We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Berkley Luck and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Berkley, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Since becoming an entrepreneur, I have come to see my work/life balance become more of a work/life integration. Work is a part of life and life is a part of work. Thinking of it like a balance to me seemed like a trade-off, where only one thing could get done at a time. I now find myself in a unique position – I go to work everyday with my husband and my baby girl. We own our time, and are making ends meet together as a family. It is hard at times and it is a lot of work, but I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to watch both of my babies (my actual child and our start-up) grow, develop, and take on lives of their own.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Milkify is the first company in the U.S. to offer a breast milk freeze-drying service. Our service aims to provide moms with a better way to store and transport their breast milk. Currently, moms who use breast pumps must store their breast milk in a freezer, but the nutrients in breast milk degrade during freezer storage. Recent research has shown that freeze-drying breast milk is a better way to preserve the nutritional, immunological, and probiotic properties which make it the gold standard of infant nutrition. Our proprietary process is 100% chemical and additive-free, and converts frozen breast milk into a breast milk powder which is easy and convenient to use, and simply requires mixing with warm purified water to reconstitute into milk. Breast milk powder can also be incorporated into solid foods for older infants or even toddlers, which provides a nutritional boost even after weaning. Freeze-dried breast milk powder requires no refrigeration, and is shelf-stable for 3 years. The process of freeze-drying breast milk as an alternative to freezing has recently been adopted by human milk donor banks at hospitals world-wide, but Milkify is the first to make this available directly to consumers. We have been in operation for less than a year. So far, we have launched a nationwide shipping option, designed, built, and placed drop-off kiosks in partner businesses around Houston, and we have already freeze-dried more than 10,000 ounces of breast milk for moms across the nation. We are extremely proud to have built a service that is making life easier for moms (and better for their babies)!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite part of Houston is the Houston Heights. I love the trails that wind through the neighborhood, and discovering new spots for food/drinks that are peppered throughout the neighborhood in old converted bungalows. I would recommend renting a bike on a sunny day, and just taking a leisurely ride through this part of town. There are plenty of places just off the trails to stop in for a bite or a drink, and parks to stop in when you need a break. Houston is also full of street art and murals that are hidden gems for a great photo op- you have to explore to find them though 😉
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
During each step of the Milkify journey, we’ve been lucky to have found mentorship and support from Houston’s incredible community of female entrepreneurs. When starting a brand new type of business – like a breast milk freeze-drying service – there are not many precedents you can look to when standing at a crossroads. So the words of wisdom from our fellow female entrepreneurs not only pointed us in the right direction, they encouraged and validated our mission of breaking down barriers to breastfeeding by giving moms a new way to store and transport their breast milk. These ladies, in no particular order, include Gabriela Gerhart of the Motherhood Center, Abbey Donnell of Work & Mother, Kristi Ison of Float Baby, Kate Torgersen of Milk Stork, Dr. Brittany Barreto and Dr. Julie Hakim of FemTech Focus, Dr. Piya Gandhi of Tanglewood Pediatric Dentistry, Candice Jenkins of The Addice Birth Center, and all the other wonderful women who have tried our service or have otherwise helped us spread the word about Milkify.