When our friends at Bobbie learned about the initial formula recall back in February, they immediately knew there would be long-lasting effects on the community they served and the industry at large.
“When two companies own 80% of the industry, and one goes down overnight, it was instantly clear we’d soon be facing increased demand and that we couldn’t keep up with,” Bobbie tells us. “You can’t increase manufacturing at the flip of a switch in such a highly regulated industry.”
And just as expected, within just a week of the shortage, sure enough, Bobbie’s customer demand doubled with an unprecedented increase in order volume that continued for weeks to come.
Bobbie (and of course, the entire team at HATCH Collection) is so excited to announce that the Bobbie store is OFFICIALLY (!) back open online and expanding the Bobbie Fam. “We’re heads down focused on expanding manufacturing and distribution to get Bobbie to more families across the US,” the team tells us. “But this is a long game. It’s not something we can dial up immediately,” they say.
We chatted with our friends at Bobbie to learn a bit more about where things stand, how far we’ve come, and where we are going when it comes to this moment in history.
What are the long-term ramifications of the shortage?
Hopefully, the long-term ramifications of the shortage are ultimately positive. If the US formula industry truly learns from this experience and public and private institutions work together to ensure this never happens again by bolstering US manufacturing, up-leveling nutritional standards, and increasing accessibility for all families, then those long-term impacts will be reflective of the positive change we’ve been pushing for in this industry since we started Bobbie. Sadly, compared to women in other high-income countries, women in the U.S. report the least positive experiences in healthcare and are more likely to report emotional distress.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before the crisis?
How to scale safely while meeting demand (it can’t be done at the flip of a switch) by adhering to our “When you subscribe to us, we subscribe to you” promise in good times and bad.
How to organize and advocate for the needs of American babies; the solution to the shortage isn’t dependent on the private sector alone; the government plays a role too and only by coming together can we build a resilient future.
And, most importantly, our Bobbie fam (customers) is loyal and resilient.
What have you learned as a team about how to operate in crisis?
We’ve learned that in times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to stick to our mission and purpose. By choosing to close the store to new customers and prioritize our existing Bobbie fam, we were able to continue serving our community, making them the only parents in the US not wondering/worrying about where their next can of formula was coming from. Providing that peace of mind was our ultimate north star throughout this entire year, and it guided us through the most challenging times.
What has your community’s response been through this process?
It has been incredible. We’ll let the relief, support, and gratitude they felt speak for themselves:
What’s one thing you would like people to know about this experience?
That this shortage and crisis are unacceptable and we must demand better for our babies. We were fighting to improve this industry long before the shortage, and are only doubling down now that it’s made headlines across the country. We will continue to fight to make the American infant formula industry one that is reflective of the highest nutritional standards, that is reliable and accessible, that does not rely on foreign imports to feed our most vulnerable population, and that we are fiercely proud of.
Oh, and by the way, we teamed up with Bobbie to give one lucky Babe reader a YEAR’s (!) worth of FREE BOBBIE! Click here to enter.