Kassie Callaghan is a wife, mother-of-two and artist with a passion for all things motherhood. With the support of her husband Aaron, she created Milk & Poppy to fill a need for beautiful, gentle, gender-neutral baby essentials to help you on your parenting journey. She hand draws all of their gorgeous prints and puts her heart into every piece, from their little creekside home in Newcastle, New South Wales, where she began slowly curating and creating her dream. From beautiful nappy bags, swaddles and pram liners, to a range of gorgeous accessories, they provide you with all your must-haves for mum and baby. Here Kassie talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind Milk & Poppy and her business journey so far.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
When I had my first daughter, I was hit with this vibe of wanting to work from home and build my own business. Something where I could have flexible hours to work around my new family and I guess build a legacy! I was a radiographer before going full-time in my business, but there was always something in the bottom of my heart telling me that I wanted something more. My matrescence journey changed me SO much – it had me bursting at the seams with creativity and this feeling of “there is so much more for me out there.” Becoming a mum gave me this zap of confidence, slapped me with the realisation that I can do anything I want to do. If I was going to teach my babies that there are no limits to what they could do, I was going to have to believe it for myself. So I did! I actually started a motherhood blog to start with, as well as local mothers groups which grew really nicely. I tried my hand at selling art – watercolour ultrasound paintings, line drawings, etc. but nothing really stuck.
When we fell pregnant with our second baby, my husband and I decided we really really wanted to build a business. We decided that we wanted to give eCommerce a real crack and I was adamant that I wanted to do something that I was really passionate about. Any products that we sold were going to have to be from the heart. I was obsessed with pregnancy, birth, postpartum and motherhood and had build a fairly good following from sharing my journey on Instagram (5k followers) so this felt like the natural industry to get into – I like to think of it as my community. It was a community that I was excited to continue to grow as a product based business. We chose to keep the gender of our babies surprises and I saw a huge gap in the market for gender neutral baby items that weren’t super boring. So I came up with the idea of drawing my own designs, and making our own collection of nursery items – starting with swaddles. I planned to do baby bedding and accessories – but fate lead us in a bit of a different direction…
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
Well, it was 2 days after the birth of my second daughter that we opened up shop! 🤯 crazy I know, but I thought we might get one or two orders so it would be pretty easy to juggle. We had a grand opening sale on the 30th November 2019 and it was AMAZING! Way way bigger than what we were expecting. From memory it was a Friday night when we opened to give us some time over the weekend to pack any orders we might have gotten. It was a pretty wild time to be honest. I’ll never forget (and never recommend) staying up until 4am packing orders with my husband, a newborn, an 18-month-old and having just given birth not even a week ago. OMG. It was just mental really! From memory we had about 40 orders and we sold out of a lot of things – for example, we only had 30 nappy bags to start with, and we had absolutely no idea how to even pack orders! We couldn’t find any postage bags big enough for our nappy bags which was such a silly oversight. So we actually used builders plastic to make makeshift post satchels 🤦♀️ Oh gosh, that was ridiculous 😂 Biggest advice for anyone starting an online shop – practise packing orders and plan how you’re going to do it BEFORE launching!