Emily Kane Loves Milk and Cookies—But Not in The Way You’d Expect
by Rachel Warrick
Ever wish your
problems could be solved with a cookie? Emily Kane, mother of three and the CEO
and founder of Milkmakers, thought the same thing to herself seven years ago
when she was pregnant with her youngest child.
“My milk supply
started to go down and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to provide enough
milk for my baby. A lactation consultant told me about lactation cookies and I
was amazed by the results,” Kane says. This revelation sparked Kane’s idea to
fill the underserved market of lactation consumables. Although her company
started as a passion project based out of her own kitchen, it quickly evolved
into something much bigger.
officially launched in 2010 with a simple but powerful mission: to empower
women through breastfeeding. They offer delicious lactation cookies and teas to
support mothers during what is often a very challenging time. Their products
are preservative free and crafted with only premium, all-natural
Kane sits down
with Mom.me to discuss how she and her family have made it their goal to make
sure mothers and babies around the globe have access to quality maternal care
and guidance … and cookies.
As a mother as well as the CEO and
founder of Milkmakers, how do you make it all work?
I'm a big
believer in the idea that you can do anything, but you can't do everything—at
least, not all at once. I don't believe in “leaning in” (sorry, Sheryl Sandberg) because I don't think
you can always just fake it ‘til you make it. Sometimes, it's important to
acknowledge when something isn't working for you and it's perfectly OK to
say no. I know for me, it's been crucial to determine what to say yes to and what
to say no to, and you have to make sure the timing is right too. I've gotten
really good at saying no to things that do not add value to me or my family's
life. I also have an amazing support system at work and at home. My husband,
Matt, is a great partner and parent. My parents live close by and are always
there for us (I couldn't have launched Milkmakers without them). Over the years,
we've also had several great childcare providers who have cared for our kids
with love and kindness. And, from the beginning, I've had an incredible team at
Milkmakers who work with me to support other moms on their breastfeeding
When did you first feel successful?
Early on, when
Milkmakers was still relatively new on the market, a mom stopped me while I was
out and about to say she recognized me from the back of Milkmakers' cookie
packaging. She shared how Milkmakers had helped to increased her milk supply,
but more than that she shared how Milkmakers products and messaging had
encouraged her as a mom. The fact that she would take the time to stop me and
share that with me meant the world to me. And, I considered that moment (and
many others like it since) to be the biggest determining factor in my success.
I set out to help other moms, and I now know that I've accomplished that goal!
Has there been anything about creating
Milkmakers that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
moms on their birth and breastfeeding journey has always been a passion of
mine. But, since founding Milkmakers, I have grown more and more deeply
committed to making sure all moms and babies have access to quality maternal
care. I've increasingly dedicated my time and money to great organizations like
Open Arms Perinatal Services (here in my hometown of Seattle) and Clinic
at a Time, a maternal health initiative in rural Ethiopia. Last
summer, I traveled to Ethiopia with my two daughters, to see the work Clinic at
a Time was doing firsthand. It was an incredible experience to see the work of
this amazing organization and to be a part of it in some small way.
As a successful female entrepreneur, what are
some ways that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
A big reason why
I founded Milkmakers was for my family. I want my kids to see that they can do
anything they set their minds to—and I don't want to just tell them that, I
want to show them that! I talk openly and often about what I'm working on at
Milkmakers and I've invited my kids into the process at every step of the way.
My kids have gone with me to the Milkmakers' bakery, to business meetings and
conventions and even accompanied me on my trip to Ethiopia to work alongside
me in volunteering with Clinic at a Time. My experiences as a business owner
are not in spite of the fact that I'm a mom, they're because of it! I want them
to see and know that women (and mothers, in particular) have so much to offer
the world, precisely because of their unique perspectives and experiences.
What's your advice for moms who are looking
to start their own business?
Just do it! I
love to encourage other moms who are looking to get their business ideas off
the ground. The world needs your creativity, your passion and your perspective.
I would also say you need to find your own network or your team. For me, it's a
group of other moms who are also entrepreneurs with breastfeeding related
products (we refer to each other as the “titty committee”). We all started our
businesses around the same time, and we've spent the past 10 years sharing
insights, industry knowledge, support and resources with one
another. Just a few weeks ago, I hosted some of the “committee” moms and
their families at our beach house on Camano Island. It was so much fun to spend
time together as families and to relax and reflect together on how far we've
all come personally and professionally.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom
and business owner to keep everything in balance?
Over the years,
there are seasons where I have had to put my social life on hold—where I've
had to work long hours, work late into the night or work weekends. I don't necessarily
see those things as “sacrifices” because I love what I do, but it does take a
lot of resources (financial and otherwise) to get a product off the ground. I
believed in, and continue to believe in, Milkmakers. So, for me, those
sacrifices are absolutely worth it!
Are there any new initiatives or products on
the horizon for Milkmakers?
moms has always been such a huge part of what Milkmakers is all about. We've
always looked for new ways to help moms with the latest and greatest
breastfeeding resources and expert advice. This past spring, we launched a new
podcast for new moms called “Momrepublic.” I'm really excited about it, and I hope every new mom reading
will check it out. I am also so excited about a new
flavor that will hit the shelves this fall—let's just say, I'm addicted! Stay