Moms to See in the 843: Meghan Rowe & White Leaf Provisions

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Last fall, I was at my son’s soccer practice and starting chatting with a fellow mom. She was kind, interesting, and not to mention absolutely stunning. We talked about our boys, school, and what we did for a living. I always love meeting new moms – especially moms who are in the same season of life as me. But Meghan was different. She saw a need for a change, and decided to do something. As we continued to chat, I very quickly became fascinated with her story.

She explained to me how she had just returned from a trade show for her business. Now, I was even more intrigued! I had just started my own business, and had no idea how to manage it all: mom life + married life + owning a business and I had a feeling that she had all the answers.

As we chatted more and more, I realized her business is far from small potatoes. After meeting her, I was inspired. Like I said, I had just started my own business, and was feeling all the “feels.” Anxious, excited, shy, overwhelmed, etc. I realized she would be a wonderful resource and inspiration on how to do it all: start a business with a purpose, all while being the best mom and wife that I could be. I later reached out to Meghan asking if I could pick her brain. I hope you enjoy learning about Meghan (and her amazing business which is getting healthier food into the hands of our kiddos) as much as I did!

Charleston Moms Blog (CMB): Meghan! I am so excited to get to know you better. Please share with us where you are from originally, how long you have lived in Charleston, your family, and what you do for a living.

Meghan Rowe (MR): And I am so happy to share my story with you and the Charleston Mom Blog readers! Thank you for this opportunity.

I grew up in Fairfield, Connecticut, but left when I was eighteen to go to college in Vermont and traveled all over. I ended up living in Key West, FL for ten years where I met my husband, Keith. We moved back to Connecticut briefly for a year and hated winter so much that we decided to pack up and move to Charleston in 2015. Best decision ever! We adore living here.

CMB: So you started this incredible business, White Leaf Provisions, with your husband and chef (so jealous!) in 2016. How did you and Keith get the idea to start this company?

MR: Yes! I have been spoiled with his exceptional talents!

We started discussing WLP one late winter evening when we were living in CT. Our son, Keegan, was seven months old and I had been leaving both Keegan and Keith for days at a time to photograph destination weddings. We had tried to have Keegan sample some “convenient food” options for him and he had adverse reactions to the products we were sampling for him… primarily formulas. We were dismayed by the crazy amounts of unpronounceable ingredients and how Keegan’s body was having issues on the “best options”.

Keith is from Ireland and I had lived in Europe on and off throughout my life so we were quite aware of Demeter Certified Biodynamic® products and were very much aware of the EU standards for foods and ingredients. The options in the EU are far more pure and cleaner options than what we can get here in the USA.

I reached out to a friend in Paris and with his help, we began importing Biodynamic baby foods from France! We found other parents doing the same thing so we knew we were onto something.

Keith started to walk down the baby food aisle in grocery stores and was quite frankly dismayed by the number of options for babies but these options really didn’t say much for their purity, transparency, or farming behind them. The farming behind your foods is what really is important. So…late one winter night, we opened a bottle of wine and started sketching out our idea – literally on paper – what we wanted to do, our vision and our dreams. It is a great memory that I still hold onto and actually still have the original sketches! 

CMB: This. Is. Incredible. What exactly is biodynamic farming is and why it is important?

MR: 

Biodynamic farming is a holistic, ethical and regenerative method of farming. All farms that we work with are certified biodynamic, meaning that there are no chemicals allowed on the farm. Instead, our farms replace chemicals with natural green compost, herbal sprays and use farming practices that promote biodiversity. Our farms plant cover crops to draw carbon back out of the atmosphere, use low till methods, and practice regular crop rotation; which means: biodynamic farming has one of the lowest carbon footprints of any farming practice. 

Biodynamic farms have zero tolerance for GMO’s and let mother nature take the lead. The end result of this level of farming is nutrient-rich soil that grows nutrient-rich food. The Demeter Certification on all of our packaging is the gold standard of organic and regenerative agriculture. Organic farming as we know it today was actually derived by biodynamic standards developed in Europe almost 100 years ago. We are so proud and excited to bring this level of purity to the US market.

All of our products have no added sweeteners, additives, flavor enhancers, instead, we hand-pick naturally sweet, seasonally grown fruit and vegetable varieties, gently steam and blend them.

CMB: So you are a mom, wife, still photographing, and starting this huge business! Somehow you seem to do it ALL. What are your top three tips for mamas to stay balanced with work, love, and mama life?

MR:

1. Don’t feel like you have to do it all by yourself: I don’t do it all myself… I have a LOT of help. My husband Keith is the glue that binds our family together. We simply would not be where we are now if it were not for him. Honestly. Since 2014 he has been a stay-at-home father so that I could continue to do photography.  In the beginning, WLP was our side gig.  It wasn’t until 2016 that we secured a manufacturer with our partners, had a supply of raw materials sourced, store interest and other aspects of the business were completely settled. At that point, we felt confident enough to go out and raise capital. Once we secured capital in 2017, our lives changed for the better! We had people that truly believed in what we were doing that were not just friends and family!

2. Invest in your personal growth: While WLP was growing, and photography was slowing, I was approached by a friend who is a business and lifestyle coach. Her interest in me was life altering. She helped me to find myself and helped me to see the leader that I have become and her guidance really allowed me to garner clarity in my purpose.

3: Surround yourself with your village: We, unfortunately, do not have family living in Charleston. Not a soul. So, we really rely on our friends for help. Some of these friends are who we consider our family. We have to travel quite a lot for work and I have gotten pretty crafty with color-coded schedules of who is picking up our son and where he will be spending the nights!

CMB: If you could give one tip to moms out there who are wanting to start a new business, what would your advice be?

MR: 

Just jump in. I am quite certain you will spend way more time talking yourself out of why you shouldn’t start your business, rather than just jumping right in. Yes, I know it is superbly scary but isn’t that the exciting part?! The unknown is also the part that actually pushes you to succeed. For my husband and I, we don’t have a backup plan if this fails. Yes, that is beyond scary, but it also is the activator of our drive to succeed.

CMB: We know your secrets to how you balance it all, and now we want to know more about your products! What type of products do you make?

MR:

White Leaf Provisions makes the first and only Biodynamic Baby & Toddler foods in the US. Our product offerings are 100% Demeter Certified Biodynamic. This certification encompasses so much more than just Organic and Non-GMO. We currently have Apple+Pear Sauce, Apple+ Ceylon Cinnamon Sauce and Mango, Carrot, Banana, Pear puree as well as a full vegetable blend, Carrot, Sweet Potato, Pea. 

CMB: Where can we find these products? 

MR:

Our products are available in various brick and mortar locations throughout California, New York, and Connecticut. We are available nationally online via our own eCommerce storefront, Thrive Market, and Amazon. We will be available through Vitacost and Kroger Ship in the coming months and are in discussions with Whole Foods, Earthfare, Wegmans, and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market.

CMB: Why did you start with the Apple & Pear line?

MR: 

In business, especially in start-ups, one must be able to pivot and change course on a dime and really not fret about it…simply get it done. When we first started working to source a baby food manufacturer for us we had found a partner. Unfortunately, they broke their agreement before we could even get going. We were totally devastated. However, I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason. With that, we began reaching out to Biodynamic farmers again to focus on sourcing. Keith found a farmer that not only had a large supply of Biodynamic Apples, he also had a large supply of Biodynamic Pears. We immediately found a manufacturing partner who felt like they came out of nowhere and we decided to join forces. We always knew that we wanted to focus on growing the awareness of Biodynamic in the US and now we are proud to have such a cool farmer in our mix. 

CMB: I love using pouches with kiddos because they are super convenient. My only hesitation is the waste aspect. How can we dispose of the pouches while being mindful of our environment?

MR:

Us too! We absolutely love having pouches for Keegan, especially when we were traveling. We began the process wanting to not use pouches because of their single-use waste aspect. However, the majority of the manufacturers are listening to consumer demand and actually dismantling their glass filling machines and opting for pouch fillers.

We were stuck.

To remedy it, we have partnered with TerraCycle. They are an amazing operation out of New Jersey that breaks down the pouches and up-cycles them into mmixed-usegoods. White Leaf Provisions offers a mail in program with them and our customers can order an envelope through our site, collect their used pouches and send to TerraCycle, at no cost to the consumer. It’s something, although not ideal, and we are thankful to provide an option through TerraCycle.

We are currently working with The Climate Collaborative to help find a better solution. We have made some great headway in the way of an environmentally friendly solution…but we are not at liberty to share the details…just yet. Check back with us soon! 

CMB: What is next for you and White Leaf Provisions!?

MR: 

We are knee deep in expanding our retail presence and are now in over 120 stores, and getting a lot of requests to expand to the North East and Mid Atlantic regions. We are taking each day, step by step, but we are always thinking of the future. We have a few products ready to launch in the future such as Biodynamic Quick Cooking Oats…and have a lot up our sleeves for the future.

You are just going to have to keep following us and supporting us to join us on
our journey!

Fellow mamas, are you inspired or what?! I am so excited to share Meghan’s story. Not only is she an inspiration to all of us that we can be the mama + wife + business woman that we want to be, but we can do it while making a positive difference in the world around us, too!

If you are like me, you’re probably dying to try these products. Use promo code “CHSMOMBLOG” for 15% off of your order here. You can also get 10% off your order on Amazon using promo code “CHSMOM10”.

Check out some of our other Moms to See in the 843!

Moms to See in the 843: Laura Allen and a Guide to Healthy Eating
Moms to See in the 843: Kate Camp & BabyQuip
Budget-Friendly Style Tips From A Local Fashion Blogger & Mom
Moms to See in the 843: G.M. Whitley
Moms to See in the 843: Lindsey Henderson & Activism with Kids
Moms to See in the 843: Gervase Kolmos
Moms to See in the 843: ABC News 4 Meteorologist, Emily Gracey

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Amy grew up in Kansas City, Kansas and graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Environmental Studies. Her dream was to make the world a better place by improving the environment for everyone. After getting her dream job in Texas, she met the love her of her life, Evan; they had a beautiful daughter in 2012 and moved to Mount Pleasant in 2013. Amy intended on continuing to work in the field of Sustainability (all things green and ecofriendly) but ended up being a SAHM. Although she found it a blessing to be able to stay home full time with her daughter, she struggled to find herself in her new identity. In 2014, her family expanded with a son and with his birth she began to be more confident as both a woman and a mother, and lover of the Lowcountry. She turned her love of family and the environment into a business (www.de-cluttered.com) that allows her to keep her family first while helping others. Through de-cluttered, Amy helps families deep clean their homes, taking the weight of clutter off of their shoulders and donating those extra items to local charities throughout Charleston. Amy also loves being at the beach, having an adventure, connecting with new people and is always looking to learn something new.