Read Original Article: Here
Today we’d like to introduce you to Desiree Mingo.
Hi Desiree, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’m Desiree Mingo, entrepreneur and mom to an adorable 4-year-old. If I’m being honest I would have never guessed that I would be the founder of an infant and toddler lifestyle company, but motherhood led me to my purpose, and I’m forever grateful. From the moment I found out I was going to be a mommy; I knew I wanted to offer my child the best of everything the world had to offer. One thing that has been important to me from the beginning was making sure I provided Tre with a balanced diet. After learning the importance of gut health and the benefits of good gut health- both short and long term – it was a no-brainer.
I immediately started researching best practices when feeding children according to each stage of development. I began putting in place the eating habits that aligned with what I wanted for Tre: limited to no processed foods, organic snacks, and homemade baby food. This was bigger than food to me. It was about breaking generational curses, unlearning to relearn, but most of all, creating our own story.
Eating healthy is not common in the African American household. Fast food and processed snacks are commonplace due to limited resources, like money and time. Convenience has been king for so long. We want Tre’s Lunchbox to showcase the multitude of better-for-you options that are available without skimping on important nutrients. We want to be a resource for families to support making better choices for the health and well-being of our children.
In the beginning, I created Tre a social media page so his distant family could watch him grow. I shared what Tre ate at each meal and a little bit of his daily routine. This soon turned into much more than I ever imagined! From the overwhelming response, interest, and inquiries, I decided to delve deeper and offer more. Healthy nutritious meals for growing black boys and girls weren’t big in my community. I needed to step out and change the narrative.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
The entrepreneurship journey has been everything, but smooth. I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles and struggles and I’m convinced that we have just scratched the surface of what’s to come as we continue to grow.
If I had to name our biggest obstacles, they would be ACCESS…access to knowledge, resources, and capital. Accessing capital has been the most consistent struggle we have endured; we have bootstrapped our way to this point and continue to do so while we navigate how to fund our next stage of growth. While entrepreneurship is not new to me, the CPG industry is, and learning a completely different industry while simultaneously building a CPG brand has been tough.
Programs like Target Forward Founders have definitely helped us better understand this space while connecting us to a network of industry professionals who we can lean on has been a game-changer for us as a brand.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Tre’s Lunchbox is a kid’s lifestyle brand that specializes in infant and toddler tableware that makes life healthier for children, easier for parents, and safer for the environment. We exist to be a constant and consistent partner for the modern mom, helping moms make healthier decisions during the early stages of their children’s lives. When the pandemic hit, my life and priorities drastically were rearranged, I went from the office to a stay-at-home mom, and it was one of the most difficult challenges of my life, but I knew it was what was best for me and my son’s well-being. I would post my son enjoying his meals online as a way for distant relatives to watch him grow, but what I discovered is other mothers were seeking direction on how to provide nutritious meals while maintaining a busy lifestyle, especially parents who looked like myself.
Mealtime can be stressful, and we prioritize convenience and peace of mind for the weary working parent. Our products are made from 100% bamboo so it’s naturally antimicrobial and easy to clean with gentle soap and warm water. The silicone suction base easily adheres to non-porous surfaces with a slight push down and the removable ring allows it to grow with your child becoming an essential part of their meals & snack time.
We include more than a plate The second component, our bamboo spoon, is designed for easy grip in the tiniest of hands and with a food-grade silicone tip making it safe, and easy on gums which are perfect for teething.
We designed our plates to resemble black children and here’s why: representation and inclusivity are important and from a young age we receive signals of our intrinsic value. It’s of critical importance to Tre’s Lunchbox that all kids see themselves in positive manners.
If you walk down the feeding accessories aisle at your favorite retailer, you’re easily overwhelmed by an array of colorful plastic selections, but none of these products speak to a globally conscious lifestyle of modern parenthood. This is why we’ve selected bamboo. There is nothing like our products on the market, our products are naturally biodegradable, sustainable, durable, BPA and melamine free, non-toxic with a suction-based bottom, woman, mother, and Black-owned with an inclusive design making us an all-around win for the whole family.
We recognize that nutritionally dense meals are not common in the African American household. Fast food and processed snacks are commonplace due to limited resources, like money and time. Convenience has been king for so long, but we believe that everyone deserves access to fresh good food, food that is affordable, sustainable, nutritious, high-quality, and culturally connected. We understand that good health starts with access to good food, and we aim to help close the food access, education, and equity gap in under-resourced communities one plate at a time.
Tre’s Lunchbox affirms that food is not just a source of nourishment, but a love language that makes family mealtimes meaningful and transforms the dinner table from a mere piece of furniture to a safe space for learning, laughter, and comfort.
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
I would suggest defining what you want in a mentor and what that relationship looks like to you. Doing this will help you understand the role a mentor will play in your life and or business. Mentors are great when you know what areas you need mentoring in and how this relationship will contribute to your overall growth.
My advice for networking is “go for it” and don’t allow yourself to get in your own way of making that connection you so badly want and know will take you to the next level. Send that email, hit that connect button, and use your current network to help grow and connect with others. This is what has worked well for me as well as joining and engaging in organizations and online communities that include like-minded individuals.