‘Formula Finder’ powered by parents and built on Airtable tracks sightings on store shelves.
Every morning when Jen Rudd opens her social media feed, instead of seeing cute pictures of friends' babies she sees empty shelves posted by parents desperate to find formula. “My heart just goes out to them,” Rudd said. As infants, two of her children were hospitalized due to milk allergies. “There was a point where we thought we lost my son because he was purple and not breathing,” she said. Fortunately her children recovered, something Rudd says wouldn’t have been possible without formula, which at some points cost her $40 a can.
So with news of a nationwide formula shortage, Rudd decided to take action. Seeing the flood of photos of empty shelves, she realized: “We could share this with the broader community.”
So she created Formula Finder: it’s an app powered by parents across the country who use Airtable to log formula sightings. “If I can save one person from driving all over creation looking for formula, or help people know when store shelves are empty to save them a trip, that’s something,” Rudd said.
“It only took me two hours to build this app,”
The website is based entirely on information submitted through Airtable forms. In only a few clicks, visitors can share information about the formula brand, physical address where to buy it, and add a picture. The community can update information as inventory changes, and Rudd set up automations that automatically delete sightings when formula runs out. “Airtable is an easy database. I can keep the information up to date without having to babysit it,” she said.
Rudd is a consultant who uses Airtable to build custom recruitment software to match talent with companies who are hiring. After meeting other members of the Airtable community earlier this year, she was inspired by those who build apps to help solve day-to-day problems where they live.
“I hope this helps at least one parent find the formula they need and that they can see we’re all in this together. But more than that I really hope this is not necessary in two months, I hope this is a quick band-aid,”