One Play Date and We Decided To Start A Company

I was hosting the play date.

 

My twins were 18 months old and Silvia's twins were 16 months old. With the right intervals of snacks and toys and music, we hoped to keep things civil for 30 minutes. Twins aren't easy, but twins who are newly mobile are a health hazard. These kids were how we met. Two years earlier, in a coffee shop in lower Manhattan. Silvia was on bed rest and, as we like to say, not very good at it. She sent out an S.O.S to the online community we were both a part of to see if any of us were around and available to meet at a local coffee shop. "Women who live downtown, are pregnant with twins and due within 'these' three months." Four of us showed up.

 

The building behind my 9-year-old daughters in the photo below is the exact spot where we met. In a very New York twist of events, our beloved coffee shop is now a CitiBank.

 

 

So, four of us showed up for coffee. We squeezed our bellies around a table and bonded over the overwhelming experience ahead. Twins. We were friends before the cups of tea were gone. One by one our babies were born and we pummeled each other for advice as to somehow shield ourselves from the total panic a new parent inevitably feels.

 

Silvia and I, in particular, inevitably gravitated toward a lot of food talk. Shocking, I know. "What are they eating? When did you start? How did you make it? What are you doing next?" We were both moms who made their own food but were excited about what they could try once we were past the baby food stage. We shared notes on everything.

 

I had left my career in advertising a month before my daughters were born. I was planning to be a stay-at-home mom like my own mom, who loved every second of stay-at-home-motherhood. I wanted to love every second too, but I found myself searching for something else. Using babysitting hours to write a book and seek out agents. Attending lectures at the 92nd Street Y. Silvia stayed in her role in investment banking until her kids were 14 months, when she realized that she was barely seeing them for a few, waking moments every day. She loved her work, but something had to change.

 

In between talk about baby food, Silvia asked to meet me and shared that she was planning to leave her job, with the intent to start something of her own. I remember when she said it, I felt like a confession you only make to a friend. We were real friends. Like the moment you stop talking about the weather and tell someone that you started a podcast or are taking tap dance lessons in your 40s. I invited her and the kids over to play.

Silvia with her daughter, Zoe and Katie's daughter, Rachel, 2011

Miraculously, our kids played happily for over an hour. Silvia shared further that she not only wanted to start a company, but was thinking about baby food. A few minutes of conversation later, we listed from memory all of the amazing companies that we had seen take over the baby aisle with organic, clean label squeeze pouches. That playing field felt too crowded and well run. "What about snacks for kids who are our kids' age? Post baby food. On-the-go, but still really healthy. I started buying some of what's out there but there's room for more. I don't want to make all of their food myself for ever." We talked about it nonstop for an hour and then she left.


That night, while making dinner, I got a text from Silvia, "Do you want to do this with me?" I turned to my husband and asked, "Do what?" I never actually said yes, but somehow ended up using an hour of babysitting time to meet the next day at a coffee shop. Before I knew it, we were doodling company names in a purple notebook that sits on my desk today.

 

Just like that, as simple as a coffee date, as honest as leaving a well worn path to try something new, MySuperFoods was born.


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