Milk Nursingwear, a woman founded and run company, is proud to have served hundreds of thousands of mothers in over 125 countries during its 22-year history.
Here is our story:
22+ years ago I returned to work after my first baby was born. It was before the days of lactation lounges and workplace friendly policies for women and parents. I would take my Medela Pump-in-Style to work and express milk several times a day in an empty office with no furniture, while just outside my coworkers (mostly male) could hear the whirring of my breastpump in action. One challenge I faced was simply getting dressed for work. It was before "casual dress" in corporate US, I was expressing milk throughout the day, and work blouses and dresses made what I was doing far more complicated.
I searched for "professional nursingwear" and was shocked to find that even the large maternity companies were ignoring the niche of "nursingwear" - despite rising breastfeeding rates in the US - and I sensed an opportunity. I believed that things could be better – and I left my career path to start a brand of fashionable nursingwear that would help women pump and breastfeed conveniently, stylishly, and confidently.
I knew nothing about the garment industry but had years of business experience, an MBA from Columbia University, and more importantly, the determination that anyone starting a company needs. I knew this type of product would help support women whether breastfeeding or pumping at home or work or at a friend's wedding or anywhere.
I had spreadsheets and projections, but reality far exceeded forecasts over the years. I founded and ran the brand Expressiva Nursingwear for 10 years with a friend, until it came to light that I had to split my partnership with him. Having poured myself into starting that company from nothing, it was hard to imagine beginning all over again from scratch. But I gathered myself, took all my energy, determination and experience and created Milk Nursingwear, a brand that grew to surpass our first company by leaps and bounds. I ran Milk Nursingwear with all my time, energy, and heart, for over a decade.
It is a success of our brand and companies like ours that today women in the US have so many more options and choices in nursingwear than when I launched Expressiva Nursingwear 22 years ago. Major retailers have woken up and started to address this segment by offering fashions for breastfeeding women in their online stores. I am proud that our company raised awareness for the needs of breastfeeding and pumping women, with one result being that nursing fashions are more plentiful and accessible than ever, to moms today.
I am thankful to our wonderful customers. We've loved being a part of your nursing journey. It was our privilege to serve you, to support you, to provide you with comfortable, high-quality nursing fashions for two decades. I have loved hearing that our clothes have enabled you to nurse at weddings, pump milk at work, travel the world with your little ones more easily, feel better as new moms, nurse confidently in public, and that our company helped make new motherhood easier.
I am also proud that Milk Nursingwear was able to provide our employees with a flexible workplace that enabled them to build their careers while raising their children.
I am a big believer in the power of women to succeed, achieve, and I enjoy meeting with and helping other female entrepreneurs get started on their way. If you are planning, launching or have an early stage ecommerce business and are looking for guidance or mentorship, please reach out, I"d love to hear from you.
~ Elisa Minsk Hartstein, Founder of Milk Nursingwear
Read my latest blog post here.
Learn about my new project here.