Taking it back to the beginning...where the idea for ReMana came from
Updated: May 26, 2021
When I had Aiden in 2013, I went back to a traditional office job around 4 months after having him and began pumping several times a day. Not only was it a lot to fit in during the workday, then I was also managing the milk at night that I had pumped during the day and prepping bottles for the next day. It felt endless. And this was a good situation by comparison! Nathan was super helpful and helped clean the pump parts and organized the freezer. Plus, I had an employer and boss that were supportive of pumping—rooms, calendar blocks and no questions asked. Some women are trying to pump between shifts, in a bathroom, and get their milk into bags that hopefully won’t leak. It was exhausting to me, at one of the more tired times in my life, and I felt like there just had to be a better solution than transferring liquid to plastic bags that spilled and leaked and then were thrown away.
Then came Avery 2.5 years later and I still hated the process but didn’t have capacity to really think through creating a solution. It was until I started my MBA at Harvard Business School in 2017 that I started to feel like it might be the right time for me to focus energy on this problem, and eventual solution. I knew when entering business school that I wanted to use the two years to explore what it takes to start a business, and to leverage as many resources from the Harvard community as possible to do so (more to come on this in a future post). So, I spent the first year of school participating in bootcamps and competitions, but not even with my own concept. It wasn’t until the summer after my first year of school that I carved out the time to focus solely on what this solution could look like, how to make it, and what it might take to bring it to market. That feels like an eternity ago!
When I sat down to think about solving this issue, I researched what existed and made an inventory of every gap that still existed based on the current products. I literally started hand drawing better solutions and talking it though with people. Enter the first piece of advice I received that changed the way I approached creating a solution for pumping mothers. Focus on the problem first before moving so quickly to what you think will fix it. Talk to as many people as possible about their experience without ever mentioning your solution or asking what they think of it. It took a lot of time, a whole summer and beyond, but it was easily the most informative thing I’ve done in this whole process. I did focus groups, large surveys, Facebook polls and 1:1 interviews. I spent months just understanding if other women felt the same way I did about the pumping and milk management process. Turns out they do! That’s when I knew I had to get serious about creating a solution. In my post next week, I’ll talk more about what the process around creating the solution looked like and how I continued to engage with other women along the way.
As I said last week, my goal in sharing where this idea came from and the journey to how I got where I am is to provide a glimpse into what launching a new consumer product is like. I am beyond appreciative if you’re reading this and staying engaged in this journey. Just a reminder, I am currently looking for beta users to test our first bottle system and would love to hear your feedback! Reach out if you are interested here on the website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org