Celebrating 2 Years

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2 Years.  24 Months.  730 Days.  17532 Hours.  1051898 Minutes.

Add it up however you want.  That’s how long this website has been active & how much time we have dedicated to developing The Produce Mom into the brand and opportunity that it is today.  Thank you for allowing us to celebrate this milestone.  Happy 2nd Birthday to The Produce Mom!

It’s emotional for me to think about everything that has happened in the past 2 years.  It really hit me last night when I was getting ready for bed.  I simply cannot believe what we have done since January 2012.  People ask me the same questions all the time:

  1. What is The Produce Mom?
  2. How did it start?
  3. Is it part of Indianapolis Fruit Company?

The best way to answer these questions is to tell you a story… it’s a bit lengthy, but you only turn 2 one time in your life.  And no one tells this story better than me.  So here goes:

2 years ago at Indianapolis Fruit Company, an employee of 6 years was learning the ropes in her new position as Marketing Manager.  She surprised the bosses when she asked to be considered for the management position… you see, she had no marketing experience or education & even though she was a well-respected sales account manager, the accounts she managed included many of the company’s smallest volume accounts.  As a matter of fact, she sold less dollars per year of produce than any other sales representative at the company.  So of course she was questioned about her qualifications for the Marketing Management position.

“You have no marketing background.” – Yes, but I’m a great sales rep – all my accounts are happy & enjoy doing business with our company because of their relationship with me.  To sell is to market.  You cannot do one without the other.

“You have no understanding of marketing strategy & campaigns.” – I have 2 children & I live on a budget.  I shop at the grocery store every week for my family.  I am our industry’s target consumer.  I know what kind of advertisements get me to spend my money when I’m shopping for food.

“You have 2 kids; you don’t need more responsibility at work.” – I’m ready to do more.  I’m capable.  If I can be a mom, I can do this.

And sure enough, the girl got a chance.  Marketing Manager, Lori Taylor.  The chick who sat in a cubicle and served as a sales rep for the most random mix of low-volume accounts was now a leader of the Marketing Department at Indianapolis Fruit Company.

Oh no.  I got the job.  I know nothing about Marketing.  I’m not qualified for this.  What am I going to do? – You are going to figure out a way to bring your perspective as a target consumer & a seasoned sales rep into a single tool that will help this company sell more fruits & vegetables.

The girl quickly identified that the current marketing program was not her cup of tea.  She missed talking to her retail customers and actively promoting fruits and veggies to the produce managers.  She hated laminating things and had absolutely no design skills to put together sales sheets and custom marketing materials.

What kind of marketing do I pay attention to in my real life?  I enjoy getting information about new products & special offers – How do I do this?  The girl followed her favorite brands on Social Media.  She trusts friends for recommendations.  She gravitates towards products that are endorsed by her favorite celebrities.  She doesn’t subscribe to newspapers or magazines; she reads blogs & online reviews.

So the girl started to research produce industry blogs & followed the social media pages for her favorite fruit & veggie brands.  She felt like something was missing… that something was real life.  It was good information, but it all sounded too much like a Wikipedia page or a dietician’s textbook.

Then it hit her: I can be that real life voice for the produce industry.  This is a current void in our marketplace.  I can fill a void.

She thought long & hard about what to name this.  She looked online to see how other bloggers identify themselves.  Nothing hokey, or hard to spell.  Nothing that includes her name in the title.  This is about a global industry & a marketing tool for a 3rd generation distributor.  This is not an online diary or mommy blog.  This needs to be something that people want to read and makes them want to consume more of our product.  It needs to be a tool that is respected enough to feature the top names from the produce department.  A name that means something to the industry professionals AND the industry consumers.

Then it hit her:  The Produce Mom.

The domain was available!  There’s no one on Facebook with this name!  The Twitter handle is available too!   The only thing left to do was sell it to the bosses… 🙂

To the girl’s surprise, they were really intrigued with her idea.  The look on their faces during that rainy winter day as the girl talked about her research and the potential name of this new blog concept brought sunshine into Indy Fruit’s corner office.  The President of the company asked the girl to write a pilot blog for the executives to review.  She went to her cubicle, typed some words from her heart & returned to the office within 15 minutes, pilot blog in hand.  The bosses read it & the girl watched.  They all smiled.  Danny laughed.  Mike read it twice.  John was the first to speak “I think it’s great.” And so this was born.  On a free WordPress template & the pilot blog was published, “Who Is The Produce Mom?”  The Produce Mom was born!!!!!!

And that girl who brought sunshine on a rainy day to the Indy Fruit corner office was me, the author of The Produce Mom.

We published more blogs & started canvasing with our vendors to see if we could do some social media promotions together.  Our very 1st promo was with Jazz Apple & it was a Facebook photo contest.  The Produce Mom was just over 3 months old – pretty much everyone following the brand on social media was a personal friend or relative.  At least 98% of the social media followers lived in Indianapolis.  In the 2 week time frame of the social media contest, which encouraged consumers to post photos of their family enjoying Jazz Apples on The Produce Mom’s Facebook page, Jazz Apple experienced a 50% increase in sales across the nation as compared to previous year, over a 75% increase in the Midwest & an IMPRESSIVE 227% INCREASE IN THE STATE OF INDIANA.  Call it what you want, but my friends at Jazz Apple join me in crediting that statistic to our campaign.  It’s the Power of The Produce Mom.  Consumers want to get their information from people they trust & in a way that applies to their life.  Shoppers in the produce department are thirsty for recommendations, endorsements and new items in their shopping cart.

…And that’s the best way I can answer your questions.  The Produce Mom started as an idea to inspire consumers & increase sales.  The brand serves as a bridge between produce industry consumers & suppliers.  It’s a voice for the industry & a resource for the consumer.  IF&P Foods is a family of companies: Indianapolis Fruit Company, Piazza Produce, Garden Cut & The Produce Mom.  There are a ton of people involved with the day to day operations & success of The Produce Mom.  We have the most amazing team dedicated to developing & executing our strategy.  As the author of this blog, I am blessed with support from my workplace.  I don’t think I would have this support at any other company – this is a family-owned business & I’m not related to anyone!  Indy Fruit is a special place.  And the proud home of The Produce Mom.

Happy 2nd Birthday to The Produce Mom.  Thank you all for the 2 most amazing years of my professional life.  I’ve learned so much.  We have big goals & we have an amazing group of partners who will continue to be part of the milestones & achievements.  There are no adequate words to express my gratitude for the industry marketers, suppliers, retailers & organizations who have embraced The Produce Mom.  Thank you for believing in me.  Everyone at Indy Fruit, Piazza Produce, Garden Cut & The Produce Mom appreciates your support for this young & exciting BRAND.

“There is a Produce Mom in ALL of Us!”
xoxo Produce Mom


About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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