As Jenna squeezed in boxes of disposable nursing pads into her luggage, she thought to herself - surely there was a way to create a leakproof maternity bra that was feminine & functional - all while being good for the environment...
It was here that Jenna had her lightbulb moment and decided to create exactly that - designing the must have maternity item: MUMMA MILLA.
From pregnancy, postpartum and beyond - Jenna has created a range of luxurious nursing intimates that are flattering, chic and allow you breastfeed with confidence.
So we invite you to sit back, pour a cup of tea and get to know our next mama muse //
Your bralettes are known for being a real gamechanger, giving Mother's comfort, style, and functionality. Tell us how MUMMA MILLA came to life?
MUMMA MILLA was born during my breastfeeding journey with my first born, George. I remember my ‘lightbulb’ moment vividly. It was George’s first winter and I was upstairs in our bedroom packing our suitcases for our trip away to Greece.
It was six months into my nursing journey and by that time I was well into the breastfeeding and baby swing of things. I ran my daily checklist of things I would need to pack: nappy cream, wet wipes, breast pumps, nursing pads.
I remember trying to squeeze in boxes of disposable nursing pads into limited luggage space. I wished for a bra with some sort of built-in pad that I could wash and rotate while away and finally say goodbye to my all-time pet-hate – disposable nursing pads.
Not only did the copious amounts of empty nursing wrappers in the bin not sit with me well from an environmental perspective, but the functionality of them really annoyed me too –how they would show through my clothes, fold in half after nursing or magically fall out and disappear. I did make the switch to washable bamboo rounds, but these would also move around and show through my clothing.
Personally, I was never really a traditional nursing bra girl. I found the clips fiddly, uncomfortable but also disliked how they would show through my clothing especially when wearing cami’s during the Summer.
I lived in seamless bralettes when I nursed – I found that pulling them up, down, to-the- side, was the easiest, quickest and the most comfortable for me.
Breastfeeding can be tricky at the best of times, plus all the extras that come with it if you’re expressing milk for your baby when you’re at work too. I remember always having to pack a bag with of all the gadgets –the pumps, the cords, the sterilised bottles, the milk bags, the new nursing pads – it was a lot to juggle. Part of that drive was to create a product that would allow a mum to worry about one less thing – and for me that was a win!
A huge congratulations on being crowned the "Number One Maternity Bra" in the market. How have you managed to get it so right?!
Research and development for MUMMA MILLA happened for nearly two years after my first son George was born. At the time, my mother and I were running Kale & Co an online superfood meal delivery business. It was during this time my second little boy Maxi was born in March 2021.
It was fortuitous I could test this product out whilst breastfeeding Maxi for sixteen months, as it really gave me an idea of true product functionality. There was no better way to test the product first hand which was a real plus.
My prototype development had a journey of its own too. I still have the very first ones, when my mother-in law kindly sewed in my initial leakproof fabrics into a bunch of bras for me to test out. I still have those hand sewn bralettes and they remind me of where it all started.
How has MUMMA MILLA evolved over the years?
Recently we released Collection 2.0 – our latest leakproof maternity intimates. The newest items – the Leakproof Cami, and the Leakproof Bandeau Bralette complement our first collection, but also offer subtle points of difference. MUMMA MILLA provides breastfeeding mums with chic and comfortable maternity options.
The designs are to take you pre, post and beyond birth with soft and buttery fabrics that are sustainable and eco-friendly.
The feedback we have received has been so rewarding and a source of inspiration to continually improve our designs. It’s really exciting to listen to the experiences mums are having during their breastfeeding journey and to try and help them step out in confidence with MUMMA MILLA.
What is the design process like for developing a product like yours?
The beginning of the MUMMA MILLA design process was tricky. At the time, there was no product like this on the market so it was very hard to find a manufacturer who could ‘see’ and understand my idea. Additionally, most of the product development happened during covid and lockdowns – so turnaround time was lengthy and there were a few unexpected delays.
For the designs, I used a lot of simple methods of hand drawing the shape, style, and functions I wanted the bra to include. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I knew exactly how I wanted them to be in my mind, so the hard part was to make those pieces come to life. I remember receiving my very first prototype and feeling very deflated as it was far from where I wanted them to be. I continued to re-design and fine-tune them and a few prototypes (and almost two years) later I was happy to head into bulk production with the very first collection.
You’re a mum of two beautiful little boys – what is your ultimate mum hack?
I feel very lucky that MUMMA MILLA was born along-side my two babies, who I just love to bits. Motherhood really is the hardest, most delightful thing I have ever done - some days I’m defeated, other days I feel productive and energised, but I know I’m trying my best so that is OK for me.
I’m lucky I have great family support around me, especially my husband who gives me great tips and guidance everyday. He pushes me, helps me think outside the box, and his media marketing expertise is wonderful. I also have my mum, who I ran our businesses with for nearly a decade – her moral support, accounting and logistics mind are invaluable.
The boys are growing up so quickly – so prioritising as much time with them during the day is important for me. When it comes to work, my schedule is not a 9 – 5 one. Days and eveningsare broken up into very segregated blocks of ‘work time’. Whilst Maxi sleeps, and George is either at Kindy or involved in a game of Lego, I try to get as productive as possible.
Hmmm...hacks…I’d say getting dinner ready over lunchtime to avoid having to cook during witching hour craziness is one trick I have up my sleeve. I’m a big fan of click-and collect groceries – add to cart, done!
Launching a business is a lot like having a baby! Do you have any advice for any mothers out there who have big dreams and want to take a leap of faith?
I agree, it’s a bit like having a baby! Just like a newborn, you will grow together over the journey, learn more about each other, and realise you may have sweated over some small things.
Having children definitely teaches you to become very good at multi-tasking, so having a business with a baby is a plus, because you’ll be great at juggling.
My advice is start small -
- Baby steps, think of a brand name, set up an ABN. Register your business name and also look into trademarks
- Create an Instagram account – and post some ‘mood board’ pictures for your own inspiration and direction.
- If you have limited budget there are options for you to create your own website. Shopify or Squarespace are wonderful platforms that have beautiful templates that you.
- Take a three day inDesign/Photoshop course. I did years and years ago, and it’s one of the best tools I have in my pocket.I have a Media, Marketing and Communications background, so I have taken those skills and continue to do all my graphic and content design for MUMMA MILLA – which is something I really enjoy doing.
- Take a skill you have from your previous line of work – and inject it into your new project, because no matter what the business, the foundation generally is the same.
How has babywearing helped you during your motherhood journey?
I absolutely loved baby wearing, especially with Maxi. It was a game-changer to have my two hands free, whilst running after Georgie.
Maxi in the carrier was useful at all times of the day – from going for a walk, hanging washing or vacuuming around the house.
My favourite thing about baby wearing was the minute Maxi was put inside his little ‘cocoon’ he fell asleep instantly. A pretty special way to take him back to his womb days and being able to feel his heartbeat against mine - heaven.