Naperville mom launches new baby food company
Ashley Rossi had some big plans when she was 12 while growing up in Plainfield. She was interested in assisting the homeless, help give them some shelter and get them back on their feet.
But little did she know at the time that her life would take a different turn, leading her to become CEO of organic baby food company, Organums, based in Naperville.
Back in high school, she became a teen parent, left school and later earned her GED. She got a job, supported her child, then went to college to strive for a degree in criminal justice.
But when she took a biology class, other ideas also began brewing about food. She had seen the supersize trends in fast food restaurants, and was concerned about feeding such food to her baby. She had since gotten married and began making her own baby food for her second child.
"I started doing a lot of research and couldn't find anything about baby foods that weren't processed with ultra high temperatures, which removes a lot of the nutrients and the taste," said Rossi, 30.
But life changed again, she divorced and wanted to find a way to still work and support her children but have flexibility to take care of them.
By November 2013, she seriously began to focus on developing the baby food company. She also partnered with investor Larry Washow of Barrington. Besides creating the company, she also was serious about helping the homeless and also developed a plan to create a foundation called Restart to help them.
Last week, she launched OrgaNums, which produces a line of nutrient rich, refrigerated organic baby foods. They include organic apple, sweet potato, green beans, carrot, pumpkin and carrot/apple. They will be available online soon via subscription and, in a few months, in stores. Some of the proceeds of those sales will help support her mission to help the homeless, she said.
While the headquarters for the company will be in Naperville, the foods are processed in small batches and packed at a facility in Wisconsin, she said.
"Life just had a different plan for me," she said.
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