Jenny Best was awake for two weeks in 2019 but not because she was exhausted from caring for her four-month-old twins and a toddler. She couldn’t sleep because she was thinking about her “very huge idea,” according to the Brooklyn-based public relations consultant and former New York City Ballet ballerina. She planned to develop a “Wikipedia of Baby Food,” an online resource that would guide parents through the process of introducing solid foods to their children. Her idea was to establish such a resource and make it available for free to anyone who wanted to utilize it. Then see if she can turn that into a linked app and website business where consumers may pay to access a variety of related healthy baby food recipes.

But how could she enhance her profile and bring her work to the attention of parents all across the world? She used Instagram to document her process of feeding and weaning her three children with the support of a licensed dietitian. Ms. Best immediately gained a big following after sharing videos of her twins tasting various foods as well as advice on how to deal with picky eaters.

“There was no business plan. I had zero investors,” she says. “But when I started putting it out in the world, I got a lot of real-time feedback from mums.” Fast forward to March 2020, when she launched her app and website Solid Starts, which contains the free food database First Foods, on the eve of the global pandemic. Solid Starts had a million Instagram followers by October 2021.