Mum on a mission
It's often said necessity is the mother of invention, so it’s not surprising to see a mum at the forefront of a product that came about because she wanted to make things better —not just for herself, but for other mums.
Struggling with breastfeeding her son Tobias, Anna Sayring relied on various devices to help get her through, while she scoured the internet looking for trustworthy information.
The frustrations she felt with what was on offer on both fronts became the driving force behind Anna’s small business and social media community Milk Mate.
Having already navigated the sea of misinformation out there, Anna was on a mission to help other mums avoid the same ordeal by setting up a supportive online hub where they could also find reliable science-based information about breastfeeding. She also set about developing her own range of breastfeeding aids improving on functions she found lacking or inadequate while feeding her little ‘Milk Mate’ Tobias.
Her first Milk Mate design, a silicone breast pump, offered features like improved attachment and more efficient and effective milk drawing capabilities as well as eliminating the chances of a wriggling bub sending the device and its precious contents across the living room floor thanks to its thoughtful lanyard attachment.
Anna’s other hit product was something she relied on to overcome duct congestion but wasn’t happy she couldn’t find one through an Australian-owned business.
So she designed her own lactation massager and demand quickly followed. Milk Mate has been growing steadily month-by-month since its launch in early 2020, and the future looks set to boom despite the pandemic.
With online sales the new way to shop and, according to one of Anna’s pharmacy stockists, a 30% increase in pregnancy test sales, the arrival of what has already been coined the COVID baby boom means Milk Mate is well-positioned to enjoy continued growth. While Anna is a self-taught entrepreneur, tackling everything from packaging and website design to social media marketing and product prototypes along the way; she’s the first to admit there is always more to know when it comes to running a small business. One of the webinars that reinforced she was on the right track but opened her eyes to other facets of running your own small business was Kathie Heyman’s Business Masterclass.
"Kathie helped to bring the structure and organisation required to “put all the ducks in a row” so it all makes sense," Anna said. Branding and tone of voice, where to find opportunities, and closing any gaps she may have overlooked were also invaluable information Anna took away from the Masterclass.
But one of the most encouraging aspects of the Masterclass for Anna was being able to connect with other like-minded women and mothers.
"Starting a new business can often feel like a lonely journey, especially if you reside in a more isolated regional setting as I do," said Anna. It's the connection and support of other women and mothers she found in Kathie’s Masterclass which is also at the heart of Milk Mate’s philosophy and Anna has big plans to take her homegrown small business to the next level.
“Wherever possible I’ve used the professional services of other mums along every stage of setting up the business. I now want to grow to the point where I can have a baby-friendly warehouse and employ local rural mums who can bring their babies in and work in unison, with flexible hours. I have the longest list of new products I want to develop so it is possible. I know they’re big dreams but I will get there.”
You can find Milk Mate www.milkmate.com.au or on Instagram