In Conversation with Gina VanCant of The Milk Mission

Gina VanCant_Blog Header

Describe The Milk Mission in a few words?

Virtual maternal wellness services.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

After going on an amazing journey of motherhood with my sister and business partner, one thing that really stood out to us, was the lack of imagery of African American women breastfeeding.

Digging a little deeper into breastfeeding we found that African American women have the lowest initiation and duration of breastfeeding and that only 14% maintain breastfeeding for the recommended six months. In addition, African American infants have the highest rate of Infant Mortality than any other race.

Here at The Milk Mission we address the lack of introduction that breastfeeding has in the African American community. 

We have made it our mission to promote breastfeeding in communities of color through our inclusive virtual Lactation Consultations, Breastfeeding Classes and curated curriculum for health care professionals.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

My business partner (Kendra Valton) worked in Digital Corporate Marketing. My background is in public service (county/state) government. 

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes, as children, my business partner and I sold magazines door to door to earn extra money during the summer. We always had an entrepreneur spirit even as kids!

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

Our marketing strategy when we first launch was really by word of mouth. We were able to cultivate a supportive network through this approach but it did not necessarily bring us our target audience.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

A big challenge for us was trying to do it all. We received great advice from a mentor who said focus on what your strengths are and then find someone else to do the task that you don’t have experience with. This saved us a lot of time from spinning our wheels!

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

We are most proud of our ability to pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, maternal wellness services are provided face-to-face. We were able to essentially restart our business as a telehealth service. Our customers were very receptive of this and we foresee this being the future of The Milk Mission!

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

Tell us why maternal wellness matters to you  – what’s driving you to address it?

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Traditional Breastfeeding care is received in a hospital setting face-to-face or through a home visit. However, due to COVID-19 many women of color have found accessing the Lactation care they need difficult to find. The Milk Mission decided to make our services 100% virtual by utilizing a Telehealth platform. Women can now receive the same quality care from the comfort of their home.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

We see our future in the next few years in the health-tech space. We are in the MVP stages of our Mobile app. Our app empowers women to take control of their maternal wellness. End users are energized with accurate health data and telehealth options to fuel maternal wellness and health longevity.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

You must always be ready to reevaluate your business and never get complacent because change can happen with or without your approval!

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Entrepreneurship is hard! But with determination and passion anything is possible. You may hear a lot of no’s but when you get your first yes it’s an amazing feeling!

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Focus on what matters the most (health, family etc..) and tune out the negative noise.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

I believe in work life balance but it’s not always achieved like I would like. My best tip is to put your family first and the rest will follow.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

We initially started the Milk Mission as a breastmilk delivery service for corporate mothers who were away from their baby and wanted to ship breast milk home to them.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

Calendar is a must. Write down daily goals. Take a break to laugh and eat!

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Everyday is a new day and you never stop learning. Value family and friends and never give up on your dreams!

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Teqnizan Founder Rama Prasad on Creating Functional and Fashionable Earbuds

First, let’s get to know Rama! Rama Prasad is the Founder CEO of Teqnizan located in Minneapolis. Teqnizan has explored, invented, patented, and is selling wireless bluetooth audio earrings. The earrings look and feel like jewelry earrings, and function like an earbud audio device. Rama, what excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? The…

Harvick Farms Founder Lainey Harvick on Growing Community Awareness Around Homesteading

Hello Lainey! Please tell us a little about yourself. In 2015, I became a nurse and worked in the ER through the pandemic. Gardening was a way to provide an outlet from the high-intensity career. As a mother, nurse, and avid gardener who understands the value of having support and resources I could see there…

Meet Mamaprenista Olivia Dreizen Howell and Learn How She Shifted the Cultural Narrative through Fresh Starts Registry

Hello Olivia! Please share a little bit about your business: Fresh Starts Registry is the first and only platform for everything you need to start again. We are shifting the cultural narrative to celebrate big, bold, and brave life decisions. Whether it’s a divorce, breakup, moving, job change, stepping into your truth, or any big…

Huckleberry Creative’s Jess Coleman on Developing Strategic Insights You Need to Deliver High Quality Work

Before we get started, here is some background information on our fabulous entreprenista Jess: Jess Coleman is the founder of Huckleberry Creative, a full-service website design and development studio with a mission to make it easy and fun for entrepreneurs to share their genius with the world. She’s an experienced marketer, copywriter, and designer who…

Founder of Clairebella, Kathy Story, on Creating and Sharing her Artwork

Hello Kathy! Tell us a little about yourself. I am the founder and artist behind Clairebella. Clairebella is a lifestyle brand of colorful gifts and home décor. We believe every day items should spark joy. What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member? I am excited to connect with other women, support women, and…

Marketing Maven Brooke Latham on Launching Social Canvas

Hello Brooke! Please share a little bit about yourself. As a marketing strategist, I am passionate about helping business owners grow their brands by creating comprehensive sales funnels designed to attract, convert and retain their ideal clients. My business, Social Canvas, is a full-service marketing agency specializing in working with organizations of purpose. What excites…

Emma Vollrath on Founding Her Sustainable and Innovative Athleisure Brand: Emma Lou

Hi Emma! Let’s first talk about Emma Lou: Hi! My name is Emma Vollrath, and I am the founder of Emma Lou, an innovative athleisure brand using recycled, sweat-enhancing fabrics to beat bloat, decrease water weight retention, and support women in overcoming lower stomach insecurities. Our recycled thermoplastic fabric is designed with an insulating property that…

A Web3 Deep Dive with Laurie Segall

Today, we’re sitting down with Laurie Segall, a journalist and former senior technology correspondent and an editor-at-large at CNN. Laurie has interviewed tech titans like Mark Zuckerburg and Tim Cook, and is also the co-founder and executive producer of Dot Dot Dot Media, a news and entertainment company devoted to tech and humanity. Listen in…

Growing Your Business with Carlyn Bushman of Carlyn Bushman Consulting

When Carlyn stepped into Entrepreneurship to be closer to her four children, she thought it would be easy. After her first business came to an end, she realized her real passion was in helping other women grow their businesses, thus she created Carlyn Bushman Consulting.  In this episode, we sit down with Carlyn Bushman, founder…

10 Tech Solutions Entreprenistas Can Use to Operate and Grow Their Business

Entreprenistas have a lot of pressures to navigate when building their business. Between wearing multiple hats to keep everything running from managing finances, staffing, marketing and more — it can be a lot to juggle from sunrise to sunset.  Thanks to technology, several tools are designed to streamline business operations to make life easier and…

Secrets to a Successful Fundraise with Andrea Ippolito of SimpliFed

After struggling to feed her daughter by breastfeeding, Andrea was lost and didn’t know what to do. This is unfortunately a story that is common amongst new moms. But for Andrea, she decided to change the narrative by making it her mission to educate new moms and help them meet their feeding goals.  Today, we…

Alicia McKenzie’s Mamaprenista Journey Launching Lift Like a Mother

Alicia, how did you start fostering your entrepreneurial spirit? McKenzie Enterprise dba Lift Like A Mother™ began as a way for me to share training videos with my coaches during my athletic career. Over the years, it has evolved into a coaching practice I am so proud of and a separate nonprofit to help me…

Entreprenista Honors Top 100 Women Business Leaders of 2022

Entreprenista 100 winners will be recognized at a celebration & networking luncheon this March NEW YORK, Jan. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Entreprenista League, a leading membership community for ambitious, entrepreneurial women, is excited to announce the winners of its inaugural Entreprenista 100 Awards. Presented in partnership with Chase Ink, the Entreprenista 100 Awards honors 100 exemplary…

Investigating the Metaverse: The Legal Side of Web3 with Jennifer Justice

One of the most intimidating things about Web3 is the sometimes-murky legal side of things. There are a fair amount of scams out there and it can feel pretty overwhelming, but luckily there are people who have it all figured out—and you’ll meet one of them today.  We’re sitting down with Jennifer Justice, an entertainment…

The Business of Helping Children Learn with Caitlin Greer Meister of The Greer Meister Group

As a life-long teacher, Caitlin knew from a young age that her calling was helping children. So she started tutoring, then that turned into educational consulting. Once the pandemic hit, business exploded as more schools needed her consulting for remote learning. Today, she’s about to take her business nationwide.  In today’s episode, we sit down…