Tania Boler founded Elvie, the world’s first silent wearable breast pump, in 2013. In an exclusive interview, Tania tells Nursery Online what prompted her to set up Elvie in the first place – and how innovation and focusing on women’s needs are at the heart of her mission:
“The idea for Elvie Trainer, our first product, came to me when I was pregnant when I was shocked to discover that, despite having worked in women’s health for 15 years, there was so much I didn’t know, especially when it came to my pelvic floor. So I set out to create a smart Kegel trainer and app and in 2015, the Elvie Trainer was launched. I then noticed the lack of innovation in the breast pump market – and this led to the creation of Elvie Pump, the world’s first silent, wearable breast pump.”
What sets Elvie apart from its competitors and who is it (the breastpump) aimed at?
“Innovation! We always start by listening to women to find out more about the challenges they face. Our breast pump, Elvie Pump, is aimed for anyone who wants freedom and mobility during their feeding journey. It’s a truly hands-free pump that gives women the flexibility to go about their daily routine while pumping, without worrying about cords, wardrobe changes or the undignified sound of traditional electric breast pumps.
Elvie Pump has won 20+ awards since its launch and has set a benchmark for the market to follow. I get so much fulfilment from seeing women using our products and sharing all that they’ve accomplished—from doctors who use our breast pump while working a shift, to a mother who simply doesn’t want to be tethered to a socket for hours.”
Today’s parents are more discerning than ever, especially when it comes to new technology – how do you keep your brand in line with current trends?
“Again, it’s down to our approach to innovation and keeping abreast with trends and women’s needs. Part of our mission is to focus on changing perceptions around women’s health and reducing unnecessary health problems. We’ll continue to do this by putting women first and listening to our audience, getting to know their needs and how can we help solve real solutions. As we always say, we’re here to embrace life’s messiest moments, not push them aside!”
How straightforward was your recent funding – and do you plan to continue your expansion into other femtech products?
“As with other businesses, the pandemic put our plans on hold, and we had to adapt to the choppy global stock markets and subsequent volatility of the investor climate. But, we were able to recommence our Series C funding round early this year, and are very happy with its success – we’ve come a long way from being considered ‘too niche’ to invest in. Now, investors are extremely keen to get into femtech, especially as it matures and grows.
We’re proud of the work we’ve done so far for femtech although we’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. With our recent funding and wealth of expertise our new Board members bring, it puts us in a pole position to push the boundaries of women’s technology for every life stage while growing in new and existing markets.”
How would you convince first time parents, who have never considered using a breast pump, to choose Elvie?
“Just because we’re told that breastfeeding is natural, doesn’t mean it’s easy! At Elvie, we recognise this— whether it’s late nights or latching issues. And amid the stress and chaos during the first days of motherhood, mothers need a helping hand (or ten!) Our wearable, silent breast pump has become a firm favourite among many breastfeeding mothers as it gives mothers more flexibility so that partners, or other friends and family, can also feed (pumped) breast milk.”
What do you enjoy about being in the baby business?
“I’ve always been passionate about women’s health, but as a mother, it’s extremely rewarding to know that Elvie is making a difference in the lives of mothers on a global scale. Once I started Elvie I had the advantage of knowing the unique challenges that mums face. We’re also very fortunate to have great distributors like the team at bébélephant who are fantastic partners to help us bring our innovations to mums at scale.”
Can you share any specific plans or developments for Elvie for the year ahead?
“I can’t share too much, but we have exciting plans in the pipeline, including new products, and a new brand direction. We’ve also got expansion in mind; so we’re looking for the best new markets to launch in for 2022.”