Hitting The Mark
Conversations with founders and investors about the intersection of brand clarity and startup success with your host, brand strategist and author Fabian Geyrhalter.
EP031 – Kate Torgersen, Founder & CEO of Milk Stork
Kate Torgersen is in the niche business of facilitating the overnight shipping of breast milk for business traveling mums, or “Mom Badassery” as she calls it. Kate’s story of mom-led innovation and entrepreneurship has been covered in outlets such as the Today Show, TIME, Forbes, People, NPR, and Fortune.
Her brand Milk Stork is direct, bold and loved by moms, businesses and the press alike and has been named one of the Most Innovative Companies of 2019 by Fast Company. Today, you will find out why.
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F Geyrhalter: Welcome to the show, Kate.
K Torgersen: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
F Geyrhalter: Oh, absolutely. It’s so great to have you. The way I actually got to know you and Milk Stork, and we talked about this a little bit prior to hitting record, was at an NPR event where I was actually a mentor and in between my sessions, I saw you on stage interviewing the unbelievably charming founders of Clif Bar. I was so taken by that heartfelt and insightful conversation, since you were a Clif Bar employee. And then you split off with your own venture and they were very supportive of that journey. Right?
K Torgersen: Absolutely. Yeah. I actually started Milk Stork on a Clif Bar business trip.
F Geyrhalter: That makes so much sense.
K Torgersen: Yeah. So I worked at Clif Bar since 1998. And after having my twins, I was, my twins are my second and third babies, but I also have an older baby, so I have three kids altogether and I-
F Geyrhalter: And Milk Stork.
K Torgersen: Yeah, and Milk Stork, my fourth baby. But I had to go on a business trip and with the twins, I was really committed to breastfeeding. I had breastfed my first child for 18 months and I wanted to give the twins everything that my first kid had. But with breastfeeding twins it’s really hard. I mean, it’s tandem nursing. We had a bunch of issues with getting one of the twins to latch and weight gain issues. So by the time this business trip came up, it really felt like the stakes were high because the twins had never had formula at that point. They were exclusively on breast milk and I just didn’t know how I was going to do the business trip and deal with this breastfeeding situation. So yeah, it was started on a Clif Bar business trip. Obviously Clif Bar, Gary and Kit, the owners of Clif Bar, that culture is so accepting of parenthood and supportive of parenthood. I could have easily said that I wasn’t going to take the trip or I would rather not take the trip. But for me it was important to take the trip and not miss out on opportunities that I cared about professionally. So I went on that trip. I lugged two gallons of breast milk home.
F Geyrhalter: Oh, my God.
K Torgersen: Pumped throughout the trip. And I came back from that trip and I was like, “I’ve got to figure out a way to fix this.” That really was a page out of Gary’s, Gary Erickson, the founder Clif Bar, a page out of his book. It’s literally probably a page out of his book, that if you have an idea, you just need to chase it down relentlessly and not let go of it, not leave it in the dust.
F Geyrhalter: And they were super supportive when you said, “Look, I have to do this.”
K Torgersen: Yeah. Yeah. I continued for many, many years? A couple years I would say. I was working full time at Clif Bar. My kids were three years old and under for a good part of that, five years old and under. And I was working on Milk Stork at night after they went to bed.
F Geyrhalter: May that be a good lesson for all the listeners who say, “Ah, I’ve got a day job. I can’t start a startup. It’s too difficult.”
K Torgersen: Yeah, I mean-
F Geyrhalter: Add a pair of twins to that.
K Torgersen: Yeah, I have to say, I mean there was a couple of years where there was really no sleep. I was going to bed at probably, if I was lucky, the kids would go to bed at eight, if they actually stayed in their beds and then I would work till one or two. But it’s funny looking back, I was so fueled by the idea and solving the idea that… And so absent of sleep already in my life, thanks to the kids, that I don’t remember that as that push on the sleepless nights. But it’s definitely not something that you can do forever. But in the beginning, I think you have that kind of gas and that gas in your tank that’s just propelling you to do it. And that part was really exciting.
F Geyrhalter: And, I mean it seems to me like it’s a natural, it’s somehow a natural gift from above that when you are a mom or any parent, right? You can survive these first sleepless years.
K Torgersen: Yeah.
F Geyrhalter: It’s just something that suddenly you’re on the, like you said, you’ve got that extra gas. And you used that gas tank fully for everything.
K Torgersen: Yeah, I didn’t have any free time and I was so captured by inspiration and so, I already had the endurance and grit that they came with motherhood. So it was kind of the opportune time. I don’t know if I would’ve had that same kind of depth of grit if the idea had come a few years later or certainly not earlier.
F Geyrhalter: And so for those of us who are not as familiar with the entire breastfeeding process and what goes into it and why it is actually so important to feed babies breast milk versus those hundreds of formulas that are out there or whatever. Right? And the idea of how difficult it is actually to travel with breast milk. Can you kind of give us an idea of how this is a real important niche that you are filling?
K Torgersen: Yeah, so I think, the pain point of breastfeeding is that it’s relentless. Moms who are breastfeeding or pumping every three hours, many of them are trying to make it to one year of having their kids on breast milk. And that’s in the US that’s the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation is six months of exclusive breastfeeding and 12 months with breast milk as their primary source of nutrition, in addition to the introduction of solids. But what’s interesting and amazing about breastfeeding and the reason you have to do it every three hours is that it’s a supply and demand relationship. So the baby sets the supply for the mom. And if you miss a nursing session or you miss a pumping session, the woman’s body responds to that dip in demand by producing less milk. And once you kind of disrupt that and your milk supply can start going down. And it’s very hard to get it back. For me, breastfeeding was important, not just for the nutritional element, but for the attachment of it. And I didn’t want to lose that connection with my kids. And I think, moms breastfeed for a lot of different reasons. Some moms are doing it for nutrition, some monitoring it for attachment. But I think ultimately the thing that was, that’s been important to me in starting Milk Stork is that it should be up to the mom and the decision to breastfeed or not breastfeed shouldn’t have anything to do with her career. It should be exclusively a relationship with her and her baby. And weaning, I just, it breaks my heart when women are weaning before they’re ready or before they kind of want to end that relationship. I just, it should be on their terms.
F Geyrhalter: And that was part of a Milk Stork, you also turned into an advocate for breastfeeding friendly policies overall, right? At the workplace.
K Torgersen: Yeah. I think with breastfeeding, it’s something that’s invisible to the kind of the larger community, especially in the workplace. You’re usually do it, you’re doing it every three hours. You’re stepping away to do it. You’re stepping sometimes into a bathroom. If you’re lucky, you’re stepping into a conference room or a lactation room that has a lock and it’s set up for you. But it’s outside kind of the gaze of the workplace culture. And for a lot of women that kind of, that invisibility of it makes it hard to advocate for because you kind of have to explain this relationship, there’s a lot of education that goes into explaining why you need a private room, what you’re going to be doing. But I think at the same time, 50% of the workforce is female. Actually, I just saw an article that women are now, it’s like tipping over 50%, women in the workforce.
F Geyrhalter: Wow.
K Torgersen: So, and most women, most moms are working moms. So this is a real pain point for a large part of the employee population.
F Geyrhalter: Absolutely. And for the listeners who know me by now, I’m such a big proponent of niche brands that actually wholeheartedly connect with a very overlooked segment. And I’m, on the other hand, I’m also super obsessed with startups that create their own category, which are very, very few to many who say they do. But most of them don’t disrupt the category or start a category to just barely fit in. But you actually, you’re both, I mean, you’re on the one hand, you’re a big… You’re, this is perfect. There’s actually an ambulance in the back. I’m going to cut this up. Okay. I’m going to start this over.
K Torgersen: Perfect.
F Geyrhalter: Oh, perfect. And for those of you who listen to me a lot, they actually noted I’m a big proponent of niche brands that wholeheartedly connected with an overlooked segment. And I’m also obsessed with startups that create their own category. And they’re very few of those. But you, Kate, are actually both. I mean, you launched a company that specializes in the facilitation of overnight shipping of breast milk for business traveling moms. I mean, that’s just about as niche as it gets. Right?
K Torgersen: Yeah.
F Geyrhalter: I absolutely, I love that. And I mean, you had the epiphany out of a need and I heard you talk about this on another show. You basically when the airplane touchdown, you said, “You know what, I’m never going to do that again. And things need to change.” And you literally got to work right after. But what is even more interesting to me is that when you officially, and I don’t know what that word really means when you launch a company, because there are so many phases, but when you actually decided to push, right? And have the company be publicly out there and you start emailing and you start putting it out there and at that time it didn’t take very long for it to actually catch on. Right? I mean it was pretty instant that people said, “Oh, I needed this.” Or even employers saying, “You know what? I want this to become a benefit.”
K Torgersen: Right. It was instant. It was, we launched in August of 2015. My co-founder is actually my father and we essentially kind of flipped the switch on the website. We had spent a good nine or 10 months building out the kind of eCommerce platform and all the logistics of how this would work. So we flipped the switch on the website and we kind of just sat there and then an order came in. And then another order came in. And we’re just like, “Oh my God, now we have to fulfill these orders.”
F Geyrhalter: Now what?
K Torgersen: Now what? How are we going to do this?
F Geyrhalter: Tell me, this is fascinating. So, you didn’t do any push besides literally launching the site or did you already-
K Torgersen: I did a press release.
F Geyrhalter: Okay.
K Torgersen: That was it. So we launched the site and my background was in PR and communications and we put out a press release. I did send that that release out into my own media relations and sent it out to a bunch of reporters. We did get an article with, I think it was within two weeks with Fortune Magazine.
F Geyrhalter: Wow.
K Torgersen: And so that got-
F Geyrhalter: Then you know.
K Torgersen: [crosstalk 00:12:09] Then within, also within two weeks after that article went, we got a call from one of the largest consulting firms in the world saying that they wanted to bring us on as an employee benefit for their North American employees.
F Geyrhalter: Unbelievable.
K Torgersen: And I took that call in my minivan in the childcare parking lot at Clif Bar and I just said, “Okay, yeah, we’ll figure it out.” And they wanted to launch in 30 days. And we did not have an enterprise kind of set up. I really thought it was going to be hard to explain breast milk shipping to companies and employers and advocate for that. So I knew that going direct to moms was the first place that we were going to go and we’re like, “Okay, we’ll figure out enterprise later.” But that happened way faster than we ever, ever expected. And by the end of that year, we had five enterprise clients and that included two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
F Geyrhalter: Yeah. I mean just to visualize that idea of, “Oh good, you’ve got three or four clients that are enterprises instead of moms.” I mean the amount of orders that you get because of that, it’s just mind blowing. Right?
K Torgersen: Yes.
F Geyrhalter: I mean, you’re going directly to the source. You don’t have to advocate, you don’t have to get one mom at a time. And I mean, to be honest, it’s not cheap either, right?
K Torgersen: No.
F Geyrhalter: I mean, shipping breast milk is not cheap. I guess it’s like somewhere at 170 or something like that. I don’t know. I heard that number, but it’s pretty, it’s not inexpensive. So for moms to say, “Oh yeah, that’s not a problem. I’m going to spend, I don’t know, 200, 400 depending on how long the trip is, dollars on my baby’s health.” That is a really, really big expense. But for employers it is kind of a no brainer because what happens in the background is, those are individuals that have been with the company, some of them for a pretty long time, very loyal and then suddenly this life event happens. A very positive life event. That weirdly enough when it comes to work is actually not so much of a positive life event. Right? And so you’re struggling with that and then you want to be loyal, but the more that companies can give moms, new moms a reason to stick with the company and to be loyal. I mean it’s a huge benefit. Those 170 bucks or whatever it is, that’s nothing.
K Torgersen: Yeah. It’s what happened almost immediately, which I don’t think I could’ve ever, it didn’t occur to me that this was going to happen, but I’m so glad that it did. And I think it’s, I guess I had underestimated employers in the beginning and their desire to support working women. But what ended up happening, which is amazing, is that women started using Milk Stork and then rightfully asking their employers to reimburse them. And feeling empowered to do that. And I think there’s a couple of things that were happening. One, it was a millennial workforce that was asking for it. And these are women and parents who are incredibly informed, probably the most informed generation of parents to walk the face of the earth.
F Geyrhalter: Right. Right, because of all the resources that they have at their fingertips today.
K Torgersen: Yeah, so and they have very high expectations for work life balance. It’s also, it was on the, Me Too was happening and so women were speaking up about the realities of the workplace for them. And there was just a strong collective voice of women. And I think the other incredible thing was that women who needed Milk Stork were going to HR, which has a very high, as a profession, very high population of women. Going to somebody in HR who had experienced this pain point themselves, most likely or knew the challenges of returning to work and breastfeeding. And that HR person then became a firebrand within their company to help onboard the benefit.
F Geyrhalter: That’s all they look for is more benefits that are crystal clear for people to understand why it would make sense to have them for leadership. And it makes so much sense. And I love that now on your website you are actually having these letters, like at conferences when you’re an employee and you want to go to a conference and there’s letters on the conference website of like, “Hey, this is why I need to go. This is why you need to sponsor it.” You have actual letters for HR, which it is a little bit different than when you go to a conference because when the whole idea of breastfeeding at a workplace is actually, it’s very uncomfortable. It’s a strange situation for someone to be in. And then to ask for a reimbursement around that in that entire, it can be awkward for people to have to go to, I mean in smaller companies to their boss and just explain everything. Right?
K Torgersen: Yeah, I think to go to someone who’s never lactated themselves and ask.
F Geyrhalter: Like any male CEO.
K Torgersen: Yeah. Or even women who have not experienced breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is so weird because you don’t really know what goes into it until you’ve done it. Or you’ve seen a spouse or partner do it.
F Geyrhalter: And I say right, not as in affirmative, but I don’t know. I’m on that side. Right? But, I am an employer and I did have those instances and it is extremely strange to work around it and trying to find solutions that feel like they’re comfortable for everyone. Right? It’s not easy, especially when you’re a two, three, four or five people shop. Right? It’s not like you can create an entire infrastructure around it. Let’s talk a little bit more about the Milk Stork brand. Like actually many of the successful brand founders that I have on Hitting The Mark. You mentioned you come from a marketing background too, I think at Clif Bar, the last position that you held was that of an executive communications and speechwriter. So I am wondering how much of Milk Stork’s tone of voice and copy actually comes from you? Or did you have an agency or writer who’s who’s in charge of the brand voice at this point?
K Torgersen: When one of the first things, it was funny when you were, earlier we were talking about what is starting a company even mean? What does that process look like?
F Geyrhalter: Right.
K Torgersen: One of the first things that I did was come up with the name because I think for me too, once you have that idea, putting a name makes you accountable to it. So it made it real and it made the idea not disappear into dust. It made it concrete. So coming up with a name that continued to inspire me as I was going to build the company was critical. So it was literally the first thing that we did. When I said, when my dad and I got going, I was, I kept texting him. I’m like, “What do you think of this name? What do you think of this name?” And then just, I think it was maybe two days after I had even had the idea, I came up with Milk Stork. And then-
F Geyrhalter: Which by the way is brilliant, not to interrupt you, but it’s a brilliant name.
K Torgersen: It was important for it to be visual to me. I’m a very visual person and I wanted it to be kind of visual, but I also want it to be, so that when I knew that this category didn’t exist and so it had to kind of explain also what the service was. And then we immediately got to work on the branding. And we did hire, I mean we didn’t have a ton of money, I think we each put in like 25… No, we each put in $12,000 in the beginning. Something like that. And probably 3,000 of that went to hire somebody to help us come up with the branding, like the logo, the logo type, all of that. So it was-
F Geyrhalter: And tone of voice and all of that was that still you writing at the beginning and-
K Torgersen: Yeah.
F Geyrhalter: Okay, okay.
K Torgersen: I mean it is, it was a direct extension of me. And a lot of that came from my experience at Clif Bar. I mean, Clif Bar is a direct, it’s a direct link to Gary and Kit and their values and that’s a company where your brand is really about your integrity. And so that’s kind of the lens that I was coming at Milk Stork with.
F Geyrhalter: Absolutely. And I would love for anyone to actually look a little bit deeper into the Clif Bar brand because most people don’t, right? Most people have a Clif Bar. They didn’t look too deep into the brand. But it is really, really fascinating. And just to touch on something that you said before, because it happens so rarely, but I really, but I think it is so important. When you said that you came up with the name first and it was the driver because it made it real and it made it feel like, “Okay, now did I have that I’m almost there.” It’s like this naive idea of your brain where it’s like, “Oh my God, it’s now, it’s real. It can be real. I can see it in front of me.” To create something that’s very descriptive, a very descriptive name. Usually for a lot of founders, startup founders that are listening, that are in the very, very early stages of their startup. It is a dangerous route unless you’re in Kate’s position because you knew exactly your offering. You knew you wouldn’t expand like this is it, right? It is about shipping breast milk. That’s it, right? There’s nothing more, nothing less. I work with a lot of founders that say, “Yeah, you know, we’re in the business of X.” But then really two months later they’re in the business of Y, right? But they already created a name and they didn’t fall in love with the name. But then, after a year they have to change it because it is too descriptive. But you are one of those instances where it actually works so well. And it can fuel the entire journey. And Milk Stork is a very direct, a very bold brand which is quite apparent as you agree that by a large image of if very hip models slash mom breastfeeding on milkstork.com. So, I invite all listeners to check it out on milkstork.com since it is really making a very clear brand statement by solely using a photo and the header for moms on a mission. So in that particular very prominent image there is more attitude and self confidence than there’s joy or relief. And I feel this did not happen by accident, since there was a certain attitude that breastfeeding moms need in order to ask the employer for reimbursement or to stand their ground publicly. Right? Then in my humble opinion, it perfectly caters to driven, career oriented moms. So, how did that art direction of that photo shoot and did this overall brand that we have today, not the brand that it was a couple of years ago, but today, how did that shape up and how did it change over the years?
K Torgersen: Yeah, so when we first launched we actually went through, we have since gone through a rebrand. But when we first launched we, I wanted it to be something that moms could be proud of. I wanted Milk Stork to be something that they, something that wasn’t, especially with a lot of branding in the mom space, you get a lot of cursive, you get a lot of pastels. And we did have kind of a pastel color in the beginning. But as the brand kind of evolved, we saw that moms were posting on social media and using the Milk Stork box as a badge of honor. Like, “Went to a conference.” They were so proud to have been able to keep breastfeeding. That was a really clear signal to us that Milk Stork, we needed it to be the badge of honor that moms deserve. And so that’s played a big role in the branding. I think the other big role that’s that we’ve, the other big direction with branding is that I want to show real images of moms. Moms are not this kind of cookie cutter, cardigan image that we’ve seen for so long. We want to show diverse representations of motherhood, of families, of breastfeeding. And for us it’s all about real moms. So all of our models are real moms. That woman really is breastfeeding her child and we don’t want moms to have to apologize for breastfeeding. They are, moms are badass and they should be treated as such.
F Geyrhalter: Totally. And it’s a very empowering brand I think overall and that comes through. And I did not want my statement to be misleading about the model slash mom on the homepage because as you go deeper into the brand, it gets extremely diverse and I loved that very photorealistic and life realistic and Zeitgeist, on par with to the Zeitgeist photography, because I think it is really leading your brand in a certain way. But now that you went, so first of all, you work with Clif Bar, you must’ve gained a lot of amazing brand insights while working there and now having started very successfully, Milk Stork over the last couple of years and seeing it grow and going through that rebranding effort. What does branding mean to you today?
K Torgersen: Even today, branding is, it’s a reflection of my promise. My promise, my accountability to our moms and our clients. I think it’s a reflection of our commitment and integrity. And I also think we are not the only ones that own the Milk Stork brand. Our moms and our companies own it. Branding is fueled by love and connection and it’s when moms are posting boxes, their boxes of Milk Stork, they own the brand as much as I do. And for them it is a reflection of their commitment to their family and to their ambition. So it’s a community, the branding becomes like the hub of our community. It’s the heart and soul of our company.
F Geyrhalter: And that is exactly what I always preach. Just as you said it really, really well and in a different way, but the heart and soul, that’s what a brand is. That’s what it comes down to. But I love the idea that it’s fueled by love. That’s when you know you have a brand when it keeps giving back at all times and you put something out and it keeps giving back. Was there a time early on where, you did surveys, or you asked moms or you kind of like an early customer data and you said, “You know what I’m going to do, I’m going to totally go against what I just heard.” If a staff would have said moms and employers are not willing to spend $170 on shipping breast milk ever, that’s not going to happen. Or was there anything like that where you heard some, resentment or you got some data and you’re like, “You know what? I hear you, but I’m going the totally opposite direction.” You were successful doing so.
K Torgersen: In the early days I got a lot of sideways looks when I was trying to find vendors or getting corporate insurance and they’re like, “Oh, making a company that ships breast milk. Why would you want to ship breast milk?” So, I did not do a lot of customer research because at that point I really was the consumer myself. I was a working mom who had to travel and I was trying to breast feed my twins. And I was living and breathing it with all of my friends who were also having kids and trying to maintain their commitment to their careers. So I wasn’t lacking for data. I think it was all qualitative coming from the people that I, that were in my work, my circle. But I can’t tell you how many times I got the look. When I’m saying, “Oh, I’m going to start a breast milk shipping company.” And getting that look of like, “What the hell are you talking about?” It still happens. If I meet somebody and they’re like, “Oh, what do you do?” “Oh, I started my own company. We ship breast milk.” You just get that look of like, “That’s absurd.” I get it all the time. I still get it.
F Geyrhalter: Yeah, no, I know. I’m sure. I’m sure. What is… I think this is directly linked to the brand conversation we had a minute ago and I think I might have an idea of what it could be and you know this coming up because I forewarned you, but I love that idea of when you create a brand, and for me personally, when I create print strategies with my clients. To kind of at the end of the day to really sit together and think about, “If there’s only one word that we could use to describe our brand or maybe two, right? What would it be?” It’s kind of like, in a way, people say the North star, they call it brand DNA, but really it’s like that singular word that would encompass everything. Like the philosophy, the design, what do you call the heart and soul, that the love of a brand. What would be that one word for Milk Stork?
K Torgersen: Yeah. It’s really, it’s a made up word. It’s mom badassery. Yeah, I don’t know how else, it’s almost more of a feeling than it is a word.
F Geyrhalter: It is a lot like mom empowerment, but just much more badass.
K Torgersen: Yeah. Yeah. I always say that working breastfeeding moms are like star athletes. They have this incredible physical commitment that they have made, this incredible kind of mental commitment that they’ve made, they have this kind of deep well of grit. I mean, if you think of how many times if you’re breastfeeding five to eight times a day and doing it for a year, it’s a huge venture of endurance. So I think they’re complete warriors.
F Geyrhalter: Absolutely. Absolutely. No, I absolutely agree with you. And it’s really, really great to see a company like yours make it and make it so quickly and be… I mean, you are, at this point, it’s not only moms who come with open arms, it’s Fast Company named you one of the most innovative companies for last year. And the press as much as employers are running towards the brand with open arms. So yes, on the one hand you hit the Zeitgeist perfectly for a lot of reasons. But even if you wouldn’t have, even if this would have happened 10 years ago, it would have still taken off, it would’ve just taken longer. But I’m really grateful for what you’re doing and even more so from a brand perspective, how you do it. It takes a lot to understand and with your rebranding, I’m sure a lot of that happened, to understand what the actual essence is of a brand like yours. And the mom badassery is exactly that. I heard you say this and I’m not sure where but, you said, and I’m solely paraphrasing, and you can correct me, “When you become a mom, you figure out what you do on the go, yet you’re expected to be an expert on everything from the get go that has to do with that child.”
K Torgersen: Yeah.
F Geyrhalter: And I think entrepreneurship is a lot like that. And I love that idea that, and everyone says, “Well yeah, if you have a company it’s like it’s like your new baby.” But, really that, how you actually explained that, and that is always the strange thing becoming a parent and it’s like suddenly you have to be the expert on every single thing about bringing up a kid and what a kid needs. And I mean, there are so many multifaceted elements to it and it is very much like entrepreneurship. Now that you went through this and you had to become an expert at everything or be smart about it and outsource as much as you can before you grow.
K Torgersen: I like that.
F Geyrhalter: It’s kind of like that’s the toddler stage, right? At that point you can actually, all right now we have a real human being we can do something with and we can outsource certain elements. It’s very much with a startup. It’s really hilarious to actually think about that parallel, year after year. Do you have one piece of brand advice for founders, perhaps even female founders, as a takeaway from everything that you’ve learned in the last years? I mean, it must be a massive amount, but is there something where you just feel like, “You know what, this is something that I learned and I would love to share that with people.”
K Torgersen: Well, one is kind of just a, I think if you, to those who are setting forth to start something or have an idea for something, it sounds so incredibly silly, but get your logo. Get a logo that you… Get, make it so you can see it. So you can see this thing that you’re going to create. You can hold it. And I, one of the first things we did was we made business cards and it sounds, but it, it sounds so silly, but it was such a kind of talisman almost for making it, for kind of holding that and holding the inspiration in my pocket. Kind of my secret side hustle that I was working on. So that’s one thing. And that I think the other thing is that you just have to make your brand contagious. The branding has to be, you have to love it, it has to move you, it has to make you feel really proud about what you’re doing. And if it’s not doing that, then I don’t think it’s hitting the mark. It should be a reflection of your pride in your endeavor.
F Geyrhalter: I love everything you said, including the pun at the end with Hitting The Mark. So thank you for that. That is, no, that is absolutely correct. And I did hear you say somewhere else too that you advised founders to first do what they really love. So meaning, you’re going to have, like with a baby, right? There are 40,000 things you can be doing, right? What is the thing that you actually really enjoy, master that. So if you actually come from marketing and if you actually enjoy that, and I’m sure that’s why you’re so driven behind the idea of first they came up with the name, then I created the logo, then I put it in the business card. And like all of this kind of like fueled you to keep going. Some others might really enjoy the idea of solving operations, which I know for a company like yours must’ve been a huge thing, right?
K Torgersen: Yeah.
F Geyrhalter: But, but everyone has their thing and whatever their thing is just to not get sidetracked but all the other 20,000 puzzle pieces that they need to put together. But just focus on one thing you really enjoy and do it first for your company because it’s going to fuel you to keep going. And I think that’s really wise and it’s really important. And I love that you said that on another show. Listeners, many of whom will not happen to be in the stage of breastfeeding at this point or will ever get there. But many actually own their own businesses and I’m sure many fell in love with what you do. What would you like for them to be doing right this minute to support or benefit from your venture?
K Torgersen: I just think, let’s all together work to normalize breastfeeding. So if you see a woman breastfeeding in public… I think there’s so much imposed shame with breastfeeding, unfortunately. And I think we all have to kind of check ourselves on that. So I just, my hope is that, that there’s an understanding of how challenging that first year of parenthood is, especially from others. It’s hard for dads too, for sure and partners as well. But for moms in particular, give that mom a high five because she is, if she’s just had a baby and she’s in the trenches and she’s doing an incredibly important job. So I just think give credit where credit is due.
F Geyrhalter: That’s great. Yep, absolutely. And go to milkstork.com
K Torgersen: I think the other thing is, yeah, if you are still working in a company and they are not offering family friendly benefits or they are looking to, every company should offer Milk Stork if they have traveling employees. Moms should never pay for Milk Stork when they’re traveling for work. Never ever, ever. Their company should.
F Geyrhalter: Kate, thank you so much for having been on the show. I think every listener and myself, we now know how busy obviously, your life is with numerous babies including Milk Stork. Thanks for having been on the show. I’m so lucky right now that I have had only female entrepreneurs and founders on the show for as long as I can think of. I think for the last like 10 or 15 episodes, it’s so great. But we appreciate your time and your insights and I’m really excited to, no pun intended to see Milk Stork takeoff even more in the future.
K Torgersen: Thank you so much. It’s been a complete joy to be on.
F Geyrhalter: Thank you. I appreciate it.