The Interview — Alex And Maggie, Co-founders Of Bitsy’s Brainfood
Alex and Maggie are the Co-founders of Bitsy’s Brainfood, an organic food company for kids that’s on a mission to demystify veggies and make eating smart fun. Founded, owned, and operated by moms and former educators, the brand’s growing assortment of children’s snacks and cereals, including nut-free and organic products, are made with the nutrients little ones need to grow their bodies and minds. Prior to launching Bitsy’s Brainfood, Alex and Maggie served respectively as VP of Strategy and CEO at GenerationOn, the largest youth service organization in the United States. Alex and Maggie are fueled daily not only by a healthy dose of Bitsy’s Brainfood’s yummy products, but also by the genuine joy and laughter that comes with being mothers, with five kids between them. Follow Bitsy’s Brainfood on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and their blog.
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Favorite Instagram account to follow:
Alex: Humans of New York. The images and stories of so many ordinary and extraordinary people are gut-wrenching and joyful and awe-inspiring and very often I’d really like to, but I can’t stop.
Maggie: I do NOT know how I came across this feed, @happihabbits, but it’s full of inspirational quotes and goal setting from an Australian psychologist, and I read it daily. Between a start-up, three kids and all the rest, I kind of appreciate (er-need) a little life coaching woven into my day. Also @heymamaco—I love being inspired by what women are doing in the world and supporting other women-owned brands.
Most recent culinary discovery and obsession:
Alex: This sounds incredibly self-serving, but we’ve just overhauled our cereals at Bitsy’s, and the new stuff is our family’s obsession. To wit: last week, my three-year-old flung a fit over having been denied Fruity Number Crunch, just before dinner. I was proud as punch.
Maggie: I’m obsessed with dipping our Cheddar Chia Smart Crackers in Justin’s peanut butter. It’s so good—like the organic, healthy version of those terrible-for-you, cheese and peanut butter crackers that come in vending machines. There’s no denying—it’s winning combo.
View Alex's Essentials
Nail color currently on your hands and feet:
Alex: There was a time when mani-pedis were a regular part of my routine. That time has passed. For the moment, I cut my fingernails short and if I’m really going for it, I may get out the buff. I do like polish on my toes and have a formula for the perfect, pale-person red: one coat of Essie’s Tiney-Winey, followed by one coat of A-List. Thank me later.
Maggie: I’m kind of tempted to tell a little fib here and say “Essie’s Mademoiselle,” but I have a 6-week old baby, so my nails are as naked as the day I was born. But I’m planning to get it together asap—promise. I keep it pretty sheer and simple with the classic light pinks/nudes on the toes.
What do you love most about your work:
Alex: So I’m pretty sure that of all the people who are asked and answer this question, at least 80% make some reference to loving the people with whom they work. So I’m not going to do that here... JUST KIDDING. More than anything else—more, even, than ready access to an endless supply of Cheddar Chia Smart Crackers—I love our team. Their ability to think creatively and strategically and to push through tremendous challenges is, I’d have to imagine, second to none.
Maggie: I love our entire team to pieces. And getting to work every day with your soul sister (Alex) is hands down one of the greatest gifts in life that could happen to anyone.
Advice for 18-year-old self:
Alex: Wear sunscreen. Just put it on, and consider making it zinc. Also—and I’ve read a gazillion iterations of quotes that bear this message, so the thought is hardly unique—but the idea of waiting until you’re “ready” to go after something tends to be a colossal waste of time. I think women may be especially prone to this sort of waiting—and here we go with the platitudes—but life really IS too short.
Maggie: I only wish my 18-year-old self had known Alex’s 18-year-old self, and that she had told me to put sunscreen on my face—especially my nose! I have this one spot where I had sun poisoning that really stresses me out. Also, enjoy all the time you have to do productive things like reading more great books, and make sure some of them are good business books!
Go-to workout song:
Alex: Having just demonstrated that I’m not afraid of a bandwagon and leaping on, "My Shot." I haven’t seen Hamilton, but I LOVE IT.
Maggie: Well, my workouts right now consist of dancing with my kids and we’re all really into Sarah Bareille’s "Brave." HOWEVER—Eminem’s "Lose Yourself" is the single greatest workout song of all time. It’s just a fact.
At 9 a.m. each day, you are:
Alex: Drinking my fourth cup of coffee, wondering whether it’d be prudent to go in for a fifth.
Maggie: Running late (ugh)… and I really despise being late. It makes me crazy! But it’s really hard not to be late right now in my life. I’m trying. But it’s just what it is. And I’m sorry about it.
Longest lasting friendship:
Alex: Our friendship may not be the longest, although we’ve been friends for almost 15 years, but the relationship between my co-founder Maggie and me is certainly among the lasting-est I’ve ever had. Over the course of our friendship, we’ve worked together virtually every day and have, quite literally, been side-by-side through the launch of our start-up company, start-up families, and pretty much everything else.
Maggie: I’m just going to have to ditto Alex here. She knows me better than most anyone in the world. And there’s nobody who I’d be more likely to jump through fire for (my children aside). The adventure of life would be nowhere near complete without her.
Your last takeout order:
Alex: Sushi. Always sushi. Except that most nights, I’m stuck in frozen burrito land.
Maggie: There’s a reason we are business partners on this because we often share a brain. So yes. Sushi. And from my favorite place in the West Village where I’ve been ordering sushi from since 2001. But alas I, too, live in frozen burrito land, but with a side of fresh avocado they’re not half bad.
Your whole day was just cancelled and your schedule is wide open, what do you do:
Alex: I’d probably start with a nap. And since there’s some magical thinking happening here, I’d spend time alone with a book, organize my closet, see my friends, spend time with my husband, and spend many quality hours playing on a beach with my kids.
Maggie: In my fantasy world, I think I’d just beam my whole family to Disney World because to end up there by surprise would thrill my kids—and that would be awesome. In reality, I’d go for a long walk. Whenever I have free time, I walk and think (if I’m alone), or if I’m with my kids, I walk/run and chase them on their scooters.