What is in this article?:
- Shazi Visram and HAPPYBABY hit the jackpot with American Express commercial
- An Oprah moment every day
- Funding growth without private equity or venture capital
- Organic still where it is at for baby
Visram, a celebrated organic products entrepreneur and mother of one, opens up about the AMEX ad, why HAPPYBABY will always be organic, and why the company continues to make the journey each March to Natural Products Expo West.
Even if you don’t have a baby to feed, you’ve likely heard of Shazi Visram and her company HAPPYBABY. Visram and the organic baby food firm she co-founded in 2003 are the subject of a nationwide commercial for the American Express Open Gold Card. The spot, which began airing last November, tells the story of HAPPYBABY’s rapid growth (the company generates $8 million in annual sales) and of the company’s dedication to quality.
“Seven years ago, I had this idea to make baby food the way moms would—HAPPYBABY strives to make the best organic baby food,” Visram says in the commercial, as she plays with her baby and peruses the colorful vegetables at a farmers market with her husband and tot in tow.
“In a business like ours, personal connections are so important,” Visram continues. “We use our American Express Open Gold Card to further those connections. Last year, we took dozens of trips using membership awards points to meet with the farmers who grow our sweet potatoes and the merchants that sell our product. We’ve gone from being in five stores to 7,500.”
American Express hired an Oscar-winning director and spent half a million dollars producing the spot. Another $40 million to $50 million is slotted to pay for media spend. The commercial, which aired during the Super Bowl pre-game show this year and is often played during prime time, conveys an aura of authenticity and transparency that appears to be connecting with consumers. It also communicates the value of organic for babies.
“The ad shows that we are real people behind this business who care about the quality of our products,” Visram says. “The emotion really comes across and demonstrates that we are a small business with a big vision and a big heart.”
By all measures, Visram is becoming somewhat of a celebrity within the natural, organic and healthy products industry, thanks to her AMEX and other mainstream media exposure. But the entrepreneur and mother of one still had time to sit down recently with NewHope360.com to talk about the American Express ad, why she has worked hard to stay away from private-equity and venture capital money, why HAPPYBABY will always be organic, and why the company continues to make the journey each March to Natural Products Expo West.