Mum made ‘six figures’ from her kitchen
WHEN Talissa Triffitt left her bank job to have her daughter, Milly, she thought a year's maternity leave would be enough.
But the 26-year-old Newcastle mum found that as her back-to-work date neared, she felt an increasing sense of dread.
"I was enjoying my new role as a mum so entirely and I just wasn't ready to return," she recalls.
So she requested another year off "to sort herself out" and her employer agreed.
Because they were relying solely on her partner's income, money was tight. And on top of that, Talissa was having issues breastfeeding.
To combat the problem she was having with producing enough milk, Talissa started to research lactation cookies (in case you've never stumbled across that term, they are cookies that are made with ingredients such as oats, flaxseed and brewer's yeast - ingredients all known to boost the milk supply of lactating women).
"I was at an absolute low with breastfeeding," recalls Ms Triffitt.
"I remember one day that was super rough ... I was trying to feed and she wasn't taking it - she was screaming, I was bawling my eyes out and I had to walk out of the room and take a few breaths.
"A friend mentioned that these lactation cookies had worked for her, so I did some research and formulated my own recipe. It worked wonders for me, then I thought 'who else can I share this with?'"
And thus began her side hustle - selling her cookies to friends in her local area who were also struggling with breastfeeding.
Nine months later, her business Made to Milk was hitting six figures.
"I had no idea it would gain the traction it did. I expected to be baking a couple of orders a month," she says.
When she realised that there was an appetite for her cookies outside of her local area, she expanded into cookie packet mixes and smoothie mixes, so mums can simply add wet ingredients and make the items at home.
Her website also sells other essentials for breastfeeding mums, such as nipple balm and nursing pads.
She says word of mouth has been a huge part of her success and when you trawl the comments on her Facebook page, it becomes apparent her products have a legion of fans.
"Thank you! With my first daughter my milk suddenly dried up and I had to start substituting formula from eight weeks," writes Heather Perkins.
"I was determined to avoid that this time, but started drying up with baby not even six weeks old. Luckily I found this page just in time and ordered the packet mixes. After two days I have woken up feeling heavy and full of milk for the first time in over a week. Cannot recommend highly enough!!"
"These cookies are absolutely amazing! They really work!" writes another mum.
As well as word of mouth, she credits Instagram (where she has almost 6.5k followers) with helping get her brand out to mums struggling with breastfeeding, who are desperately looking for a solution.
Despite having "a few little elves" who would come in and help her with the packaging, until recently she did all of the baking herself (this month she went into production with a manufacturer who has agreed to produce her cookies to her "exact recipe").
She admits she sometimes has trouble balancing her business with family life.
"There are definitely days where I feel overwhelmed and I struggle to keep up the work ... but every day I get messages from mums that blow me away ... messages saying how it has changed their whole relationship with their baby and that motivates me to keep going," she says.
Support from her close-knit family and partner also keep her afloat.
"I also deal with anxiety," she explains.
"During those days where it's overwhelming I know I need to step back and talk it through with family … they are like the little angels that sit on my shoulder. I'm really lucky to have that support around me".
Last week, Ms Triffitt had to make a call about whether she was going to go back to her job at the bank or take a leap of faith and exit the workforce to work on her business.
She gleefully posted a copy of her resignation letter on a closed Facebook group.
Ms Triffitt says she has two immediate goals for her business.
"My first is to bring value to the lactation product side of things ... there are plenty of brands out there that I don't think bring value to mums," she explains.
"The second one is accessibility. When mums are at this low point, I would love for them to be able to walk into their local store to be able to pick up a box of these cookies. Because really, you need the help as soon as possible when you are at that really low point. Hopefully one day we'll be in stores."
She has a message for other mums who are pursuing a side-hustle.
"I know there were a lot of other mums trying to make business work while on maternity leave," she says.
"Mums in business (especially with young kids) - you really can do it. It's so epically difficult sometimes and there were so many times I was ready to throw in the towel. But we women have no idea our wonderful, incredible potential until we try."