Wendy Colson, a nurse, launched Boobie Bar in 2015 in response to a demand for a product that seemed to increase lactation for members of her breastfeeding support group.

Wendy Colson, a nurse, launched Boobie Bar in 2015 in response to a demand for a product that seemed to increase lactation for members of her breastfeeding support group. Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle.

— Carlsbad-based Boobie Bar, which makes snack bars with “milk-making” herbs for new mothers, recently received a $150,000 investment for 20 percent of the company from a “Shark Tank” investor — money it has used to propel further expansion of its new product lines.

Wendy Colson, a nurse, launched the company in 2015 in response to a demand for a product that seemed to increase lactation for members of her breastfeeding support group.

Within 18 months, Colson said she was profitable. Annual revenue topped $1 million in 2017 and Walmart began selling the company’s gluten-free peanut butter bars in more than 350 stores in January.

Since its launch, the company has sold more than 792,000 bars; its boxes of six bars, which start at $17.99, are sold at more than 1,200 stores worldwide.

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Colson Health Inc.

As a registered nurse for more than 21 years and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Colson specializes in women’s health and is the founder of Colson Health Inc. Colson, who is commonly referred to by her customers as Nurse Wendy, started her breastfeeding support group, Milk & Cookies, at a baby boutique in Carlsbad in 2011. When one of the support group moms asked her what bar she should buy as a lactating mother, Colson was stumped and decided her weekly baked goods should become nutritious bars for nursing moms. She came up with her own lactation food product with its proprietary blend of “milk-making herbs,” that she dubbed Boobie Blend.

Colson said she didn’t initially consider selling the bars commercially. But she found significant demand.

“The sales kept going up and everybody who tried Boobie Bars within my support group reordered,” Colson said. “I had a 94 percent reorder rate.”

Mujtaba Ahsan, assistant professor of management at the Fowler College of Business Administration at San Diego State University, said the niche market Colson tapped into appears to be growing. “According to various industry reports, the nutrition bar segment is growing at a high rate and there are a number of nutrition bar companies focusing on various niche markets (e.g., vegan, athletes, etc.),” Ahsan said. “However, their growth rate likely will be limited as the birthrates in the U.S. are declining.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.27 million people were born in the U.S. in 2006; 3.95 million births happening in 2016, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

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