How many years have you been in business in NYC?
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
My initial inspiration was my own personal struggle to get a healthy dinner on the table every single day for my three kids that they would actually eat! So I posted on UES Mommas on Facebook to see if anyone wanted me to cook dinner for their kids and I had a hugely overwhelming response!
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
We are currently the only meal delivery service that caters specifically to the special dietary needs and interests of kids. Unlike traditional meal kits in which you have to prepare the food (who has time for that when the kids are melting down at 5 pm??) our food is not only prepared (no more than 10 minutes of heating up), it is also designed and crafted to be fun for kids to eat.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
As mentioned above, we are the first to mark the territory of delivery services JUST for kids. All moms who we speak to are just dying to get signed up!
How do you positively impact your clientele?
We have two clients - mom and child. Our first mission is to help children develop healthy eating habits from a very young age. The earlier kids are exposed to proper diets and nutrition, the more likely they are to be healthy eaters throughout their life. Our second mission is to make moms' life a lot simpler, and make it easier for her to feel great about the food she is feeding her children every day, so she can focus on the billion of other things she needs to do.
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is when I get an email from a happy customer telling me she can’t believe her child just ate “something green” or how we have made her time at home with her children so much less stressful. Those emails and phone calls are really what keep me going day after day.
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
My favorite spot in NYC has to be the running path on the West Side Highway. I have been a runner forever and when that was completed and made running from the Upper West Side (I went to Columbia undergrad) all the way down to Battery Park beautiful - I was thrilled. I think NYC is just awesome so to be able to run the length of it - especially during half marathons - and experience all the neighborhoods and communities, is just exhilarating.
How do you benefit mamas?
Panda Plates strives to allow moms to make the most of their precious time at home with their children. We are frazzled enough with our professions, carpools, after school activities and playdates, community obligations, and all the other billions of jobs moms have - Panda Plates helps in crossing one major daily, incessant, task off the list - kids’ dinner.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
For sure the most memorable feedback was the phone call I received one evening. Usually when the phone rings, I brace myself for someone who might have received the wrong meal or the delivery was a little late -- this mom just wanted to call to tell me that her child hasn’t eaten a healthy dinner in over a year and tonight, with zero stress and mama energy, she watched her daughter eat a well balanced meal. She couldn’t stop thanking me and she has been a happy customer for several months now.
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
I would definitely have to say I admire and respect Joy Bauer (celebrity nutritionist, nutritionist for The Today Show, co-founder of Nourish Snacks) in the healthy eating world. We go back a long way, and she has been a huge inspiration, role model, and support for me as I embark on this mompreneur venture to help children develop healthy eating habits at a young age. No matter how busy she is, she always makes time to call or grab a cup of coffee to offer her advice. A second would be Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx). Her husband was a partner in my husband’s earlier venture, and I have always respected the way she built her own company out of a need that she sensed and that no other company at the time served.
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
After I stopped working as a teacher and was itching to get back into the workplace, my husband David told me to “find the biggest pain pointin my life and solve it.” It took me a few years to see what was in front of me, but with three picky eaters to feed every single day, it finally hit me: getting real healthy food in front of my kids that they would actually eat! That was how I came up with the idea for Panda Plates, and it has ignited a passion to solve this pain point for all parents.
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
I recently started using a program for just this purpose called Pomodoro, which forces me to break down every one of my “To-Dos” into 30 minute blocks of time. I love it because each night I think about what really has to get done the next day, and I wake up all set to go! I even put time slots for things like “call each of my 3 sisters” or “exercise” so that at the end of the day I have managed to get everything done and still have some time for myself. And I always block off at least 2 “pomodoros” for undistracted family time. It’s really changed my life! Oh, that and subscribing to Panda Plates :)