Rifat is the founder of Fill n Squeeze, a fantastic brand born out of her own personal frustrations when trying to feed her children nutritious food when out and about. She was on the hunt for baby food that contained all the nutrition she would feed her children at home, but in reusable containers - that didn’t exist. This ultimately became her driving force to craft what she couldn’t find: functional and sustainable baby food pouches made to support mothers and Mother Nature. And so, Fill n Squeeze was born! Specializing in reusable baby weaning food pouches and baby food maker kits. We highly recommend checking them out!
HOW DID FILL N SQUEEZE COME TO BE?
The Fill n Squeeze baby food maker was invented by me, Rifat. I really struggled to feed my baby Zara homemade food when I was out and about. In the end, I resorted to buying pouches and glass jars, which was not ideal, due to not knowing exactly what she was eating. The heat-intensive processing of food destroys many vital nutrients and the cost of these pre-filled pouches soon add up. When Sofia my youngest was 6 months old, I set about designing a system to pump homemade baby food in reusable pouches, which can be easily heated up when out and about and makes it easier to feed especially when attached to the pouch spoon.
WHAT WERE YOUR BIGGEST INITIAL HURDLES STARTING THIS BUSINESS?
Time and money. Both my babies were under 3 when I started the business. Also finding the right suppliers was a big challenge as I wanted to manufacture in the UK only.
WHAT DO THE DAY TO DAY OPERATIONS LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
I start the day by answering customer emails, helping with their purchases, providing advice, as well as sharing recipe ideas for pouch fillings. I need to ensure there is enough stock and keep on top of that at all times; this includes the local warehouse, to the stock going into Amazon and sorting out export orders. I also focus on the marketing of the products to new parents, groups and other businesses that can help to support Fill n Squeeze.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO AS A FAMILY?
We are an active family, and I encourage outdoor activities as much as possible. Our favorite sport is tennis, and we love cycling in our local woods. When we arrive home we are all exhausted, and wind down with classical music and reading. We also love playing games together, my youngest daughter Sofia, is brilliant at playing chess.
WHAT’S THE MOST CHALLENGING PART ABOUT BEING A MuM?
Both my girls are so different from one another. Sofia is very quiet, and Zara is very active and can’t stop talking. In the middle, I have to work and bring them up on my own. Being the sole provider for them is very challenging and scary at times, but I carved out this career for myself so I could be flexible and have time with my girls.
WHERE DO YOU FEEL MOST INSPIRED?
I love the consumer baby shows when customers say how much they love the products or when I have made a sale. It’s such an addictive buzz and makes the long hours of running a business so worthwhile.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
Treat everything in bite-size portions, as this allows me to priorities. Don’t try to tackle everything on my own. I have built up an amazing network of support and outsource as much as I can.
WHAT ARE FOUR THINGS YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT?
My two lovely girls, dark chocolate, hiking in the countryside and spending time with good friends.
- If you want to take a look at Rifat's story in more detail, please visit www.fillnsqueeze.co.uk