Carine Rosalia is the Founder and CEO of Lunch Squares, which recently launched This & That Lunch Kit on Kickstarter. This & That Lunch Kit is a complete kit of recipes inspired by her French upbringing, shopping lists, and kid-friendly accessories to involve kids in the kitchen and make healthy lunches that kids actually want to eat. With This & That Lunch Kit, Carine is on a mission to conquer the lunch box by transforming the lunch box prep from a chore to a fun activity.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
The idea for This & That Lunch Kit came when I became a single mom trying to juggle parenting and a career. I experienced first hand how hard it was to find time and balance in my life, so I set out to build a product that would help families transform a chore into fun while helping kids develop healthy habits.
I was getting lots of interest in the lunches that I was making for my daughter—inspired by a family recipe that I used to make with mom, growing up in France. It was easy to make, and I added vegetables to make it more balanced.
When I realized the potential for these recipes to become a healthy alternative to the plain sandwiches, which are often the staple of the lunch box, I worked with a French nutritionist to develop a set of recipes inspired by seasonal vegetables.
It was important for me to involve my daughter in the lunch-making processes. Involving children in the kitchen is a great way for them to develop healthy habits, and they are more inclined to eat what they have made.
With that in mind I broke down the recipes by kid-friendly, age-appropriate steps, so families would know exactly how to let children participate in the preparation. I also came up with shopping lists that could be more of a roadmap for kids to learn how to shop for vegetables and learn about their properties.
Next, I designed containers that could go from the oven to the fridge to the lunch box. The containers are made of food-grade silicone so they are safe and really easy for kids to use. Finally, I added some accessories to personalize the containers and write daily messages.
I want my story and experience to serve families by making parents’ lives easier and children’s lunches healthier.
Tell us about your business.
This & That Lunch Kit is the easy, healthy, eco-friendly, and fun alternative to the sandwich. Parents often get stumped wondering what to prepare for lunch for their kids. There are so many restrictions in the schools. This & That Lunch Kit helps make that whole process easier by providing families with a complete kit to make easy and healthy lunches. This & That Lunch Kit include;
- Collapsable silicone containers that pack the perfect portions for kids, according to age.
- The containers can go in the oven, the microwave, the fridge, and freezer.
- They are shock-resistant, yet easy for kids to open.
- Includes detachable shopping cards to never miss an ingredient at the store and educate kids about seasonal vegetables.
- Kid-friendly recipe cards to get kids involved in the kitchen.
- The recipes are specifically designed to meet kids’ needs and make the exact quantities to fit in the containers.
- Examples of recipes include mini corn souffle, carrot and lentil quiches, etc.
- Includes stickers and a pen to decorate the containers and write fun messages.
This & That Lunch Kit is the easy, healthy, eco-friendly, and fun way to prepare lunch on the go.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
This & That Lunch Kit is on pre-sale for a discounted price on Kickstarter until April 21, 2018.
My biggest accomplishment has to be showing my daughter what it means to pursue my dreams by bringing This & That Lunch Kit from idea to realization.
Where is your business based?
Lunch Squares in based in Washington, DC.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Going from idea to execution entailed talking to my family about how it would impact our lives, including the time and financial commitment, to make sure that we could weather the ups and down. I got my finances in order and surrounded myself with the right people to help.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
For This & That Lunch Kit, I put a lot of attention on polishing the brand’s image, working with SKC Marketing to make the website experience visually pleasing. I have also been using social media including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to develop a community around the product.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
My biggest challenge has to be finding balance between my family and professional interests. Between raising a preschooler, launching a business, a legal career, and a baby on the way, I definitely have a full plate.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I get through the hard times by reminding myself that I am setting an example for my daughter. I try to remain confident to inspire her that we can overcome challenges and spring back from negative experiences.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
This & That Lunch Kit is a new take on the lunch box. It’s a novel experience for families who get all the accessories they need to turn lunch box preparation into a bonding experience with their children. The recipes draw on my French upbringing and the expertise of a French nutritionist to bring a healthy alternative to the sandwich.
Parents are looking for solutions to feed their kids healthy food that kids actually want to eat. Some turn to subscription meal plans but those can get expensive very quickly.
This & That Lunch Kit is not a meal plan.
It is an entire set of accessories that families can use over and over to make the recipes together. It is more sustainable for the budget and the planet. It is also more empowering for families; instead of receiving ingredients in a package every week, families learn how to shop with their kids.
With This & That lunch Kit, families get a set of shopping lists to match the recipes so going to the market can become an adventure finding the right produce and an educational opportunity for kids who learn about the different vegetables through the illustrated recipes.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“Don’t forget to have fun in the process!” Launching a new product is an exciting challenge and one that brings me great joy. But it can be all-consuming, and I sometimes get too focused on results.
The day before shooting the video for This & That Lunch Kit, after I had spent hours tweaking the script, my friend reminded me to enjoy the experience. I try to remember that now whenever I am too absorbed getting to the next milestone.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Just do it! I keep a little family notebook entitled “The Book of Awesomeness,” which contains all our ideas for inventions. I love that journal because it captures all of our dreams and silly thoughts. But I am happy and proud that I gathered the courage to pursue the idea for This & That Lunch Kit to realization.
At some point you have to throw yourself out there. Do your homework to make sure that your idea is viable, and see where it leads you. You will always find reasons not to go forward with a project, but I am proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone to launch This & That Lunch Kit.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I love Crowdfire to help me schedule social media posts at a time that is convenient to me, helping me get organized. I also rely on MailChimp for my newsletter. It has great functionality and design.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I am reading Back to Work After Baby, written by my friend Lori K. Mihalick-Levin. Lori has a wealth of great advice for parents on how to balance a career and raising a child. Her book is a wonderful resource to help new parents feel more confident and more experienced parents get help to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Right now, I am learning all about sales: how to build relationships with retailers and decide which trade shows to attend.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I am raising $20,000 on Kickstarter to get This & That Lunch Kit to production. The next step will be fulfillment to all the backers and getting kits to retailers across the country.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.