If you’ve ever had trouble breastfeeding, you know who Motherlove is. From nipple cream to belly salve, they make organic herbal body care, supplements and other plant-based products for nursing and pregnant mothers. When I was preparing to interview their CEO, Silencia Cox, I was blown away by just how dedicated they are to sourcing the most natural ingredients and creating clean label products for mom. Motherlove, started in the 1980’s, is still family owned and we had a chance to interview the daughter of the founder and current CEO, Silencia, to tell us a bit more about how Motherlove started and the many hats she wears day to day. And, don’t forget to scroll to the bottom for an exclusive discount for Amara parents on Motherlove products!
What’s Motherlove known for?
We make natural products for mom and baby. We have balms, tinctures, body care and supplements. We’re most known for our all-natural breastfeeding products. We work a lot with healthcare providers, lactation consultants and professionals to give parents a natural alternative to pharmaceutical solutions. Now there’s more competition but before it was really just Motherlove and Johnson & Johnson.
Motherlove’s a family business – talk to me a bit about how your mom started?
My mom was an herbalist, she understood the power of plants and their healing power. She was in Northern Colorado and was collecting her own plants and making her own tinctures in mason jars and crockpots. It was the start of the whole foods movement and she was a part of it. Before it started spreading to Whole Foods, Fresh Thyme, Sprouts and more of the natural stores, she was still handwriting labels!
Who buys your products – who are your “moms”?
We have two customer types – the crunchy granola mom that always shops at Whole Foods but also the mom that is truly just struggling with breastfeeding. Whether it’s sore nipples or low milk supply – it’s a mom that is just looking for a solution in a time of need.
Why is Motherlove best over some of the other competition?
We’ve been around a long time. We have a reputation of being effective and trusted. We make all of our tinctures and balms in house and don’t use any artificial ingredients or preservatives. I think people really do their research and are hypersensitive to what they put on and in their bodies. We’re committed to organics and to whole ingredients. We truly walk our talk – having the best pure organic, all-natural high-quality product is more important than any other trade off for us. I think that commitment comes through and helps moms realize the products work and are safe.
It sounds like your commitment to organic for Motherlove is more than just the ingredients – what does it mean to you?
We’ve always been really rooted in organic and natural. It’s in our values, our DNA, our culture and we think about it from everything to our ingredients, sourcing, and people. When you’re focused on organics, you have to make hard decisions about what you don’t use, but we have a strong set of values and are family-owned, so it can make those hard decisions easier to make. You have to be the change you want to see in the world, so we focus on people and planet throughout the whole business and company.
How do people find out about Motherlove now versus before?
So much has changed with the advent of the internet. It used to be a lot more in person mom groups, breastfeeding coaches and groups like La Leche League. Now, a lot of that occurs through social media so it’s much more of a virtual base, but it’s still mostly word of mouth.
How has your team grown?
Our team started with my mom when she founded it but now it’s grown. The company has evolved to become its own entity, but it was always part of my life through high school, college and now. I’m now CEO, but I’ve always worked at Motherlove since my mom founded it.Many family members, including both my sisters, have worked at Motherlove. It’s a family business.
Now, we’re a team of 20 employees - some of those are in our manufacturing facility in Fort Collins, Colorado and now the marketing department is mostly at home. Like so many companies though, you wear many hats. Sometimes you’re making the product, then answering phones, and then at night you’re sweeping the floor. We’re a small team, so we all pitch in and do what we need to do.
Did you have formal training to prepare you for your role as CEO of Motherlove? What’s the biggest challenge of running your own business at Motherlove?
For me personally, every day is a learning experience. I was born into the business, growing up watching my mother work late nights, into weekends, figuring out how to market products and sell them. I’m not formally trained or have an MBA or anything – I’m just learning on the go. Every day is a new day, a new experience, a new challenge, a new hurdle.
I think the hardest part is knowing inside of you that you’re still finding out how to do everything – but you’re also the one that needs to make the decision; the buck stops with me. So while I know I don’t know everything, I know I’m going to do my best. It’s a challenge and a privilege.
What would you recommend to parents that want to start a company?
Every journey starts with the first step. It’s scary; you don’t know what the future holds, and there are so many factors you don’t control or can’t predict. Find a product you’re passionate about or a need that you’re passionate about filling. There are so many things about doing it yourself in the beginning that are really hard so really drill down to the why. That’s how you’re going to drive your energy and remember the why behind what you’re doing.
Balance is kind of a famous word for entrepreneurs – talk to me about how you manage it all?
I grew up with the business. When my mom started Motherlove, I was small, so we would collect plants together, clean the herbs and label products. It was in our home always so there is a lot of blending between work and personal life. It’s a blessing and a challenge. In the end, I think you have to create the business model that fits into the life you want and what you truly enjoy spending your time doing. It’s a challenge to make sure that it doesn’t consume every aspect of your identity.
For me, that means leaning into our 4-day work week, taking over two weeks of vacation and having clean breaks to get away from work. When I’m not working, I try to do something not work related at all so that I have time to recharge. The one thing that isn’t flexible is that there are only 24 hours in a day, 365 days a year, and how and where you spend your time is so important. Work life balance matters.
We hope you’ve enjoyed the interview with the CEO of Motherlove, Silencia Cox. You can use code Amara20 which is now active for 20% off orders on Motherlove.com. 1 use per customer. Active through 3/31/22.
I started interviewing mompreneurs from our favorite mom and baby brands because sometimes starting something seems like a big goal, sometimes starting something feels like something “other people” do. At Amara, we interview founders of these companies so you can see that Mia from Snuggle me, Mushie from Mushie Co and all of these mamas that started their amazing companies are just people. Just like you and me.
You didn’t get a manual when you became a parent, and you don’t get a manual when you’re running a company – so, we’re here to show you - whatever you are dreaming of doing, whether it’s the next million-dollar business or starting the blog you’ve always dreamed of - it’s possible.
So for all you parents out there trying to make the impossible, possible – we know that homemade baby food is often times more of a dream than a reality, right? For those times, Amara is here to bring you the next best thing to fresh homemade baby food. Because you CAN get all the benefits of fresh homemade, anytime, anywhere.