The Breast of Mates – Frances McInnes

| January 15, 2013 | 1 Comment

In 2004, while on maternity leave, Frances (Franny) McInnes founded Breastmates with $50 and a domain name with her only product being handmade reusable breast pads.

Spurred on by her own bad experiences trying to get advice while purchasing products from baby stores, she decided there was potential for her to list useful pregnancy and feeding products and get product training to help other mums get the right advice.

Today her online store, Breastmates, stocks hundreds of products, from maternity clothes and lingerie to feeding products,  as well as articles and shared stories which have become a valued resource for mums across the country.

Breastmates has evolved to support all mothers entering motherhood, regardless of whether they breast or bottle feed their baby.  Franny has also gone on to win business awards and customer service awards including  Top Shop Online. An awesome achievement!

I first came across Breastmates when I was searching for maternity bras during my first pregnancy in 2007. The service I received from Franny left an impression and she was happy for me to pick up and try on my new Hot Milk lingerie from her garage showroom. So over the years I have gone back and ordered a number of products and I’ve always been really happy with Franny’s fantastic service.

But running a successful online stores is not all Franny does… for the third year in a row she has entered the World of Wearable Arts (WOW) competition, and was a finalist in both 2010 and 2011 and a semi-finalist in 2012. She is also heavily involved in fund raising for Post Natal Depression (PND) after suffering herself after the birth of her second child. Franny designed a “My Heart’s Content” range of t-shirts with 100% of proceeds donated to The Perinatal Mental Health NZ Trust (PMHNZ) to provide support and counselling to mums with PND.

Truly an inspiration!

Frances McInnes – wearing her “My Heart’s Content” tee.

The Quick Fire Interview:

1. Describe what you do: 

I have a small business called Breastmates, that specialises in maternity and baby feeding products.

2. How would you describe yourself in five words?

Passionate, dedicated, quirky,driven, caring.

3. How did you get to where you are today? 

I dreamed that I would one day be self employed, and so I just worked slowly and solidly every day.  “you can’t eat an elephant in one bite”  I  tackled things slowly in small bites, rather than a giant leap – so the risk was small and meant I could learn along the way.  I reinvested profits back into my business, and remained dedicated.  And now eight years later it seems I have eaten the elephant!

4. What/who/where do you draw inspiration from?

Annah Stretton.

5. What person do you really rely on for support and encouragement in life?

My mum.

6. What are you most grateful for?

My family and my iphone!

7. What’s one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Work out a good work-life structure and stick to it, and exercise more so your butt doesn’t get this big.

8. What is your wish for the future?


You can check out Breastmates website here and follow along on Facebook for fantastic shop news and discounts as well as new products like Franny’s very own Bump ‘n’ Boob by Breastmates – a new maternity clothing range catering for sizes XS to XXL.

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Category: Inspiring Women

Comments (1)

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  1. Bex says:

    Just do it! You can put in as much or as little time as you want. Bex

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