This week I’m really excited to feature Cat the founder of My Little Piccolo to my Parents in Business series, a brand that I truly adore. When both of my children were younger we were buying a lot of My Little Piccolo food pouches as they loved the vegetable and fruit flavours, and I knew at the same time that they were getting all the goodness that they needed.
Here, Cat shares her amazing business story with us, her reasons behind setting up the business, and how she manages it alongside family life.
Do have a read of Cat’s story below and head over to the My Little Piccolo shop to check out the range. It has grown extensively since I was using My Little Piccolo, with pasta and stir-in food pots added.
Tell me a little bit about you, your background, and your business?
I started Piccolo to help parents have the best nutrition and quality for their little ones. Helping parents fuel a lifetime of healthy eating with an innovative and diverse organic product range is at the heart of what I set out to offer Piccolo. My aim is to support parents nourish the family both with ready-made on-the-go products as well as a whole range for cooking at home. We have also started offering organic infant formula to support parents who decide to formula feed, or cannot for any reason breastfeed, and I know we are offering the absolute best option after breastmilk. With my own baby, I breastfeed and complimentary feed with our formula range.
What motivated you to set up your own business?
Piccolo and really myself as a mum think there is too much salt and sugar in children’s diets – hence why we have a multipack offer that is packed with veggies and isn’t too sweet but still delicious. I was and still am motivated every day by a profound sense of duty to educate and inform parents by giving a real variety to steer ‘just the right balance’ of flavours and nutrients. In the beginning, we didn’t have such an extensive range as we have now which allows us to offer the breadth and scope babies and toddler need for those first 100 days and beyond. It’s been an exciting journey from spring 2016 to where we are today in 2021, working with my co-founder, Kane O’Flaherty, who designs every product and our nutritionist, Alice Fotheringham. My favourite joy in Piccolo is seeing our vibrant flavours jump to life with Kane’s water-colour illustrations. He so beautifully showcases the provenance behind each illustration I feel. I was lucky to meet him at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey.
How do you balance or juggle your business around family commitments?
I have a routine and special hacks for making family and work fit and it starts with my mornings. I start the day by bringing baby Scarlett, who is almost 11 months, for a morning snuggle with my seven year old, Juliet, before she starts school. I have a lot of help from the grandparents who, during the pandemic, are living with us in an inter-generational set up.
Juliet is much better now that she has doting grandparents rather than over-stretched at times mum founder. She feels very much Piccolo is hers as she is the little pointing child logo on all our packaging but does get angry about having to share with a little sister and a business that never stops. I started working on the business plan when pregnant with her, so she’s grown up with the company. There are times I just want to do a late night focusing on Piccolo only as there is always something to do for a growing business, but there is a hard stop on dinner time with an Italian culture. It’s not a 9-6 kind of lifestyle. I also find the school homework supervision is a whole juggle in itself which is why I am so much happier to have the grandparents, and the children are much happier too!
What do you view as your biggest success since setting up your business?
The better we do, the more we can give to charitable work as giving back is at the core of Piccolo’s DNA as much as it is my background professionally with the United Nations and Slow Food. We are so proud to support charities that help local families. We support a baby essentials bank charity called Little Village where parents can receive clothes, toys and equipment for babies and children to ensure that children have their basic needs met, and we support a food bank supporting marginalised families with our product range.
What are your top tips for anyone who is thinking about setting up their own business?
There can be a real emotional heart tug of war between quality time with kids when the business also needs you. A strong gut feeling intuition if you have it naturally can really help guide you when starting your own business on when to push through, or when to give yourself and family attention. It’s important to listen to yourself on how to manage competing attention for family, not other family members. When I don’t follow my gut instinct, I tend to regret it! Keeping in mind, I have the grandparents often commenting on my work/family time commitment split daily.
Thank you so much Cat for sharing your amazing business story, and I wish you all the best for the future.
You can find Piccolo at all major retailers or directly on their shop and subscription service https://shop.mylittlepiccolo.com/
If you like what you’re reading and would love to be part of my Parents in Business series just drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or have a nose at some of the other businesses I have featured in the series: Armadillo Sun, Home with CMB, and Totter + Tumble.