Channel Mum vlogger Lauren Hampshire launches breastfeeding clothing range The Milky Tee Company
A Maidstone mum has designed and launched her own clothing range for breastfeeding mothers after struggling to find tops for herself she felt were both trendy and suitable.
When Lauren Hampshire's second daughter Sienna was born in January 2016 and refused to feed under the cover of breastfeeding aprons or blankets, the journalist and Channel Mum vlogger went in search of clothing that could do the job.
Drawing a blank both online and in the shops, Lauren together with the help of her mother-in-law who is a seamstress and midwife, set about designing something she could wear.
Describing herself as a 'jeans and t-shirt kind of girl' the mum-of-two said she found trying to feed through two-layer tops already on sale in most shops awkward when trying to hold a wriggling baby, and with many breastfeeeding tops doubling as maternity clothing, Lauren wanted something just that little bit different for the rest of her breastfeeding journey when she no longer had a baby bump.
Using a basic t-shirt pattern, and with the help of her mother-in-law, she set about creating something with simple zips at its sides.
She said: "I was really surprised that is didn't exist.
"I don't have any background in design. I've never made my own clothes but I knew my mother-in-law was really good with a sewing machine."
When other breastfeeding mums said they wished they could have something similar, Lauren, who was not returning to her job in London after having Sienna, sensed an opportunity.
"At the beginning it was just to have one for me to use. And then I thought it was a really good idea" she explained.
It took the pair around six months to get the design and position of the zips correct.
A crash course in business followed, which involved finding a suitable manufacturer for the t-shirts, understanding the legal side, protecting her design and creating her company brand - all while juggling life at home with Sienna and older daughter Sophia.
At the start of this year The Milky Tee Company was born, with its website going live in February.
The 34-year-old, who is married to husband Andrew, said: "It's been a big learning curve. I'm a mum. I don't have a business background."
Since the website launched The Milky Tee company has taken more than 200 orders with requests for the slogan t-shirts coming from as far away as Dubai, America and Australia.
Black and grey t-shirts are set to follow and Lauren also has plans for long-sleeved tops, sweatshirts and perhaps in time other items of clothing such as dresses.
And while launching her own business, which she runs from the living room of their family home in Grove Green, has been quite a juggle, the mum-of-two hopes it will mean she can spend more time with her young children.
"I'm there for drop-offs and the pick-ups. It will mean that I can do the school things and I can go to all their events" she explained. "It's going really well."
To view the entire Milky Tee range of t-shirts click here.