After breastfeeding her own three children for almost 5 years collectively, Ashley De Grey knew she wanted something special to represent this precious time spent nurturing, growing and comforting her babies, and to reward herself for all the effort, struggles, sleepless nights and heartache that also comes along with breastfeeding. She started The Spilt Milk Co. to provide this same comfort and reward to other mums who want to remember and celebrate their own journeys. As well as breastmilk, she also transforms precious inclusions such as DNA, hair, a first tooth, pet fur and fabric into beautiful handcrafted jewellery and sentimental keepsakes that ensure your memories live on forever.
The Passion: What inspired you to set up your business.
I came across the idea of breastmilk jewellery when I was pregnant with my third baby and knew I had to explore it more! I had already breastfed my first two children for over a year each and always felt proud of my achievements, but wanted a way to celebrate it. Before having kids, I studied art & design while working at a jewellery store, so combining those skills with my experiences of breastfeeding babies and wanting to cherish every moment as a mama seemed like the perfect fit!
I knew I wanted something special to represent that precious time nurturing my babies and also reward myself for all the effort, struggles and sleepless nights that come along with breastfeeding. So, I decided to create a tangible memory to represent what my journey meant to me, and wanted to provide the same comfort and reward to all other mamas who want to remember and celebrate their own journeys. And so, in 2018, The Spilt Milk Co. was born!
The Launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I started out by making a few pieces for myself and then some other mama friends, perfecting my skills and processes until I was ready to show it to the world! I made a free one-page website to show my different colour samples and had an email where customers (mostly my friends) could order their beads. I still remember recording every order detail manually in a notebook, and pouring so much time into brainstorming and dreaming up a simpler ordering method.
When I launched in October 2018, 6 months pregnant with baby number 3, I was crafting a few orders here and there, but decided to take a short break when my wee girl was born. I spent that ‘break’ breastfeeding and watching YouTube videos and taught myself how to build a website from scratch, then slowly worked on it while she napped in a carrier for the first couple months of her life! To this day, I still have the same website and feel so proud of building it up while I snuggled with my baby.
The Innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
After having my initial branding for a year, I decided after putting the kids to bed one night that I wanted to have a bit of a change up and have a mini rebrand. I had a vision in mind and didn’t go to bed until 2am when I had redesigned everything and seen it come to life! My daughter woke hourly to breastfeed and I remember popping back and forth all night to feed her and design my new look for the brand. Since bringing in the brighter, bolder colours it has gone from strength to strength and I love adding in new pieces to the brand that align with its colours and vibe.