Struggling with breastfeeding and expressing milk after the birth of her first baby in 2021, and feeling isolated and awkward trying to express at work using a bulky pump, Micaela realised there was a real need for a comfortable, affordable, wearable pump for New Zealand mums. At Milkii, she is passionate about making your breastfeeding and pumping journey a little easier, providing you with quality, wearable pumps that can be shipped to you within a couple days – and without the crazy price tag. She provides a friendly, empathetic and authentic service, from one mama to another. Here she talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind her business, how she balances work and family time, and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
Being a new mother, adjusting, and going through the challenges1 of breastfeeding was incredibly tough. I know many mothers can relate.
I’ve had my fair share of hurdles as a new mum, finding a good quality and affordable pump being just one. That’s what really drives me to help other māmās – by offering affordable items, especially in today’s times. Nobody needs to spend $200+ on a pump! High price doesn’t automatically equal quality.
I have this dream of creating a business that could one day support my family and maybe even be passed down to my daughter.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I began by conducting research on pumps available both in New Zealand and overseas, and I explored their features, pricing and options. Back in early 2022, there were only two similar pumps available in New Zealand. I reached out to manufacturers, seeking quality, and to build a strong relationship with the perfect one.
After taking care of all the necessary business aspects, I delved into the exciting part of creating Instagram and Facebook pages, logos, websites, and sorting out packaging. My focus then shifted to building an authentic social media community. It took some time to grow my following and create awareness about my brand, but starting from scratch requires patience and dedication to cultivating a genuine following. Good things take time eh?
Before the official launch, I sent out a few pumps to some mamas and their feedback was super helpful going forward.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I would say my biggest breakthrough was when I expanded to include my second type of wearable pump. This one was different to the first, more suited for mums with larger chest sizes and active mums, as it has no big motor head like the ‘typical’ wearable pump style we all know. It is slim and discreet. It was new to the New Zealand market, so that grabbed some attention!
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I’m still learning. I get a lot of help from my husband who continues to encourage me. I’m very blessed to have a supportive family network, and both my mother and mother-in-law babysit my toddler often. I usually pack orders when both my children are asleep at night, as that’s the time I have least distractions. I have to watch myself that I don’t end up sitting on my phone all day doing work, and I try to be as present as possible with my kiddies. But, I get so excited every time someone makes an order, messages me, mentions me on social media, or leaves a review.
I love putting together orders for mamas and adding in homemade lactation cookies, brownies or bars, and thank you notes.
I find a lot of joy in all that, which motivates me to keep going, even when I’m super tired or time constrained.