About Corryn Barakat
“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” – unknown.
Transformational life changes are something that can pass you by if you don’t seize them. Corryn Barakat seized the moment, ditching the corporate career to start a business with a difference (although it wasn’t quite that simple and straightforward!). With an overarching mission to support breastfeeding mums, Milk and Love is the result of her creativity and passion, and desire to make a difference. The best part about being an entrepreneur and owning your own business is the ability to have complete control over your own life. Control over what you work on, control over how you do it and when you do it. Your life is shaped by your passion and that is a powerful feeling!
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About Milk And Love
With an overarching mission to support breastfeeding mums, Milk and Love is the result of Corryn’s creativity, passion, and desire to make a difference. Sourcing stylish breastfeeding and maternity wear made with natural fabrics and socially responsible manufacture is only the start – coming soon is a whole new suite of information for mums and mum-to-be to support them in an informed and rewarding birth, breastfeeding and parenting journey.
Q & A with Corryn Barakat, founder of Milk and Love
What’s the story behind your business?
I have a distinct memory of splashing out on an expensive, but gorgeous, bright yellow top when I was pregnant with my first. Unfortunately, it was made with polyester and with pregnancy playing havoc with my body temperature I would end up red faced and sweating every time I wore it. I then went on to breastfeed for years with my first child, and really struggled to find breastfeeding friendly I wanted to wear with easy access, natural fabrics and stylish designs. With a very sensitive baby, I also found it hard to find health professionals with up to date, evidence based information that I trusted. At about the same time I was finding my corporate work difficult to balance with my young family. The motivation to start my own business and make a positive change in the world was hard to ignore. So Milk and Love was created.
What was your first job?
My very first job was collecting buckets of stones from around our property for my parents. They paid 20c a bucket – tough gig! I think I was about 5 years old. I went on to do a paper run and then to work in a retail department store during high school. My parents have always emphasised the importance of working hard and with integrity. It’s an ethos I come back to throughout everything I do..
When you decided to start your own business, what was your big “why”?
In short, I wanted to make a difference, and I also wanted the control and flexibility over how I worked and what I worked on. It is amazing to have that level of choice over what you are working on, and what direction you will take your business. I just needed to wait for the motivators and the ‘how’ and ‘what’ to fall into place before taking the leap into starting my own business. It was then another 2 years on the side before becoming my sole income.
What have you had to give up?
At this stage – financial security! Starting your own business is not cheap – we have invested savings into the business, and the income is not the stable monthly salary (with super and leave entitlements) that I’m used to. My husband also works in the business now, which means that right now, it is our sole income. As we grow and move from start up to stable I’m looking forward to recouping our savings and feeling more financially secure! Our lifestyle however means that we are both enjoying our young family life with the flexibility to maneuver our working hours to fit with our family’s needs. It works for us.
Your proudest achievement to date?
My proudest achievement to date in business is Milk and Love. It is the product of my creativity and hard work, and has been nurtured and developed into what it is today. My proudest achievement in life is having the courage to walk away from my corporate job and follow my dreams. Creating a lifestyle that was best for my family despite the risks and challenges is something that I’m proud of my husband & I for doing.
What are some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
As a ‘live in the moment’ type of person I’m going to say my most exciting project is the one I’m working on right now. We’ve just finished filming a “Breastfeeding Basics” video series with our resident lactation consultant and are editing it now. I have big plans for the amazing content and information that we’re curating that I can’t wait to implement!
What would you tell your younger self not to do?
Nothing! I have had an amazing life with fabulous opportunities. My experiences have developed me and made me who I am – it was the culmination of all of my experiences that have lead me to this point. And it’s a pretty awesome point to be at! There are things that I could have done better, and bad times, but you can only appreciate the good times when you also experience the bad.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
What you focus on grows, so focus on the positive. A colleague reminded me of this pearl of wisdom last year and over the last 12 months it has effectively recalibrated my life and perspective over and over. In particular, it has been particularly relevant for me in my parenting when we go through a challenging (hair pulling, exhausting, emotional) stage with my strong willed and independent little boys. When we continually focus on correcting behaviours and situations, and discussing the problems we have, things generally get worse. If you can pull yourself out of it, and consciously focus on the positives things generally get better. It’s great advice that applies to most things in life!
What’s next for you and your business?
Our fabulous “breastfeeding basics” video series that I can’t wait to edit and finalise. It’s stage one of a larger plan to re-organise and refresh the amazing content and information we are providing to our members as part of our mission to support breastfeeding mums.