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Creating Connections: Milk and Love Flips Their Business Model Online To Support Moms and Babies

This post is part of our COVID–19 business stories series, where we share how different brands have responded to the pandemic.

Milk and Love is a maternity and baby retailer located in Queensland, Australia. They specialize in ethical and sustainable products. Since the closing of their storefront, they’ve moved to a fully online store and shifted their focus to how they can help support and connect mothers by launching their Virtual Mothers Group on Facebook to chat about breastfeeding, babies, birth and pregnancy.

This is a stressful time for everyone, but particularly new and expecting mothers. Milk and Love wants to provide a sanctuary for this community to receive emotional support and expert advice.

We spoke with Milk and Love’s founder, Corryn Barakat, about how they have had to adapt as a business and how important it is to have an online resource for mothers.

How has your company been affected by COVID-19? In what ways have you had to change your day-to-day business operations?

We have closed our shop front and moved entirely online for the time being.

From a customer connection standpoint we have had to work out a different way to support and connect with our customers. This is a central part of our business as we provide beautiful products to new mums along with support and reassurance during such a large life change for them.

Our customers are heavily affected by the lockdowns, with pregnant and birthing women having less face to face time, and less options for support. For breastfeeding women, there are less options to get support and good quality advice.

From a day-to-day operations point of view we have staggered shifts to minimise the number of people working together and implemented strict and thorough cleaning and sanitising procedures.

A big challenge is managing our deliveries from suppliers as everything is taking longer and boxes are going missing. Similarly, we are spending a lot more time tracking down delayed and missing parcels for our customers as Australia Post is working around the significant changes and increase in volume of postage.

How are you strategizing your brand messaging at the moment?

Our main aim for social media is to provide the support and connection our mums are missing out on, and empathising with the situation we are all in.

Our key initiative is launching our Virtual Mothers Group in our closed Facebook Group to provide that support and connection. The first group was on Thursday and it was really well received.

From a personal point of view as the owner of the business, I really enjoyed having the face to face time with new mums (which I have been missing since we closed the shop!). We are also working with a trusted expert to provide good quality advice and support for new mums.

Are you changing how you market your business, or selling new products or services to meet changing market needs?

We are increasing our online marketing and improving some of our offerings, for example gift boxes, as we’re noticing more people sending gifts to new mums because they can’t visit in person.

As I mentioned, keeping key product lines in stock is our main challenge at the moment as popular items (e.g. hand sanitiser, nappies and baby wipes) are selling out as quickly as we restock them.

What trends are you seeing in your industry? Are there other brands you admire for what they’re posting right now?

The key trend is a shift away from luxury items towards the essentials, and gifting items. Baby and toddler toys are also selling well (understandable if you’ve ever been stuck at home with a toddler!).

I’m enjoying following Kate Toon (@katetoon on IG) for down to earth humor and The Digital Picnic (@thedigitalpicnic on IG) are inspiring!

How far ahead are you planning your customer communications right now?

I’m trying to keep posts scheduled 2 weeks ahead however the amount of uncertainty around what the future holds makes planning the right tone and message very hard!

Where to go to find more

You can find out more about Milk and Love’s Virtual Mothers Group on their social channels:

Instagram (@milkandloveaus), Facebook (@milkandloveaus), Twitter (milkandloveaus), Pinterest (MilkandLove)

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