After trying a variety of different nursing pads when she was breastfeeding her first baby, Zoe Birks-Ellis was inspired to make her own: a range that would be soft against a mum’s skin, leak-free and comfortable. At Little Cockatoo and Co they create reusable, eco-friendly bamboo nursing pads that are a beautiful and sustainable alternative to single-use pads. Little Cockatoo and Co is an eco-conscience brand with a vision to provide nursing pads that are colourful and comfortable – helping to brighten a mum’s day. As well as looking and feeling fabulous, mums can do their bit to keep disposable nursing pads out of landfill. Here, Zoe talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about her business journey so far.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Breastfeeding my firstborn was what inspired me to start Little Cockatoo and Co. I had no idea that you needed nursing pads until my milk came in and I sent my husband John to the shops to find something to stop the leaking milk on my clothes. He came back with a bunch of different types of nursing pads: disposables, washable bamboo, the cold pack ones – none of them felt soft against my skin, they were too thin, uncomfortable, scratchy and very clinical looking.
I decided to make my own nursing pads that made me feel good breastfeeding with beautiful designs and eco-friendly but at the same time super soft and leak-free.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
We (John and I) hand cut all the circles of material for the nursing pads (sooo many circles) and a local seamstress sewed them for us. I had been trying them out to get the material structure a perfect combination and also had friends and family that were breastfeeding try them out too. We got great feedback and decided to take them to a Baby Expo to see how they went. They went really well and we got tons of helpful feedback from lovely customers. So we decided to go for it and give it our all. We are lucky to have very kind, creative family members who gave/give proper advice, lend their skills in all facets of design and are super encouraging and supportive of us.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
After we did the baby Expo, we came to the realisation that we wouldn’t be able to keep up with orders by hand cutting/sewing so we researched and researched and found a manufacturer that could make our prototype exactly as we needed. I really enjoyed the process of talking to all the different manufacturers and felt like we had grown from that learning curve while we are gaining invaluable business knowledge along the way.