Fran Free

Founder and Consultant

Oh Baby Foods

Fayetteville

Age: 39


Fran Free

Fran Free doesn’t think she could have done it again. In 2009 Free founded Oh Baby Foods, which sells organic baby foods nationwide in stores such as Whole Foods. After the business created more stress and logistics than she felt comfortable handling, Free sold the brand to Blackhive Corp. of Fayetteville last winter.

“I had been thinking for a while that it was time for me to step back and let someone else take the helm,” said Free, who was retained by Blackhive as a consultant. “The company had outgrown me and my skill set. I wanted to get back to the creative side, new items and all the fun stuff.”

Free is already working on new food products for children older than infants. She had wanted to launch some of the products while she was running Oh Baby, but she didn’t have the resources Blackhive has to do so.

Free also has more time to do other fun stuff. This spring, she gave a speech to agriculture business students at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville — Free earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the university — and she also wants to share with future entrepreneurs the lessons she learned building a business.

“I was able to reflect and think about life lessons to give to these kids,” Free said. “I could never do right now what I did back then. It’s a lot of luck and a lot of determination. It’s not taking ‘no’ for an answer.”