Monday, May 23, 2011

Spotlight on Mommy -- Helen Anderson, RN, CLE of Milkies Milk-Saver

If you are breastfeeding or know someone who is, you need to check Milkies Milk-Saver, created by Helen Anderson, RN, CLE.  She is one of this week's Spotlight on Mommies.  What a great invention.  I wish I had this when  I was breastfeeding my daughter. This would have made pumping on the go easier and more discreet.  To learn more about the Milkies Milk-Saver, click here.  

I had the opportunity to interview Helen about the Milkies Milk-Saver and how she balances work and family.  Enjoy my interview with her below.

Name: Helen Anderson, RN, CLE
Company Name/Product/Service: Milkies Milk-Saver
Company Location: McMinnville, Oregon
Company Website:
Facebook Page:
Twitter Handle: @mymilkies
Age of Company: 3 years
Favorite Inspirational Quotes: Go confidently in the directions of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined -- Henry David Thoreau
Favorite Book:Of Mice and Men

Tell us a little bit about yourself.  How many children do you have?  What are their ages? Your hobbies? Etc.

I have 2 wonderful boys, ages 3 and 5.  I love spending time with my kids, going for walks, traveling and hanging out at the library.  Milkies and being a mommy keeps me busy, but I sneak in a walk alone twice a week. Ahh quiet!

Briefly explain your business.  How did it come about?

Oh, I love the story of the "beginning"!  When my second son was brand new I would sit on the couch next to a big pile of towels every time he ate. Over the course of the day I would soak every one of them with my milk that leaked from the non-nursing side while I nursed my sweet little boy.  I remembered challenge of storing enough milk to leave for my husband to feel while I was at work (I worked 12 hour shifts as a nurse at my local hospital). I knew the value of all those ounces of breast milk wasted into those dish towels.  I looked for something that would help me save my milk instead of wasting it but there was nothing out there to help me.  So I talked to my mom about making a product that would help me and all the other breastfeeding mommies out there stay dry and save so much more milk.  She is a nurse too and wanted to help moms and babies breastfeed more successfully.

What is a typical work day like? 

I get started early!  I get up before the kids, answer emails and send out new ones.  I might spend the time writing some educational content for a guest post or article.  When my little guys get up I make them breakfast and take them to pre-school.  I go to the office for a few hours, this is when I have my meetings and make calls since it's the only quiet time I have in the day! I pick them up and we have lunch together.  I try to wrap things up by mid-afternoon so we can head outside and play before I start dinner. 

What has been a struggle while starting up your company?  

So many struggles! So little time!  As nurses, not business women, we had a bit of a learning curve.  Everyday we learned something new and made plenty of mistakes along the way.  Through it all, I always believed Milkies would succeed.  Another struggle? Convincing my husband I was not going back to work, instead I would stay home and start a company centered on supporting breastfeeding. 

What did you do in your past work life?

I worked as a nurse in all kinds of settings at my local hospital, ER, ICU and Medical/Surgical.

What have been some of your major successes?

I would love to say we had a big thing happened and the next day everything changed.  It's not like that, we have little successes everyday.  I love hearing from mommies that use our Milk-Saver and save gallons of milk.  It's always thrilling getting our product into a new store and our product is sold in several hundred stores all over the world, from local retail outlets to large chain stores like Buy Buy Baby and Baby Depot. 

What have been some of your major challenges?

The Milk-Saver was a brand new concept for collecting and saving milk. Consumers had to see the product, read reviews and hear about it from friends before it gained acceptance.  When the Milk-Saver first came to the market some people thought "What is this weird new breastfeeding thingy?" Now it's been on the market for a while and it's become more normal to collect and save milk.

On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?

Milkies is my mission.  We want moms to realize how valuable their breast milk is, and give them the confidence to over come any breastfeeding challenges.  Of course my boys are never far from my mind, I want them to see first hand how to problem solve, work hard and succeed.

What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?

No secret. It's tough!  Don't expect your spouse to be on board from the start, sometimes a little success can be the best way to get people behind your project.  When Milkies was getting off the ground, my husband was not supportive.  Now he is my biggest cheerleader and my entire family is involved.  My kids help me move boxes and load the printer, we work together.  Milkies has an office and warehouse but I primarily use my home office so we can take a break, make lunch, build legos or whatever the day brings!

What is next for your business?

Milkies is adding a few more really amazing products to our line by the end of 2011.  Milkies has always just been the Milk-Saver, it's time to add to the line.  It is so easy to say, it belies the enormous amount of work to get a new product from concept to market. Whew! I get tired just thinking about it.

Do you have any advice for other mom entrepreneurs that are starting out and struggling, or are on the fence about starting a business?

Do it!  You will be so surprised by your own creativity and resourcefulness.  The baby/toddler parenting industry is full of moms just like you and me.  We all started somewhere and the support and willingness to share and advise is heartwarming.  I have friends all over the world now, I have traveled and had experiences I never would have had if not for Milkies. 

1 comment :

  1. I have several friends who would be really interested in this product I will have to tell them about it thanks for sharing this one and have a happy mother's day.
    heather [email protected]