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Of all of the businesses we’ve talked to so far, none has more elements of the perfect American start up story than Fayetteville-based organic baby food company, Oh Baby Foods.
The company, founded by local mom Fran Free, was established because a passionate person didn’t find what she wanted in the current marketplace.
She sold her house, simplified her life, and moved in with friends to finance the company. She worked three jobs to keep her dream alive and the business afloat. She made a few mistakes.
She didn’t take no for an answer.
And now, after a several years of struggle, and a lot of hard work as a one-woman show, the company has grown to include distribution at hundreds of stores in 45 states across the country.
And this might just be the beginning.
Oh Baby Foods started in 2009 when Free was in grad school.
Growing up on a family farm in south Arkansas, Free had agriculture in her blood. She also studied environmental science and agricultural economics at the University of Arkansas, and was considering opening a bed and breakfast/brewery/salsa company on her grandparent’s historic plantation when something happened that completely changed her career trajectory. She became pregnant.
As a curious mom-to-be, Free began exploring all aspects of raising a child, which, with her background in food and agriculture, naturally led her to an interest in infant nutrition.
“I started looking at baby food, thinking ‘What is out there for my unborn child?'” she said.
Free said she knew she wanted organic food for her baby, she wanted it to be grown in the United States, and she wanted it to taste good. For the most part, however, she didn’t find what she was looking for. …
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