Meet the mom behind the first reusable breast milk storage bag
The way Nickey Ramsey tells it, most people in her hometown had two options: high school dropout or teenage parent.
She defied the odds and beyond.
Growing up in West Lafayette, Indiana, wasn’t easy. Her family struggled financially, her father formerly battled drug and alcohol addictions and at the age of 17, Ramsey found herself navigating homelessness alone.
“I was on my own,” she said. “It’s crazy thinking about it now because I have a daughter, and I could never imagine my baby being in a city on her own. Crazy.”
Not only did Ramsey rise above her struggle by graduating high school, attending Indiana’s Purdue University and obtaining a master’s degree, the mother of two (8 and 2) is making a profound impact in the breastfeeding space.
Last year Ramsey launched Junobie, a startup that creates reusable breast milk storage bags made from silicone.
Ramsey, 31, worked as a travelling speech language pathologist before becoming a CEO. During her travels, she struggled with plastic and glass breast milk storage options while breastfeeding her younger child. She soon realized that a reliable, reusable alternative wasn’t out there.
So she created it.
“We just want to help moms in providing this need for them that did not exist in the breast milk storage space,” Ramsey said. “And we’re super excited about being able to save the environment and helping to keep breast milk safe and fresh for women.”
If a mother exclusively pumps, she can easily average more than 1,400 plastic, single-use breast milk bags a year.
The plastic-free alternative storage bags Ramsey created are also an easy fit in the refrigerator or freezer and reduce the carbon footprint.
Junobie bags are made from FDA-approved, food-safe silicone for worry-free storage. Silicone is naturally heat tolerant and bacterial resistant, making it perfect for keeping breast milk safe.
The chic colors of the bags are also by design, as Ramsey hopes the bold hues will help mothers celebrate with the option of being discreet at the same time.
“I wanted them to see those colors and see that it’s something for them,” she said.
She didn’t anticipate such rapid growth of a company she started to simplify life for breastfeeding mothers. Since last year, Ramsey has already secured international distribution in Australia and South Africa.
“Let me tell you, I had no idea it was going to be as crazy as it’s been,” said Ramsey, who’s proud of her simple solution for mothers. “I just thought maybe a few moms would want the product in my little area. It’s grown quickly internationally.”
As if reducing her carbon footprint and empowering mothers wasn’t enough, her 8-year-old daughter Journey gets a front seat to her mom’s success.
“It’s amazing for her to see that,” Ramsey said. “She’s very proud of Junobie.”
Her daughter has become a mini product developer in her own right after looking up to her mother’s entrepreneurship, which put another black-owned business on the map.
“People don’t even expect that Junobie is a black-owned company,” said Ramsey, who’s already had to fend off imitation Junobie bags. “It’s such a rewarding feeling to be able to be a black woman and come out and have all these people scrambling to do the same. It’s so amazing.
“It’s one for the team.”