Issaquah Mom creates fix for messy foods — Little Eaters
October 8, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
There is currently an epidemic of squeezable foods for kids. Just ask Issaquah mom Katrina Faber, whose car, clothes and furniture have the stains to prove it.
At one point, the single mom was simultaneously responsible for the care of five children younger than 5, after moving to Issaquah a year ago and taking a job as a nanny.
In an effort to balance the needs of the kids, two of which were her own, Faber often took the children to parks and playgrounds, but come feeding time, things were never easy.
“When you’re out traveling and kids need a snack, I had two infants, I couldn’t sit and spoon feed them while making sure that the 2-year-old wasn’t getting lost,” she said.
The solution was squeezable baby food pouches, so the infants could eat, while Faber managed the others. It wasn’t much of an answer, though, when she noticed that most of the food ended up on the child, rather than in his or her mouth.
That’s why Faber decided to find her own fix to a sticky situation with the creation of Little Eaters — On the Go Feeders. The squeeze-proof bottles include vacuum technology to push the food to the surface as the infants eat.
The food is held in biodegradable liners within the bottle, allowing for a free-flow design, which eliminates choking hazards and eradicates the squeeze-induced messes.
“There’s got to be a way to let them hold it and eat and not make a mess, and I tried to find something and I couldn’t find anything, so I made something,” she said.
It hasn’t been easy for Faber, who moved to Talus about a year ago, where she and her two daughters, Scarlett and Evelyn live in income-based housing.
“As you can imagine, as a single mom and my income is only so high, I really felt like, there are people in my financial state that have good ideas,” she said. “There’s no reason why I can’t make this work.”
Fueled by a determination to make a better life for herself and her daughters, Faber explored every avenue to make Little Eaters a reality, leaving no stone unturned. She spent sleepless nights crafting a work plan and searching for available business resources.
She reached out to the University of Washington, where she found a team of engineering students looking to beef up their portfolios to help her with the product’s design.
The school’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic, which gives low-income individuals and businesses legal assistance, helped Faber understand the patents, trademarks and legalese that comes with starting a business.
Faber attended an investment forum Sept. 18, where she made valuable connections that should help her as she continues to market her product.
She was recently accepted into the Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help, which provides hands-on education, in-depth support and access to capital needed to launch and grow successful small enterprises for low-income entrepreneurs.
“My mental state is that I can sacrifice a few hours of sleep because we’re going to change our path and where we are,” Faber said. “You either let your situations define you or you decide where you’re going.”
Faber’s youngest daughter uses the product daily, and it has certainly made life easier for the busy mom. There’s no reason why it can’t help others, too, Faber said.
“There are soccer games to go to or there’s a doctor’s appointment. Real life happens,” she said. “So, this bottle is the perfect solution for that because then you’re not trying to spoon feed them.”
The next step for Little Eaters – On the Go Feeders is a Kickstarter campaign to help get the company off the ground, Faber said. She hopes to raise $48,000 that will cover the product’s manufacturing.
Little Eaters has become a full-time commitment, though Faber works nights and weekends at the Sahalee Country Club to support her daughters.
“It’s working toward a freedom and a dream to not live in income-based housing and not live within restrictions, and buy clothes new instead of at Goodwill,” Faber said. “There’s a lot of drive to be normal and be able to give back to the community, instead of take from the community.”
Faber’s conclusion may have a fairy-tale ending, she said, since very recently, she has received extensive support from her daughters’ father Jason. He watches the girls, while she attends business classes and investment events.
The reconciliation has been quite a boost, Faber said.
“I’m going to get there. It’s going to get there,” Faber said of Little Eaters’ success. “I would hope that it would be sooner than later, but it’ll get there.”
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