Indianapolis-based Café Baby is taking its home-delivered baby food line outside of central Indiana. The three-year-old company says it will begin statewide deliveries.
“We have been driving orders from door to door in central Indiana for the last three years, now we are finally shipping, and we’re going to start shipping statewide in two weeks,” said Jeannie Marrugo, co-founder of Café Baby.
Marrugo and her mother, Sherri Sego, started the company on a dream, aspiring for better baby food. The pair started out by making and delivering homemade baby food for people who wanted a fresher alternative to store-bought options.
“Now just being able to provide the service to more parents in Indiana. It’s like a dream come true. So yeah, we couldn’t be more excited," said Marrugo.
Success has pushed the company to find new kitchen space and a bigger distribution platform.
Marrugo says they’ve twice outgrown the share-spaced kitchen they were using. Now, they’re hoping to close the deal on a more permanent kitchen in the Castleton area to handle the growth in production.
“And then once we get our new kitchen phase will really start honing in on building our production team to have our kitchen open all day, every day.”
Marrugo says they conducted a lot of research on how to ship their frozen products, such as finding the right insulated liner and what would keep the food frozen during shipping. Café Baby foods will be shipped via UPS.
The company already ships a limited number of its products nationwide, namely lactation cookies for nursing mothers. Could that mean nationwide delivery of their meals? Marrugo says the company will take “baby steps” on the idea of expansion.
“So, we will probably go nationwide with our baby food and the next couple of years. We’re just gearing up Indiana for now to keep it manageable. We’re going to get that under control and really get going with that. And then and the next year or so, we’ll start shipping to the surrounding states. And then probably the year after that we’ll go nationwide,” Marrugo said.
In addition to expanding distribution, the company could see big changes on its retail side of the business. Marrugo says the company will be announcing the Baby Café food line will be on the shelves of a “really big grocery store,” but she could not say which one at this point. “I don’t want to jinx it. But yeah, we will hopefully be on the shelf at a pretty big retailer here within the next few months.”
Marrugo was working as an architect and her mother a court reporter when the idea of preparing and selling baby food entered their lives. The concepts of marketing and package were foreign to Marrugo. But her artful training helped with branding the product.
“The branding comes kind of easy to me because I have a design background. I appreciate the aesthetic quality of things.”
Marrugo says getting plugged into local startup organizations provided a lot of support, resources and insight when breaking into the business, but will she return to her previous occupation?
“I miss it sometimes. But I really enjoy the flexibility of being able to be at home with my girls and work from home. So, I might do it on a contract basis, but I hope to not ever be in an office full time again.”
Jeannie Marrugo explains how the company got here in three short years and what’s ahead for the baby food maker.