and was hired as its dietitian after boldly pitching her services, she struck gold twice.
“After my husband pointed out an article he’d read in the Wall Street Journal featuring the two owners of Happy Baby, I Googled their names and found a cell phone number,” Marlow says, recalling her well-placed chutzpah. “I dialed it and just said, ‘I’m really fascinated by your business idea. I have a baby myself and think this is something that’s really needed, and I’m also a dietitian and think that’s a role that could be important for your company.’”
As it turned out, she says, Happy Baby was at that very moment looking for a nutritional consultant for its advisory board.
The company—then hardly more than a twinkle in the eyes of its founders—immediately saw a fit, brought Marlow on board for a six-month position that drew on her dietetic and marketing know-how and then kept her on as the company’s chief nutrition adviser. That was in April 2006, before products even hit the shelves of selected Whole Foods markets in the New York metropolitan area.
Now, just three years later, the expanding product line, which includes frozen nuggets and probiotic cereal, is sold nationally in chain supermarkets, as well as at Target, Amazon.com and Babies R Us.
During the crucial start-up period, Marlow took on many challenges, including writing much of the content for the Happy Baby Web site. As the company found success, her duties expanded. She helped with some packaging and product development and soon found her niche as the marketing and communications point person.
“Besides helping with marketing, a big part of my job now is education, and it’s this—the teaching component—along with Happy Baby’s unique product line, that I especially like,” she says.
“The company embraces the idea that the best thing you can feed your baby is homemade food, because you get to pick the ingredients and turn out a product that tastes like real food. One of the things I do on a regular basis is demonstrations on how to make baby food.”
Offered at community centers and supermarkets throughout the New York City area, the make-your-own-baby-food workshops, Marlow says, have garnered a loyal client base and helped set the company apart.
“This is a unique product. It’s not just another jarred organic baby food,” she says. “While we are a business that wants to make money, we also want to enhance the lives of our customers. The product tries to be an alternative to homemade for moms who can’t always make homemade baby food.”