John's son and my older daughter went to the same daycare/ kindergarten. Our families all became friends as the kids progressed through early childhood learning.
In 2019, I was trying to figure out my next professional move, post Sears. John and his family had returned back to the Chicago area and we reconnected at our suburban Street Fest. Our mutual love for food and music and the need to find a safe snack for people, especially kids with food allergies got us thinking of collaborating.
I am an allergy mom, as both my kids have food allergies. John has family members with food allergies, so this is personal to us.
We spent the last few months of 2019 doing market research and also experimenting with non gluten whole grains like Rice, Sorghum, Quinoa, Oats and Amaranth.
The next step was registering our company and working on the name, logo etc. We landed on the name Symphony Foods because just like in a symphony, this partnership, was the coming together of two completely different individuals, backgrounds, work experiences, ethnicity, demographic, race, gender etc for a shared vision
Our joy was short lived as the world was hit by the Covid 19 pandemic. The next year was grappling with the uncertainty of the pandemic and how we could keep our fledgling company going remotely.
We spent the time to zero in on our Hero Ingredient, Sorghum, and the varieties of sorghum, our suppliers, the base product, flavors etc.
Then we tested our first product category, whole grain sorghum crackers in 4 fun flavors in 3 farmer's markets with the help of Robbie, from D'vine wine and gifts. This was testing out our "MVP" or minimum viable product. Is there a market for this product? Will people who don't have allergies be interested? Who is our core customer..etc. After our promising outing with our friend, we decided to test the waters on our own.
This year we registered at the Schaumburg and Arlington Heights farmers' markets. Through the market season we added rice chips, popped sorghum and puffed sorghum to our product portfolio and now our next step is launching our online store.
Stay tuned to our journey in the coming months.