Sarah Hardy is first and foremost a mom to two, 6 year old Beatrix and 4 year old Clinton. She’s also the co-founder and COO of Bobbie, an organic direct to consumer infant formula company. She leads supply chain and operations after 15 years of scaling ops, strategic planning, building teams, and managing third party vendors at companies like Airbnb. Sarah spent seven formative years scaling the company and disrupting an industry. She also disrupted the work culture- where she was the first mom to return from maternity leave and wrote the first parental leave policy when she realized there was none. This experience is critical to how she thinks about building a next generation company that at its core supports working parents.
CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP — What meaning do you give this term?
Conscious entrepreneurship is the idea that each decision whether internally for your own team culture or externally with the customer experience, environmental impact, or who you decide to take money from- it all matters. Each decision matters, however big or small it is.
MENTORS — We all need a little help along the journey. Who has been an invaluable mentor for you? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I knew taking on supply chain, I would need to surround myself with veterans. I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Ricky Silver, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Daily Harvest who reminded me that it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day reactive needs of ops, but only successful with a strong north star. Hardest part of a startup is solving for the now while taking steps for the future -and being able to move quickly Through conversations about goals of our business, Ricky’s guidance has helped shape what our operation looks like from the players on the team to how we’ve phased building out the sophistication of our operation over time More tactically, we moved from a centralized to a distributed fulfillment model once COVID hit to put more safeguards in place to deliver not only with speed, but with consistency through instability of the industry through the pandemic.
TO THRIVE — When you see yourself thriving: Do you see yourself opening up opportunities for others along the way to participate in your success, and how?
I’m always there for anyone who wants to get extra support or needs help with a blocker at work. Calls, slacks, late night texts are part of the norm of a remote team building a start up together. Access and quick replies can do wonders for keeping everyone connected.
CAUSE — What are the causes close to your heart, and you are supporting right now? Can you share a story how you got involved? How did it make you feel?
Moms have had a rough year. It’s been incredibly tough to be a working parent- so many have been forced out of their jobs because of lack of childcare or struggling to make ends meet because of COVID’s impact on their lives. Right now at Bobbie, we are focused on supporting those moms, specifically when it comes to feeding their babies. We are working with Baby2Baby to provide infant formula to their network of 45 different non-profits around the country to get formula to a baby who is milk insecure. We’re also supporting moms who have undergone a mastectomy with feeding their babies. We were shocked to learn that these new moms who have lost their breasts as a breast cancer survivor or previvor can not get any insurance coverage to help them purchase formula for their newborns. We’ve stepped in at Bobbie to not only share their stories but support a small group of mastectomy moms with a free year of formula.
THE FUTURE — How do you see the face of entrepreneurship in 5 years? How do companies /brands need to adapt to secure their place in the future?
It will be increasingly more female, more diverse, and likely younger. Right now only 12% of companies are female founded according to All Raise, and that is up from 9% in just a few years, but it’s still work to be done. Each year as we chip away at creating more female founders and more female venture capitalists, we will hit a tipping point where it’s not such a rarity.
ADVICE — What kind of advice would you like to give to an aspiring entrepreneur who feels limited due to their background or lack of resources?
I hate to think if I ever let imposter syndrome actually prevent me from taking a job or taking a risk. I knew nothing about the travel industry when I joined Airbnb and I have never created an infant formula before co-founding Bobbie. That’s not a pre-requisite to creating something you are passionate about. You have to focus on what you know, lean into your strengths and skill set and don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it from a network of experts. You’ll be surprised at how much they are willing to help you out.
DRIVE — Do you sometimes feel bad for “wanting more out of life”, and if so, why? What is your personal motivation that leads you through the hardships of entrepreneurship?
While sometimes there are difficult trade-offs in the day to day, never once have I felt bad for wanting more. Sure, some mornings dropping the kids off at school early are hard — but my work is what gets me out of bed. Giving purpose and meaning not only to how I am impacting the world around me, but also how it positively impacts my family life. Mine are just getting old enough that they understand that I love them and my time with them — but when I am at work, I’m helping babies and their families — and that’s important too.
CHALLENGES — Entrepreneurship is very challenging. We each have our own coping mechanism. Mine is humor. What is yours? Can you share a story?
My coping mechanism, especially during COVID, has been fresh air. Sometimes when work is overwhelming and the kids are just flat out misbehaving I need to step outside and take a quick walk around the block. Both physical and mental space away from the place we now live, work, and educate our kids is very much needed. That and some good Bravo shows with a glass of wine.
Demee Koch about the MEDIUM interview series on CONSCIOUS ENTREPRENEURSHIP:
Conscious entrepreneurship for me is about building a sustainable business that values and respects the resources used and makes an effort of giving back to society.
I believe we need entrepreneurs to really get involved in the causes close to their heart.
This is why I reach out to entrepreneurs that aim for more than generating profit. With this interview, I aim to share entrepreneurial purpose-led passion to inspire others.
Looking forward to learn from you. Reach out to me via LinkedIn.