Background

How One Mom Took Milk Stork From Launch To Fortune 100 Contracts In 18 Months

Milk Stork was created out of necessity when a mother couldn’t find a unique service for her children. Since launching, Kate Torgersen’s young company has exploded in size and sales without depending on venture capital, cutting-edge startup technology, or overseas production.

Our team at Tall Cube is proud to share Milk Stork’s success story.

Background

What Was Kate’s Big Idea?

Kate Torgersen had her big idea during her first months as a new mother of twins. Like many modern moms, Kate was committed to breastfeeding her newborns whenever possible.

But there was a problem: Kate was a busy professional with a demanding career. Her position required that she travel on business regularly — often by plane and thousands of miles away from her nursing children. It was impossible for Kate to store or refrigerate enough milk to keep her twins fed during her time away.

Kate looked for a way to overnight ship her breast milk from faraway hotels back home to her children. The issue is that breast milk is extremely sensitive and spoils quickly. Minor changes in temperature or air pressure will fast-forward breast milk’s expiration date and shorten its effective lifetime to a number of hours.

All of Kate’s options were either too expensive, too insecure, or would take too long in transit. She even considered carrying her milk through airport security and navigating the TSA’s strict regulations on liquids aboard flights.

Why wasn’t there an easy way to send her breast milk home to her twins? Had anyone tried doing this before? After dozens of frustrating dead-ends it became clear that there weren’t any good options to ship her newborn twins breast milk while away on business.

Kate asked other professional moms if they would use a breast-milk delivery service. The answer was a resounding, “Yes!” Thousands of working mothers faced the same problem as Kate each and every day.

Kate launched Milk Stork to solve this problem for herself and all other moms.

Milk Stork’s First Challenges

Kate’s vision for a service offering was clear from the start: “Milk Stork is the first and only breast milk delivery service for business traveling moms like you, providing no-fuss, refrigerated, overnight shipping of your milk to your baby back home.”

She knew that Milk Stork’s operations would depend on scalable logistics systems and automation. But there were many more issues to address before Milk Stork would be ready for launch:

  • How would Kate create a brand that appeals to and builds trust with moms?
  • What resources and timelines are required to build a website with detailed user accounts, parcel tracking, and a back-end tailored for Milk Stork’s operations?
  • What kind of copywriting and documentation would make this emotional process easy and stress-free? What would impress customers and generate reorders?
  • Would satisfied customers share Milk Stork with other professional moms? Could referrals become systematized, predictable, or dependable?
Background

Where Kate Took Another Path

Most small business owners would hire two or three specialist firms to address each of their company’s problem areas. Milk Stork’s team considered contracting with a web development firm to program the website, a design firm to create the company’s logo, and a marketing agency to launch ad campaigns for Milk Stork’s grand opening.

But Kate disagreed. Separating Milk Stork’s creative and technical teams was too risky.

Instead, Kate wanted a web developer that could see the world through her customer’s eyes. She couldn’t risk working with a cold-hearted programmer that might overlook the emotional nature of Milk Stork’s service. Professional mothers would never fall in love with Milk Stork’s brand if they had to slog through a cold and analytical website.

Likewise, Kate expected marketing agencies wouldn’t develop a deep understanding of Milk Stork’s logistics technology. Yet any mistake in Milk Stork’s sales copy, user interface, shipping instructions, or email automation systems risked ruining each customer’s valuable breast milk and any chance of repeat sales.

Milk Stork wanted to work with a team entrenched in two entirely different fields: growth marketing and custom web development. Kate knew she had to pair convincing marketing and sales copy with an easy-to-use website

Milk Stork’s Teams Up with Tall Cube

Kate interviewed dozens of consulting firms, contractors, web developers, marketers, and business experts. She was having trouble connecting with contractors she trusted enough to guide her company. No one shared Kate’s enthusiasm for Milk Stork’s mission.

Valerie’s team at Tall Cube had a deep history of web development while also being able to empathize with Kate’s customers. Valerie understood the thoughts, fears, and objections that filled the minds of Milk Stork’s skeptical mothers. Most importantly, Tall Cube understood and were dedicated to Milk Stork’s larger mission.

What was your first impression of Valerie? Why did you choose to work with her over your other options?
What was your first impression of Valerie? Why did you choose to work with her over your other options?
How did you find Valerie? How would you describe your first collaboration?
Believe it or not, I found Valerie on Yelp. I had contacted a number of large branding/web firms and it was clear that with one of them I would be a VERY small fish in a VERY HUGE pond. In speaking with the “big” firms they acted like they had it all figured out, which felt like dangerous thinking to me. I really needed someone who was willing to take on an adventure with us, and could think beyond cookie cutter approaches. When I spoke with Valerie, she asked insightful questions and I could tell that she immediately was problem solving on how we could bring Milk Stork to life. And, she was honest about the challenges that we would/could face. I didn’t want someone blowing sunshine up my ass – I wanted someone who was willing to get their hands dirty and trailblaze.
Background

How Tall Cube Helped Build Milk Stork

Kate and Tall Cube worked together to complete three critical projects:

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Crafting Milk Stork’s Brand

Challenge: Tall Cube set out to create a sales-driven brand and logo for Milk Stork. Valerie and her team determined the logo’s goals:

  • Assist new online sales with skeptical mothers
  • Appeal to corporate clients and partners
  • Display trustworthiness and punctuality

Solution: Tall Cube worked closely with Milk Stork to conceptualize and design their new logo.

Finding The Target Market The first step to building a new brand is identifying your target market. Who are you trying to sell to?

Kate and Valerie spent hours discussing the specifics of Milk Stork’s ideal buyer. The company’s logo was designed with the real-world customer in mind: the professional mother.

Craft a trustworthy and attractive brand

What were you looking for in a logo for Milk Stork? How did Valerie help you create it?
It needed to have emotional currency but could not be overly sentimental. Milk Stork moms are savvy uber-successful women who are working at the top of their fields. It needed to convey warmth, reliability and expediency.
Describe Milk Stork’s ideal customer?
Executive or senior executive. Fantastic mom – and busy mom. Often the breadwinner. Smart, savvy, accomplished.

“Milk Stork appeals to super moms. We’re talking about smart, accomplished, tough, self-determined women with a take-no-$#%& attitude.”

Anticipating Objections

Managing objections is a key component of direct sales. A single ignored objection will stop many potential customers from completing their purchase. Identifying and addressing anticipated buying objections may directly remove doubt and increase confidence in your product or service.

Mothers won’t ship breast milk if they aren’t absolutely convinced that Milk Stork will deliver flawlessly. Price isn’t the objection here; building trust comes first.

“Mothers value their breast milk beyond money itself. Establishing trustworthiness with new prospects is prerequisite to any sale.”

Crafting Milk Stork’s Logo

Your logo serves as a new customer’s first impression with your company. Your logo’s visual style influences how customers interpret your brand’s messaging. Over time each logo acts as a vehicle for all the emotions and experiences people have had with your company over the years.

Milk Stork’s logo needed to communicate a sense of warmth and tenderness that mothers would connect with while also demonstrating a sense of punctuality, efficiency, and trustworthiness. Milk Stork’s logo had to strike a chord with professional mothers and represent a part of the customers themselves.

How did you come to decide on Milk Stork’s final logo? Did you make a lot of adjustments?
The first round was a great batch. From there we talked about getting the colors and font right – again, it was really important for it to be a relatable image but not overly sentimental. The Stork is a foil for the mom herself – how she would want her milk cared for.
We also wanted to make sure that our stork looked fast – and different from all the other storks in the maternity space. It is kind of a dorky bird – so we had to make it elegant and fast too.
The first round was a great batch. From there we talked about getting the colors and font right – again, it was really important for it to be a relatable image but not overly sentimental. The Stork is a foil for the mom herself – how she would want her milk cared for.

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Web Development

Challenge: If mothers found Milk Stork’s website difficult to use, then Kate’s new company risked low sales conversion rates, fewer returning customers, and a user-base hesitant to recommend the website to their less technical friends or family.

Valerie worked with Kate to build a blueprint of all the features and options Milk Stork’s customers needed to have a great experience. Additionally, Valerie found ways to use Milk Stork’s website to help automate Milk Stork’s day-to-day operations.

Tall Cube’s custom-built website featured:

  • Intuitive user interface for shipment booking
  • Easy customer account management
  • Shipment tracking systems
  • Automated email communications
  • Operations process automation
  • Reliable hosting and information security

Solution: Tall Cube’s web development team scoped, prototyped, and launched Milk Stork’s entire website. Each month our team adds more features for Kate’s growing company.

User Interface Design

Milk Stork’s customers can quickly and easily enter or edit their personal information, get live updates on their breast milk’s shipment and delivery time, and request additional services.

Clear documentation and an intuitive interface make Milk Stork’s website easy to use. Ease-of-use helps busy mothers avoid frustrating errors. Which, in turn, means these career-minded women will be more likely to order again and share their positive experience with other moms.

Design and program Milk Stork’s website

Automated & Branded Emails

Milk Stork’s website automatically sends customers e-mail updates when their shipments are sent or need their feedback. Moms get a real-time notification email to let them know when their breast-milk has safely arrived back home.

In the rare case that a customer’s shipment is interrupted or delayed en-route then mother will be made aware of the issue entirely automatically and instantaneously.

Operations & Workflow Automation

Milk Stork’s website has automated the process of generating and printing shipping labels for each shipment and parcel. Customer information from the website is sent to the shipment carrier and postage stickers are created automatically. This saves Milk Stork an enormous amount of time each day.

Scalable & Secure Hosting

Kate’s business has the good fortune of major media and news coverage. What if the company was featured on the national news, only for the website’s servers to crash under the demand? The opportunity cost knows no bounds.

That’s why Tall Cube’s developers configured Milk Stork’s web servers to quickly scale according to demand. If Milk Stork’s web traffic numbers spike upwards, then the company’s servers can expand to serve all new visitors automatically.

Kate also needs to know that her customer’s data is safe, encrypted, and doesn’t unknowingly expose her new company to legal liability issues. Tall Cube’s security experts keep all of Kate’s customer data behind military-grade encryption.

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Scalable & Secure HostingChallenge: Building a functional website is only half the battle; customers must complete a long series of steps without confusion, objection, or hitting the “Back” button.

Kate trusts Tall Cube to make Milk Stork easy to use for new and old customers alike. A simple user experience raises Milk Stork’s customer lifetime value by raising conversion and reorder rates.

In short, Tall Cube finds ways to make it easy for Milk Stork’s customers to order time and time again.

Improving customer lifetime value is the result of:

  • Convincing design and sales copy
  • Easy to follow instructions
  • Simplifying user interfaces
  • Encouraging additional purchases

Solution: Tall Cube reimagined Milk Stork’s entire sales funnel through the eyes of a new customer. Any annoyances or difficulties were found and corrected. Customer feedback and iteration is core to improving Milk Stork’s user experience.

Optimize customer experience and lifetime value

Web Design and Sales Copy

Milk Stork’s new user experience — how the website and physical packaging looks and feels — needs to be simple, warm, and positive.

Tall Cube’s marketing team raised conversion rates beyond Milk Stork’s original sales copy by focusing on day-to-day benefits, defeating buyer objections, and creating a bond with working mothers. Copywriting and design improvements have helped boost Milk Stork’s new customer close rates.

Clear and Simple Instructions

Asking customers to send easily spoiled breast milk hundreds or thousands of miles without issue requires truly bullet-proof instructions.

That’s why making customer instructions as simple as possible is so important to boosting repeat sales. If a new customer has a remotely negative experience, even if they misread “correct” documentation, then that mother will never return.

Background

Crisis Averted: Milk Stork Nearly Fails to Launch

The young company’s first crisis struck just days before their grand opening. Milk Stork’s payment processor, which was expected to handle all launch-day sales, unexpectedly discontinued their relationship with Kate’s new company.

Milk Stork was paralyzed. There wasn’t another way to accept payments, and their heavily-promoted launch day was under a week away.

Kate turned to Valerie to solve the problem. Milk Stork needed a new way to accept credit cards — one that wouldn’t fail the company under any circumstances.

Tall Cube rushed to completely rebuild the website’s customer payment systems for Milk Stork. Slower turn-around could have cost Milk Stork new customers and risk the company’s trustworthy image with existing customers.

Tall Cube’s payment processing solution is still used to this day.

How did you come to decide on Milk Stork’s final logo? Did you make a lot of adjustments?
The first round was a great batch. From there we talked about getting the colors and font right – again, it was really important for it to be a relatable image but not overly sentimental. The Stork is a foil for the mom herself – how she would want her milk cared for.
We also wanted to make sure that our stork looked fast – and different from all the other storks in the maternity space. It is kind of a dorky bird – so we had to make it elegant and fast too.
Background

Milk Stork Signs Dozens of Fortune 500 Clients

Hundreds of professional mothers approached their corporate employers and human resources departments with a simple request: Milk Stork should be covered as an employee benefit. It seems that everyone agreed.

In a matter a few short months, Milk Stork has grown from a few corporate partnerships to signing nearly a dozen more each month. Many of these accounts are household names, including news and media conglomerates, major credit cards, the largest software companies, and the most prestigious consulting firms.

Kate’s growth is interesting because she hasn’t cold called, advertised, or pursued these company accounts in any way. Mothers are so excited about Milk Stork that they’ve spread the word to make the service available for themselves and other moms. Milk Stork is growing exponentially due entirely to their astounding customer experience.

Information Security Strong Enough for Tech Giants

One of the most iconic technology companies asked Kate how they could onboard a large number of new mothers quickly.

But there was a problem: The multi-billion dollar corporation required military-grade encryption and security requirements for any vendor interfacing with their employees. Milk Stork’s existing security measures were strong, but meeting this particular client’s strict requirements mandated a much deeper investment in data security.

Tall Cube’s role as a technology consultant helped Milk Stork build an information infrastructure capable of supporting the largest technology company in the world.

Challenge:Tall Cube worked with the client’s engineers and attorneys to design and develop an information security system that met the internet giant’s rigorous standards.

Existing solutions, such as HTTPS encryption and conservative password requirements, were not enough on their own. The client’s employees and their personal information needed to be totally secure even in the event of a complete security compromise.

Solution: Tall Cube developed an entirely secure corporate portal for all of the technology giant’s employees in accordance with their strict security requirements.

The new account portal featured:

  • More rigorous encryption technology
  • Expanded customer information intake forms
  • Anonymized records and reporting for Human Resources
  • Customized monthly reporting and invoicing routines
  • Private client employee-only user access portals
  • Several confidential security upgrades

The internet giant was delighted with the developments, and large numbers of the corporation’s working moms use Milk Stork on a regular basis.

Moving forward, Milk Stork has begun promoting high-security account options to all client organizations. These security improvements have already helped Milk Stork sign corporate accounts with several additional Fortune 500 companies.

What can you tell us about meeting the new security requirements? How has Valerie’s team helped you meet their challenges?
Honestly, I couldn’t tell you what they were – that was the challenge. We needed someone to interpret/decipher their request. And, then work with us to address each individual item

Kate’s Own Words on Tall Cube

Milk Stork first signed with our team at Tall Cube back in September 2014.
Her feelings on our firm are shaped through our collaboration across over two years.

Milk Stork first signed with our team at Tall Cube back in September 2014.
I can’t imagine doing it any other way. Our platform and our branding are one in the same. We have been moving FAST since we launched, and having to connect the dots between a bunch of different entities would be a nightmare.one in the same. We have been moving FAST since we launched, and having to connect the dots between a bunch of different entities would be a nightmare
When has Valerie gone above-and-beyond for you and Milk Stork? How does that compare to other contractor relationships you’ve had?
There have been a lot of “holy shit” and “what are we going to do now?” moments – whether it was the payment processing company backing out or rebuilding our entire platform to better accommodate our enterprise clients.
When you start a company and scale quickly, there’s tons of growing pains and “problems” to solve – Tall Cube and Valerie have always been their to help us tackle challenges while we scale – and she works quickly to get the job done – which is SO important when you are growing quickly because there is just no time to waste