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MY JAKARTA : YULLY HERLINA, HOMEMADE BABY FOOD BUSINESS OWNER

It can be hard to balance a hectic Jakarta lifestyle with feeding a family, especially a family with young children. Delivery staples like McDonald's and KFC can provide a quick meal for time-crunched adults, but what about babies?

Yully Herlina asked herself the same question when she launched BabyBar with two friends. The company delivers fresh, homemade baby food to customers' doors. The recipes are based on the tastes of their own children, and the entrepreneurs are able to help working moms across Jakarta provide fresh food for their babies.

BabyBar delivers homemade baby food straight to customers' doors. What inspired you to start this business?

Well,I came up with the idea of starting my own business last year, but that was about as far as I got. It wasn't until I met up with my ex-roommate, Yen Yen, and her friend Oline that everything started to come together.

We're all mothers of young children and we like to chat about our kids. Well, one day Oline, who is a working mom, told us how hard it was to prepare food for her son's meal when she had to work late. She suddenly asked Yen Yen and I if we would be interested in starting a baby food business. It didn't take long for us to realize how good of an idea it was.

How much money did you need to start the business?

At the start we only used what we had. We didn't need that much money because we're selling the same food we cook for our kids. We just spread word about our business through social media and really only spent money on nice packaging for the baby food.

Where did you come up with the recipes?

All of our products follow the same recipes we use to feed our own children. For example, Yen Yen's son loves apples. So we created a line of baby food with apple as the main ingredient everything from caramelized apples to apple cookies. The fact that we give this food to our own children is a testament to it's quality and taste. We also asked a nutritionist to look over the recipes to ensure they are healthy. We are all really concerned about making healthy baby food, so we serve our food in stages. For example, our food for newborns doesn't use sugar, salt, preservatives or food coloring.

Is baby food a good substitute for breast-feeding?

No. We never claim that baby food can substitute for breast-feeding. In fact, we support breast-feeding.

Babies should be breast-fed for the first six months of their life. However, once the baby reaches six months, it's good to introduce baby food to meet their nutritional needs. Baby food supplement breast milk.

This isn't the first business to offer home delivery of baby food? What makes Baby Bar different?

That is so true, we're not the first, but we dare to be different. Our competitors are mostly selling frozen food. That made us want to sell only fresh food. All our food is made fresh every morning and is delivered to customers on the same day.

So, what are your days like?

I'm in charge of all the marketing, which we do though Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger. The way we advertise is by broadcasting our upcoming menu two weeks in advance.

Our customers have to call in their orders at least one day before delivery. We then cook the food based on our orders. Yen Yen is the one who cooks everything. She wakes up around six in the morning to cook and by 8:30 the courier will deliver the food. I think Yen Yen works harder than me.

The BabyBar fan page has more than 27,000 members. What is the secret to building an online community?

OK, first things first, you need to ensure that you have a nice logo for your business. Second, you've got to your status frequently. And third, you need to upload some useful information to make your site interesting. Also, the photos you put on the site play an important role. We always upload our menu frequently, to let moms see what they are going to buy.

But you have to remember that our success didn't happen overnight. We started this business through word of mouth. I had to ask nearly all of my friends to visit the page. Later, they placed some orders and recommend the page to other friends. This was how we started to advertise it. We also participated in the bazaars organized by Assosiasi Ibu Menyusui Indonesia [Indonesian Breast-Feeding Mothers Association].

And now do you see yourself as a real businesswoman?

I see my self as a mother. We didn't really start this business to make a lot of money. Instead, we're doing it to share good baby food with others parents. There are a lot of moms in Jakarta who work full time. We are concerned about how they can ensure that their babies will have the right baby food. Our mission is to help them to feed their babies with nutritional food.

What has been your happiest moment while running this business?

That would be when I saw a look on my daughter's face that said, ‘Mom, I love your cooking.' I can tell you that a baby will never fake their feelings.

And what was the saddest moment?

When my daughter begged me to play with her, but I couldn't because I had to manage the business. I used to dedicate five to six hours each day for her and now I can only dedicate one to two hours a day.

{ Yully Herlina was talking to Edison Lestari }
Article taken from My Jakarta Globe
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