Sometimes employees need to educate their employers and Kate Torgersen is a case in point! In this episode of Busine$$ of the V, Dr. Dweck and Rachel unspool the story of how MilkStork, the first-ever breast milk shipping company, came into being. Formerly an executive communications manager for 18 years with Clif Bar & Co., Kate entered a whole new world when she added young kids to her work-life equation. She found that nursing infants – which is a priority for so many working moms – too often translated into all kinds of challenge, stress and even humiliation.
Kate took her experience trying to navigate TSA restrictions at the airport and the lack of adequate cold storage in hotel rooms and turned it into a business opportunity, founding MilkStork – whose mission is to get breast milk where it needs to go. The company empowers and supports moms who merely wanted to work while also remaining committed to the long-term health and well-being of their young children.
This episode of Busine$$ of the V gets real about what it’s like to pump breast milk in an airport stall and why there are measures that all employers can take to enable mothers to remain the professionals they desire to be. MilkStork provides a travel solution for working moms who return to work after maternity leave and find the commitment to breastfeeding comes with numerous daily challenges.
Kate brought her unique entrepreneurial flair to this issue and what was once her side hustle is now a thriving business featured in outlets such as the Today Show, TIME, Forbes, People, NPR and Fortune. Working and breastfeeding can co-exist. Believe it – and hear why!
To check out additional episodes or subscribe to the Busine$$ of the V podcast, visit: https://businessofthev.com
Watch the Interview with Kate Torgensen
About Kate Torgensen, Mother and Founder/CEO of Milk Stork
Founder and CEO of Milk Stork®, the first breast milk shipping company, Kate’s story of mom-led innovation and entrepreneurship has been covered in outlets such as the Today Show, TIME, Forbes, People, NPR, Fortune and CheddarTV. In 2016, Kate was named one of Red Tricycle’s “Power Moms in Food.” And, in 2015, Milk Stork was recognized as one of Business Insider’s “19 Coolest New Businesses in San Francisco”.
Contacts for Kate:
LINKS FOR BUSINE$$ OF THE V:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck: https://drdweck.com
Author Rachel Braun Scherl: www.sparksolutionsforgrowth.com/about-rachel-braun-scherl/
Topics Covered with Milk Stork’s Founder, Kate Torgensen
- An introduction to Kate and how her company came into existence.
- Navigating travel challenges for a nursing mom was incredibly eye-opening.
- Questions about managing the integrity of breast milk through various stages. (Hint: Medical-grade coolers are key.)
- Evolving the business model to respond to naturally generated business channels.
- Keeping breast-feeding as a personal decision in a judgment-free zone.
- About Data: Are women nursing longer as a result of MilkStork? Anecdotally, women who are road warriors really appreciate the support.
- Dr. Dweck’s thoughts on what was available to nursing moms prior to MilkStork’s model and how little tracking is available to OB-GYN’s after six-week postpartum visits.
- MilkStork offers many resources and verticals to help women find their comfort level as far as length of nursing and the many factors in decision-making.
- Objectification: Taking the shame and taboo away from breastfeeding moms.
- Partnerships and what’s ahead for MilkStork, including hospital-grade milk pumps across workplace environments and improved child care options and services for surrogates.
- Kate’s advice for would-be entrepreneurs, particularly in the FemTech space.
How Kate refuels her tank when juggling as fast as she can? Letting go of control and being mindful, staying present rather than projecting and predicting.
Quotes from Kate Torgensen
(03:45) – “I went into (having) twins confident that I would just slay breast-feeding, but it was really hard.”
(04:48) – “Creating extra milk is not an easy feat. And it’s especially not an easy feat when you’re doing it by the gallon.”
(05:55) – “It was just humiliating and frustrating. I got on a plane pretty angry and came back the next day saying, ‘I should solve this.’ ”
(07:52) – “I knew enough moms going through TSA to know it was a pain point. Every mom had a story of having trouble with travel and breast-feeding.”
(10:02) – “We focus on refrigerated milk because it’s so hard to get a freezer in a hotel room. Most moms are dealing with maybe getting a refrigerator. Getting access is difficult.”
(11:22) – “(Coolers) get overnighted home and there’s still a good amount of time on the clock.”
(12:25) – “Moms are really the ones making the business case.”
(14:01) – “My goal was to set up logistics that enable women to make decisions instead of … unintentionally having them made for them.”
(15:39) – “People who are in sales or consultants, who are really road warriors, those folks really face a tough pumping journey.”
(17:51) – “I want to make an overall statement that (nursing) isn’t for everybody. It’s not for everybody for years on years … There are two sides of the coin.” (Dr. Dweck)
(21:02) – “When a woman is pumping, the investment she is putting into that milk is her time, time away from her job, love … It’s a marathon.”
(22:05) – “Let’s understand the investment that mom is making and let’s meet her. Her time is valuable and we need to understand that.”
(26:52) – “(In an entrepreneurial venture), you just keep going. It’s kind of like motherhood. How many times have you wondered how you’re going to get through something … and done it?”
(31:27) – “Find a wave that you can ride that’s going to excite you and then worry about the more complicated business model and market research.”