Focus on the Small Things with Katie Jesionowski, My Super Foods

Katie and her partner Sylvia created “My Super Foods” in 2012 to fill an un-met need for nutrient dense organic and non-GMO snack food for kids. They met in New York when they are both pregnant with twins and talked about their shared interest for foods. One goal that they have for the company is to end hunger for children in the entire US.

Tell us about you and your company, My Super Foods.

Sylvia and I met as twin’s moms in Manhattan. When the kids were about 1.5 years old, we were having a playdate, I was a stay-home mom at the time and we just have left our careers in Finance. We were both thinking of starting a business. As we were talking, we thought of dealing with the needs of our toddlers and talked about preparing healthier snacks. We had a great playdate and when we went home she immediately texted me and said, “Do you really want to set up a company with me?” I laughed at it and up until now I never really have said, “Yes.” Anyway, the next day, we met at a coffee shop and started talking about the big plans for our business. So, as first-timer entrepreneurs it took us 14 months to get started with our business.

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Do you think it is easier or harder to have a business partner?

I think it is a thousand times easier to work with a partner. I always thought that it would really be tougher on me to work alone and that it is fulfilling to work with others and at the same time share success with each other. The best thing about having a partner is that you have someone who will lift you up during hard times.

What has made your the most proud in this whole journey?

In the shelves, I saw our products being displayed for sale. It made me so excited and I felt like everyone in the store knew what it was. The best thing also that happened during that time is knowing that we started the business for our kids. Our babies were the reason why we started the company, that’s why I am so proud to have them participating in this business.

As entrepreneurs, there are many high highs and many low lows. Can you tell me the story of one of those low lows?

I probably would have to say that there was a time when I got so excited about something and then I realized that I had to back track and not pursue it. As an example of that is when we reached out to schools. Our schools have this very big emphasis on the health and nutrition of the students. Yet we were still starting out at that time. It was our 3rd or 4th year in the business, we were still new and it was really hard for us with the requirements to comply. Many school officials got in the way in delivering these healthy, organic foods to the kids. We really had a lot of struggles in dealing with the schools’ terms and regulations and we had already spent so much time and effort. It just wasn’t the right time for that endeavor. You can’t do everything and you have to think about that.

My Super Foods

Can you share about the start of your company and its concept?

We started researching information online, calling companies and other important people, and figuring out the things that we needed to do. I spent days and weeks in the library so that I can have a broader idea on how to trademark our logo and our brand. Yet the most helpful thing that we ever did was to talk to the people who done everything before us. I guarantee that it is best to seek help for someone who’s been there before. We took advice from people who have grown successfully in the business. Anyone can go online to search for the things that is best to do when starting a business. For me, talking to people who have actually been successful in the business is the most beneficial thing to do.

Is there something that you wish you knew when you started and that  you know now?

Our failures may be bad but there’s so much that we’ve learned from it. There are many things that wish we knew in the beginning but it all had a purpose and it is part of the journey.

Do you have a specific sales strategy?

I had a background in advertising and my partner had a sales background. Sylvia and I were so lucky to get started in our backyards. It was great to start in New York City. It was also convenient for us because a friend helped us get resources as fast as we could. The specific sales strategy that we had was to get in touch with the customers and the people involved in the business. Change is something that will happen whether you like it or not. When you’re planning to change something, you must let everyone know and that you must be open to these changes for it will really help in the betterment of the product.

Katie Jesionowski

I want the listeners to know that “Persistence is the key.” Don’t give up easily.

I’ve tried sending a lot of emails yet there will be no response for a month or two. Then, there will also be others who will try to contact you after a long time of not reaching you out and then say, “We’re ready!” Everything is about timing. It doesn’t hurt unless they tell you to stop contacting them. Just keep trying.

Do you have a company or a business owner that you look up to?

There are a lot of companies which have good track records. I like companies that have an awareness of what they are doing and know the consumer’s needs. Patagonia is a really good company because they are not only environment-friendly but make high-quality products. I like Costco as well because they promote from with-in. It’s important to take care of your employees the same as you take care of your customers.

Where do you see yourself and MySuperFoods 5 years from now?

I see an extended portfolio of our new products. All we need to have is the capital and the resources that we need to have in order to make the product. I also think that we should have a stronger fight against hunger in the United States. As of now, we already have 3 food banks as partners and we’re planning to add 2 more. We also would want to extend our social media access so that we can reach out to more customers. We love the idea of giving back even if we’re very small. Everything that we do can make a big difference. I also would want to widen our distribution and expansion in the whole country.

Do you believe in balance? If so, how do you stay balanced?

I definitely believe in the idea of balance. You can be a mom for your children and at the same time run your own business. It also means that you have to make some sacrifices in dealing with things. As entrepreneurs, we are expected to not sleep. I love the idea of hard work. We make our families our huge priority. I think that working for the things that you love is much better than doing the things that you are supposed to do.

What do you do to make sure that your day is successful?

Doing meditation is the best for me. I get up and walk on my treadmill or start the day doing yoga. Although I do it most of the time, I enjoy meditation the most. I do yoga twice a week, it really helps. Those are probably the two best things. I also enjoy going out with my girlfriends, having a date with my husband and going outside often.

What is your best piece of advice to someone who’s just starting out?

Just go for it. I know that it is a little bit cliché and it doesn’t mean that it will be easy to succeed and to have a home run guarantee if you just follow your dreams. It means that you won’t have that nagging feeling of “what if”. You will grow as time goes by. Sylvia had read a quote that says, “On the days that are really bad, where you get bad news or you have horrible things to figure out, just focus on the small things.” Some days, we just have to take small tasks so that we can keep moving forward. It may not be easily successful but the process brings out so much joy.

Can you share one thing about you that your customers do not know?

I would say that we are two moms. We are involved in all the aspects of the company and we are the ones who take the calls and answer back all the emails. Sylvia and I are not nutritionists, food scientists or anything that is related to that kind of work. We are just two moms who are concerned about our baby’s health and nutrition. We are just moms who are passionate about what we are doing.

Find Katie and My Superfoods

Katie Jesionowski is Co Founder of MySuperFoods, a healthy food and lifestyle brand for kids and families.  Katie and her Co-Founder, Silvia Gianni met in NYC when they were both pregnant with twins and bonded over that shared life experience and their love of food.  After leaving a career in advertising, Katie and Silvia (a former investment banker) created MySuperFoods to fill an unmet need for nutrient dense, organic and non GMO snacks for kids age 2-10.  MySuperSnack (soft) Granola Bites launched in My Super Foods founderSeptember 2012 and MySuperCookies launched in July 2014.  A line of gluten free snacks is scheduled to launch this year.  Products are distributed nationally.  At the core of the company is a social mission to help end childhood hunger in the USA.  The company is partnered with the Food Bank for NYC, the Community Food Bank of NJ and Food LifeLine in Seattle.  Katie is married and mom to 6 year old twin daughters and lives in NJ.

NEW podcast giveaway! (2 Bags Blissful Eats granola, 3 pack from Healthy Human Life, sample pack from My Super Foods, CLEAR by Annick Magac.) by filling out the form below AND/OR writing an iTunes review and sending a screen shot of it in an email to me!

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About Nicole

I’m on a mission to help as many women as possible step into their power so they can have a positive ripple effect on the world.

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