Bring us up to speed...how did Moxxly come to be?
Moxxly was founded in 2014 by three women with a passion for getting shit done. When Gabrielle Guthrie, while finishing her masters’ in design, first saw a breast pump, she was incredulous that this product category hadn’t been more thoughtfully updated and immediately began the redesign. Meanwhile, I had returned to my post-MBA corporate job with a breast pump slung over my shoulder. A few weeks of undressing awkwardly in small, cold rooms around the office, I found my new professional propose and quit my job to create a better pump solution. Around this time, Santhi Analytis was finishing her PhD in mechanical engineering, looking to apply her background in medical devices and robotics to women’s health. The first time she saw a breast pump, she knew she wanted to solve the problem before she had kids and got right to work.
Why do you think it's taken so long to re-envision the breast pump?
I think there are complementary trends on both the supply and demand side that have led to recent breast pump innovation. On the demand side, over the past few years, we’ve seen almost a 100 percent demographic shift from gen x to millennial moms. With this change comes different consumer expectations; millennial moms came of age in the time of iPhones, Tesla, etc. They’re also returning to work while still breastfeeding in record highs. They expect and need an updated breast pump experience.
On the supply side, innovations like 3D printers, Kickstarter, the excitement about the Internet of Things have made it (slightly) easier to get started as a startup in the hardware space. The breast pump product itself is still a beast of a design, regulatory, and engineering challenge, however; innovation in this space is not for the faint of heart.
What do you see for the future in breastfeeding technology and products? What role do you see Moxxly playing?
I think the future of breastfeeding technology needs to include innovation on both the brand and the product experience. We need to change the conversation about how we support modern women integrating motherhood into their identity first and foremost. Then, she needs the right set of tools — including breast pumps and accessories — to support her in this transition. As for the role I see Moxxly playing —we want to lead it!
For your first born, you were an employee. For your second, you owned your own company. Can you explain a bit about the difference between the two experiences?
When my son was born in 2013, I was an employee at a big tech firm and felt very well-supported in my maternity leave. I had a 3-month leave, a pumping room when I returned, and a manager who understood the challenges of working parenthood. I’d like to think my team missed me while I was out, but also knew that at a multi-thousand person company, they’d get along fine without me for a few months! It was a gift to ease into motherhood that way.
For my daughter, born around Moxxly’s 2nd birthday, I was signing deal docs on my phone in the hospital. Life didn’t stop when she arrived — in part because I already had a toddler at home and in part because Moxxly was also still getting off the ground. I took a few weeks off, mostly, but we were a tiny team and if I didn’t show up to do my part, it didn’t get done. I was in charge of fundraising and I’m proud to report that we closed our acquisition before my daughter learned to walk. That professional success was not without personal trade-offs, and I do have some sadness about the time I missed with my baby daughter when she was so little, but I’m incredibly proud of the work we did at Moxxly that year. That’s a sacrifice I was willing to accept as a startup founder that I wouldn’t have been so willing to make at a large company.
With the many roles you play in a day - how do you stay organized?
Life-hacks: when cooking noodles, always make the whole bag (and freeze what you don’t need); never leave the house without crayons and almonds; and reward yourself with little treats regularly. A new lipstick can go a long way on a bad day.