Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Mistake mini-story: Petite Palate

This story is excerpted from a NY Times article, "How Six Companies Failed to Survive 2010." It's about the demise of Petite Palate, a specialty baby-food company.

AT ITS PEAK In the spring of 2007, Petite Palate’s organic frozen baby food was sold on Amazon Grocery and in about 100 stores in the Northeast and Midwest. The founders, Lisa Beels, a personal chef, and Christine Naylor, a former cookbook publicist, were presenting their business plan to potential investors, hoping to raise $2.5 million to $5 million.

WHAT WENT WRONG In the fall of 2008, potential investors, skittish about the economy, pulled out. The company was struggling to get its products into the freezer section of grocery stores — yet Ms. Beels and Ms. Naylor stuck to their concept because they believed frozen food was healthier for children than food in jars or pouches.

LOOKING BACK Ms. Beels said she and Ms. Naylor should have been more open to producing shelf-stable formulations. “It took us a long time to acknowledge that and by then we were in debt and couldn’t support the company,” Ms. Beels said. Her new personal chef business is called Haute Palate.

[Hat tip Tim Berry]

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