The Dairy Fairy makes nursing moms’ lives easier
Meet the inventor of a line of lingerie that helps new mothers with hands-free nursing.
Caring for a new baby is challenging in itself, especially for working mothers. And for those who choose to breastfeed, there’s the issue of how to pump while on the job.
Emily Ironi wrestled with that problem after the birth of her daughter Arden in 2012, and came up with an ingenious solution: an adjustable, comfortable hands-free nursing and pumping bra.
“I was stuck at my computer and was so frustrated with the inconvenience and inefficiency of pumping,” Ironi, who at the time ran her own handbag company, told From the Grapevine. “And as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.”
She knew nothing about lingerie design, so she sought help with the technical aspects. “Manufacturing was another hurdle and after exhausting domestic manufacturing options, I went overseas to China. It all came together with the help of some amazing people who believed in me and in my idea,” says Ironi, who was born in Israel and lives in California.
To raise capital and confirm she was on the right track, she turned to the crowdsourcing site Kickstarter. “I needed to see what the mass market thought of this concept and the results were amazing, with most pledges going against a bra, meaning they really wanted [to order] the product. I raised $24,000 in February 2012, and The Dairy Fairy took flight.”
Having worked in advertising on campaigns for Hewlett-Packard, Porsche and the Got Milk? ads, Ironi “learned how to think like a customer and translate that into everything that the brand is about,” and applied that to her expanding line.
Emily and Arden Ironi (Photo: The Dairy Fairy)
She has a patent pending on the first product in the line, the original Arden Bra. That product set the bar high for her, “so the new products had to be just as smart, efficient and sexy,” Ironi explained. “I introduced the Sadie all-in-one tank, which is a similar design to the Arden but with midriff coverage. After that followed the Josie Sleep'in Beauty Bra, a sexy sleep-nursing bra that has hidden pockets to keep breast pads in place throughout the night. The Rose Hands-free Pumping Bra is a more affordable and beautiful solution for pumping moms.”
She asks herself several questions before each new launch. “Does this solve a problem? Is this something I would want to wear? Is it comfortable?
"If I can't say yes to these questions, then it doesn't pass the test.”
The Dairy Fairy line is available via Amazon.com and 20 specialty retailers in the U.S. and through distributors in Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. “Our website, TheDairyFairy.com, offers the greatest selection of sizes and colors, and we do ship worldwide,” noted Ironi, adding that “there’s been incredible growth. We’re hoping to double our first year.”
Going forward, “My plan is to grow at a reasonable pace that allows me to provide excellent products and excellent service, while being a mother first. At this point in my life, my priorities are very clear and the number one priority is being there for Arden,” says Ironi, a single mother to the 2-year-old who credits her success to a strong work ethic inherited from her father, Ari, and her upbringing in Tel Aviv.
Ironi, who considers herself “a jack-of-all-trades … always innovating,” believes that “to be an entrepreneur, you need to be able to wear many hats, and I've got a lot of hats. You also have to possess incredible self-discipline. There's always more work to be done.”
The response she receives to her products from mothers keeps her going. “They absolutely love our products. That's been the most gratifying part of this venture. Yes, it pays the bills, but its also so amazing to help moms at a time when most are feeling sleep-deprived, inadequate and far from sexy. Moms tell me that my products have changed their lives,” says the 44-year-old. “I really love what I do.”
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