Mumpreneur: Seun Sangoleye chats with NMO on Managing Baby Grubz and Family.
‘I take life one day at a time and I constantly remind myself of my priorities’ – Seun Sangoleye
Seun Sangoleye, Mom-In-Chief at Baby Grubz Nigeria (CEO) could be described as someone who embodies the right skillets required to be a successful entrepreneur in a niche market in Nigeria…organic baby food production. Baby Grubz, which was launched in 2013 has since grown to include Naija Baby Food TV, where parents can find variety of yummy and nutritionally balanced recipes for their babies and preschoolers. The Mandela Washington Fellow award recipient shares her origins as an entrepreneur and how she manages her home.
NMO: Please tell us about yourself.
Seun: I am Seun Sangoleye, the Mom-In-Chief at Baby Grubz Nigeria. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Lagos State University where I studied Programming for Infant and Young Child Feeding at Cornell NutritionWorks. I am married with two adorable children.
NMO: What were you doing prior to starting “Baby Grubz”?
Seun: I worked as the Business Process Manager at an IT firm.
NMO: How did you come up with your business idea?
Seun: Baby Grubz Started when I had my son and I was clueless about what to feed him. Even more, I got conflicting advice from all the mothers around me and this made me seek out reliable info and then I discovered that there was also a dearth of local content on infant feeding.
As a natural foodie, I was even more irked when I couldn’t buy or order local or natural meals for my son. All these led me into starting the business.
NMO: Tell us more about Baby Grubz.
Seun: Baby Grubz was founded in 2013 with a focus to increase access to nutritionally sound, natural and affordable infant meals that help to reduce the high rates of malnutrition in Nigeria. As a social enterprise, we sell our products through an exclusive distribution channel which currently empowers over 50 mothers spanning 22 states in Nigeria. We directly employ not less than 10 women.
This has helped to improve the nutritional status of over 30,000 Nigerian children. We also educate over 100,000 Nigerian Mothers on cost-effective nutrition, feeding best practices and on how best to combine foods for maximum nutrient absorption through her online platform, Naija Baby Food TV.
NMO: What interests do you have apart from family and work?
Seun: I advocate for children’s rights by speaking against abusive cultural practices of force-feeding. I am also 100% for Jesus!
NMO: How has Baby Grubz been recognised since its conception?
Seun: We have won two international awards, 2016 Mandela Washington Fellow and 2016 Finalist of Global Inclusion Awards, and one local award, African foods for African babies!
NMO: How do you go about marketing your business/brand?
Seun: Mostly through word of mouth, testimonials and social media.
NMO: What were your goals when you started?
Seun: On the first day, I resumed work in Baby Grubz, I wrote my 3-year goals and handed them over to God. I am happy we surpassed them all.
NMO: What were the challenges you faced when you started?
Seun: Getting Nigerian mothers to buy locally made baby food from a stranger seemed impossible. Even at business school, facilitators continued to emphasize that my business idea would not survive in Nigeria. I began studying, researching and educating the public that babies could enjoy meals from our rich organic grains, fruits and vegetable. I gained support when inspiring success stories from mothers who tried our products, advice and recipe books came in torrents from all over the country
NMO: Do you still face any challenges? Competition?
Seun: We have several challenges. Ranging from utility to infrastructure. Competition existed before we entered the market. We only seek 0.1% of the market share and this is our current goal.
NMO: Where do you see Baby Grubz in the long term?
Seun: In 10 years, I hope that Baby Grubz Nigeria will be a household name in the provision of nutritious organic baby food and snacks in Nigeria.
NMO: Tell us how you decide what food combos/recipes to market?
Seun: Our first consideration is the nutrient and energy requirement of the age of the child then we consider other factors.
NMO: How do you ensure your products have the right nutrients in the correct quantities?
Seun: We follow specific ratios in all our formulas and test in a food laboratory to ensure that our target nutrient is met.
NMO: Are your kids big fans of your recipes?
Seun: Yes, all our products are #babyapproved and #mummyapproved
NMO: When did you first become a mum?
Seun: I became a mum in 2012.
NMO: Please share your experience with us.
Seun: It was a smooth pregnancy but when I got to my 39th week doctors wanted to operate due to the size of my baby and my tiny frame. I changed hospitals last minute. Doctors at the new hospital expressed the same fears but they suggested trying me in labour before opting for a caesarean section. I was tried in labour and to God be the glory it was a successful vaginal birth. I appreciate mums who birth through CS because I have a morbid fear going under any surgical knife.
NMO: What was your most useful baby product?
Seun: Diapers! What would the world be without disposable diapers, hey!
NMO: How do you balance family commitments with your business commitments i.e. juggle motherhood and business?
Seun: A mentor once told me that there is no such thing as balance. One thing has got to give. I do not have a formula. I take life one day at a time and I constantly remind myself of my priorities. Everyday!
NMO: What is the best advice that you received that has helped you as a mum?
Seun: Go with your instincts.
NMO: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Seun: Self-motivation, negotiation and divine favour – not a skill though. Oh, and decision making skills.
NMO: What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?
Seun: I have numerous failures, unfortunately. I beat myself up badly and this helps me never to repeat the same mistakes,
NMO: How would you advise someone who would like to start their own business? If she is a mum?
Seun: List out your priorities and your skill set and find a way to ensure that they all align wonderfully well. This requires wisdom and only God can help you with that.
Thank you Seun Sangoleye!
For more information on Baby Grubz Nigeria and Naija baby Food TV, please visit:
Baby Grubz can also be reached on the following:
Call +234 703 118 9797
WhatsApp +234 908 502 4743