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Nourishy: A Brisbane mom’s answer to prolonging breast milk benefits

As an entrepreneur there isn’t anyone to tell you how well you are doing or how much you have achieved so I feel it is really important to look at what has been accomplished or ticket off daily tasks and celebrate each small win.

Cass Wingrove

Meet Nourishy, the Aussie startup dreamt up by Cass Wingrove, a Brisbane mom of three. Cass knows the challenges of being a mom, especially when it comes to breastfeeding.

So, she set out to tackle a big concern for moms—how to make their precious breast milk last longer. Living the mom life herself, Cass gets the struggles, like wanting to keep all the good stuff in breast milk for as long as possible. That’s why she started Nourishy, not just as a business, but as a solution straight from a mom’s heart. With a user-friendly freeze-drying service, Nourishy transforms a mom’s milk into a portable powder, maintaining its goodness for three years. Cass and her team have set up a cosy facility in Brisbane, ensuring each mom gets a special shipping box. A smart tagging system follows every drop through the process, making it a smooth and magical transformation.

Dynamic Business recently chatted with Cass, diving into the story of Nourishy—how it all began and the ups and downs along the way.

The beginning

“I was expecting my third baby and chatting to my sister about the challenges around travelling with breast milk when she told me about the freeze-drying process available to mums in Canada. I thought it was the most brilliant idea,” Cass said, enthusiasm lighting up her face. Immediately, she started to research the concept, eager to bring this innovation to Australia, and she soon found out it was not.

She delved deeper into the concept, learning about the convenience and longevity it could bring to a mom’s frozen milk stash. “The more I researched, the more inspired I felt about making this service available to Aussie moms,” she recalled.

Nourishy is the official Australian partner of Milkify – the US-based breast milk freeze-drying service which has already helped over 4,000 families freeze-dry their breastmilk, and which attracted investment from Gwyneth Paltrow when it appeared on the US version of Shark Tank. 

“The decision to reach out to Milkify in the US to talk through a possible partnership was pivotal in making Nourishy go from ‘We love this concept’ to ‘How do we make this happen?’. As this was going to be a completely new service, market validation was extremely important, we put together surveys and did as much research into our target market as possible with what we had available. 

“Identifying and partnering with the right team in Queensland was crucial to our success in getting a customised facility setup and investing in the necessary technology to allow us to start freeze-drying and testing,” Cass said.

“We have also put a lot of systems in place to help build the business from the start with the mindset of scalability,” Cass explained. She acknowledged that the journey had taken longer at times, but she believed that the automation and planning invested now would yield significant benefits in the future.

“Even though freeze-drying is not a new concept,” Cass continued, “the idea of freeze-drying your breast milk is. So, it has been very important from a marketing aspect to provide as much education, research, and insight into the process as possible. Our goal is to reassure moms that their milk is safe throughout the entire freeze-drying process.”

Navigating the entrepreneurial landscape

Launching a new service, we emphasized market validation, conducting surveys and thorough research to gather insights within our available resources.

“We are the only breast milk freeze-drying service available in Australia,” Cass proudly stated, “although I am sure there will be others to follow. Our business has brought much-needed innovation to the storage, preservation, and transportation of frozen breast milk.”

Cass emphasized that to stay ahead, their primary focus would always be on Quality Assurance, with a commitment to maintaining the highest quality standards throughout the freeze-drying process. “We believe in continuous improvement,” she explained. “That’s why we are dedicated to ongoing investment in research and development, as well as embracing new technologies available to enhance our services.”

In addition to setting a high standard for quality, Cass expressed their intention to set the benchmark for other services in terms of regulatory compliance and safety within the freeze-drying industry. “We want to play a role in mapping out the standards that ensure the safety and well-being of the mothers who trust us with their precious breast milk,” she affirmed.

Overcoming hurdles

“We’ve faced many challenges,” Cass admitted, addressing the fear of failure and the complexities of entrepreneurship. Regulatory challenges were met with adaptability and expert partnerships. “One of the biggest hurdles was the fear of failing, especially transitioning from the stability of well-paid jobs to relocating to a new state with three small children and two dogs. However, every time we discussed these fears, the fear of watching someone else bring this to market if we did not go ahead was far worse.”

She acknowledged that setting up a business involving human consumables, particularly breast milk, posed significant challenges, primarily in navigating regulatory frameworks. “Being the first to market, it’s crucial for us to lead the way in following regulations,” Cass emphasised. “All our team members have their food and safety licenses, and our facility is meticulously set up to comply with all food safety regulations.”

In the face of each obstacle, Cass highlighted the importance of adaptability and partnering with the right experts in the respective fields. Cass highlighted the role of Mikifty, their partner, as a valuable sounding board in overcoming obstacles.

“Having the guidance and insight from our partner, Mikifty, as a sounding board has also provided a great deal of support,” she added, underscoring the collaborative effort that has been instrumental in overcoming the challenges encountered during the business setup.

Life lessons

Cass advised fellow entrepreneurs to be confident and adaptable, which is crucial for navigating evolving business landscapes. “Be confident in yourself and your ability to do great things,” Cass advised, her tone assured. “And being able to adapt as the business evolves and changes is key.”

Reflecting on the demands of entrepreneurship, Cass emphasized the importance of setting boundaries and prioritizing physical and mental health. “Being an entrepreneur can completely consume you, so it’s important to set boundaries and prioritize your physical and mental health. Your family is the most important piece of the puzzle, so fiercely protect it.”

Cass shared insights on the significance of building a strong network, both for business support and as a resource for learning. “Having a network to learn from when needed is crucial,” she affirmed.

“Acknowledging the tendency to focus on the ever-growing to-do list or challenges that haven’t worked out. As an entrepreneur, there isn’t anyone to tell you how well you are doing or how much you have achieved. So, I feel it is really important to look at what has been accomplished, tick off daily tasks, and celebrate each small win. This is what will help you keep going when it feels like you are climbing a mountain.”

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