Who better than the boss of Milk Away, Aurélie Nickmans, to tell us about trendy and durable nursing clothes. Interview.
Before the creation of Milk Away, did you have any knowledge of the textile industry ?
No, absolutely not! Everything is new for me in this adventure. It's a real challenge. Even though I come from a family of entrepreneurs, I never imagined that I would start my own business. When I met John, I quickly realized that we would be moving around a lot, traveling and expatriating too. I wanted to create a job, a project, that could travel with me and make me independent. I am an active person, I can't imagine myself doing nothing. I wanted to set up a project for myself, so that I would never find myself without anything. Then Doug, our son, was born and the idea finally came to me. My personal observation was that I could not find breastfeeding clothes on the market that matched my style, the quality I was looking for and my values. And Milk Away was born.
What makes Milk Away so successful?
This project I put together with my guts. All my heart. I am discovering myself as an entrepreneur and young mother. It's not easy every day. I am learning a lot, I am working a lot but I am really passionate about the project. I believe in it wholeheartedly. I'm also aware that I don't know how to do everything, I don't have the skills in everything, so I've surrounded myself with a great team, with lots of talents, and that makes all the difference.
What makes Milk Away nursing clothes different from the competition?
There are two main reasons. When I started my own brand, it was because I noticed a lack on the market. Breastfeeding clothes exist, from several brands, but each time I was disappointed by the cuts and the quality. The clothes were too loose, I didn't feel pretty, I didn't look my best and the fabrics didn't wash well, the colors faded, the fabrics were distorted. I felt like I was throwing my money away and over-consuming. The clothes Milk Away are thought as timeless, we have sweatshirts, tshirts, some dresses, the patterns and colors may vary according to the seasons but the cuts are thought to be always in fashion, comfortable and super practical. I wanted stylish basics. The other essential point is the environmental impact of Milk Away. Even today, few brands of nursing clothes are committed to this approach. I wanted a European production chain, I wanted certified fabrics, I wanted to produce quality clothes that would last through fashion and time, clothes that we would keep and wear even after breastfeeding. I tried to think about all aspects, even the plastic-free packaging. A way to throw away less, to consume less. This aspect really differentiates Milk Away from the competition. Not to mention the cool names of the creations which are a humorous nod to motherhood in general.
There are also the almost invisible pulls that make all the difference.
Indeed, since the objective of the Milk Away garments is to have a second life after breastfeeding, the cuts had to be adapted and the zippers invisible. People can't imagine the hours of work, the countless tests it took to achieve this result. The zippers are positioned on the seams and therefore almost invisible. The trick is that to make breastfeeding easy despite everything, without having to contort or strip if you don't want to, the seams have been moved forward and the zippers lengthened. I'm really proud of the result. The Milk Away garments can be worn during breastfeeding and even after. So the investment is worth it.
What is the cost of a garment Milk Away ?
The question of price is still a subject of debate, even if fortunately mentalities and consumer habits are changing. Yes, my creations are more expensive than fast-fashion. There are no secrets. I made the bet to address enlightened consumers, aware of current issues and willing to change things. The tank top is 45 € and the hoodie is 120 €. This is the right price for a real production ethic. It is the price of the remuneration of the textile workers' work, it is the price of certified fabrics, quality finishing, embroidered details, it is the price of the production in Europe and the consequence of the soaring textile prices of these last months. Our approach was to create the clothes we wanted. The right price was then calculated. More and more people understand this. We are going in the right direction.
What do you think are the essential criteria for a good nursing garment?
A well thought cut created by passionate people, practical, well placed and invisible zippers, a quality fabric that resists to time, an ethical production that limits its ecological impact and of course, from a Belgian brand (laughs!).
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