Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Nikki Bredeson, Founder of Cookies, Then Milk, located in Helendale, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Cookies, Then Milk is a lactation support company serving breastfeeding mothers. Our customers come from a wide range of backgrounds, lifestyles, and communities but all share the everyday joy and struggle of a milk-making journey.
Tell us about yourself
I first started making lactation treats when I struggled breastfeeding my daughter. I realized that no science-based but still delicious-tasting products were available for breastfeeding moms. I wanted to create not just a product but a community of support where parents could come and seek refuge with like-minded women. Each day I am motivated to do what I do by the enormous, heart-warming community Cookies, Then Milk has built. We have moms from all over the globe sharing their lives and stories, turning struggle into support and growth.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been challenging the stigmas of the breastfeeding industry. Society has a long way to go before breastfeeding is considered normalized. Part of my mission is to be a voice for an entire community of women who are discriminated against and pushed aside. I don't just sell a product. I champion change.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is saying no. In my first two years, I stretched myself so thin that I wasn't sleeping or spending time with my family. I worked 20-hour days, seven days a week. It took a supportive and loving team to pull me aside and force me to rest. In my reflection period, I realized that I was pouring from an empty cup, and until I learned to say no to some things, I couldn't fully say yes to anything.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
My top 3 three times to new business owners are:
- Take risks, be open to change, and find the wins. Taking risks is terrifying, but as Hall of Famer Wayne Gretsky reminded us: "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Risks come with the potential for failure, but they also come with the potential for success. More importantly, they come with a guarantee of learning. Once you do learn and start to grow.
- The following key is to be open to change. Feedback, even criticism, is precious for a business with a long-term vision. You cannot stay stagnant as the world flows and changes around you. Intelligent companies adapt to changing times.
- Lastly, find the wins every day. There will be some days that are full of failure and mistakes. In those moments, especially, see the success. You answered an email. You finished an ad. You drank water. Find the wins to remind you that you are doing a fantastic job. And never, never quit on a bad day.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my passion with another corner of the world. You are doing fantastic work!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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