Bunnee, LLC | Radcliff, KY
Like so many other Sky’s the Limit entrepreneurs, Asia Speights is using her personal experience as background and motivation for her business. She has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but after the deaths of her six-week-old twins, Asia became more inspired than ever to start a business that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable. When she gave birth to another set of twins, she was again struck by how vulnerable premature babies are and how important nutrition is for these infants.
The inspiration of an early role model
Growing up, Asia was a shy but determined child, and in fifth grade, she started to imagine herself accomplishing great things.
“We wrote letters to The White House. There was only one person on the roster that looked like me, Condoleezza Rice. I vowed to myself that I would do huge things and that I would inspire little brown girls that lived in poverty that they could be and do anything they wanted.”
Asia’s shyness and her determined nature continued to conflict, but she has never given up on herself. She has missed out on some networking opportunities, but she is overcoming her shyness so that won’t happen again. She knows her “big idea” is worth it.
The inspiration of personal experience
Watching her premature twins struggle for nutrition in the NICU was frustrating and heartbreaking for Asia and her husband. Asia vowed to help as many parents and infants from that same situation as she could. She knew there had to be a better option for infant formula, and she quickly identified a gap in the market. As she explains, “there are other infant formula companies out there, but they miss the mark on a huge segment of unsatisfied consumers. Infant formulas for ‘normal’ babies often contain ingredients like soy, nuts, GMOs, or non-kosher ingredients. The organic or plant-based baby formula companies are often targeting toddlers or, if for infants, excluding premature or underweight babies entirely. This is where Bunnee bridges the gap!”
While Bunnee is a plant-based, organic, and inclusive infant formula, it’s also so much more than that to Aisa and her future customers. Asia wants to change the way people think about infant formula to enable all people that need infant formula to feel secure, safe, and empowered to use it. “Bunnee is working hard to close the gap in clean food especially for underserved communities and low-income families that need formula but don't have resources to afford the better alternatives. Bunnee is for toddlers, infants, and preemies, but it's also for breast cancer survivors, adoptive parents, gay parents, and busy professionals that just need a better alternative for feeding their kids.“
But of course creating a product and a vision wasn’t the only step for Asia in starting her business.
The inspiration of a community
Even though she believed in her idea and in her mission, Asia lacked confidence. That’s where Sky’s the Limit came in. She worked with volunteers Brian Berg, Accenture Senior Manager, and Victoria Koin, Accenture Strategy Analyst, to move through the stages of business development, and now she has reached several business milestones like creating a business plan, opening a bank account, and designing a website.
Asia was also a 2021 recipient of the CVC Young Innovator Award in the amount of $20,000. Abhishek Sinha, Associate Principal/Associate Manager at Accenture, was able to provide her with feedback on her pitch deck to help her prepare for the virtual pitch. This grant has propelled Asia forward in many ways and allowed her to work on her product development and marketing efforts.
“Honestly, it's terrifying and exhilarating starting a business, but having a village is such a necessary component and Sky’s the Limit is that for me – it's my village! Being able to have access to mentors, professionals, and other entrepreneurs in the same place as you, that you wouldn't otherwise have, especially during COVID-19 when the world is virtual, is so impactful and super helpful.”
Her next steps are to expand her product’s availability and working to launch her products and social impact initiatives. Bunnee is also formulating partnerships with medical insurance companies, hospitals, and retailers so that when it does launch, their products are easily accessible when and where babies need them most.
“As a two-time twin mom, I'm so excited to be building the face of clean baby formula and I'd love for people to follow along and stay connected with me and Bunnee through our waitlist at shopbunnee.com and on Instagram at instagram.com/shopbunnee!”