A letter from me, Renee Ball – Mum, wife, entrepreneur and proud owner of The Lactation Station
This week, my little enterprise www.thelactationstation.co.nz and its boobie-branded products have been drawn into a negative social media campaign. There have been targeted and defamatory claims against me shared on various platforms involving multiple channels. The viral messages contain accusations of stealing and large-scale aggressive behavior that are completely inaccurate and go against our company ethos. The accusations have cast a wide net and caused a lot of heartache, upset and distress for a lot of people.
Firstly, this is not a David versus Goliath situation as has been portrayed. Like so many of you, I am also a young mum, with two young children. Over the course of three years, I have painstakingly nurtured a caring and reputable brand into a successful and flourishing Kiwi business. The perception that I run a high-profile, big business with a large team behind me is incorrect. The reality is The Lactation Station is a small family-run business based out of Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty. My team is a grand total of two plus a new part-time administration role. This role is filled by another young woman who is passionate about The Lactation Station, thriving and learning along the way. The third person is my amazing mum. I couldn’t do what I do without her. On a daily basis, she goes above and beyond to support my business.
Balancing the demands of a growing business and trying to be the best mother I can, has been a big challenge. Over the years we have invested all our personal finance, long days, and long nights 24/7 to achieve a great reputation and 5-star reviews across all of our platforms and products. As a newbie in the business world, I have relied on a trusted and valuable support network of mentors and advisors. In 2020, I was advised to trademark The Lactation Station, its existing and developing and future products including the word ‘Boobie’. This includes our biscuits, bags, and bars. We applied for and successfully secured these trademarks which means we now own the rights in New Zealand.
In October this year we received a wholesale transaction which highlighted that other parties would be impacted by our trademark. We proactively reached out to raise awareness with that party that the trademark existed. Not wanting to mishandle such a sensitive issue we sought the help of lawyers. However, legal correspondence can sound very official. It was not our intention to be intimidating and we were not directing personal criticism at anyone involved.
I am proud that The Lactation Station has been part of a growing and bustling industry and I really respect other mums and businesses out there doing the same. When it comes to breastfeeding, there are many boobs and babies in this world that need looking after. In our view, more passionate businesses creates more choice for them and better health and wellbeing outcomes.
This is admittedly a difficult period for The Lactation Station however, we trust our values and business ethics and good intentions will become evident over time. Our number one priority at The Lactation Station has always been and will continue to be, delivering the best possible products and customer service to all our valuable clients.
The Lactation Station were early innovators and adopters of a lactation brand products in New Zealand. Guided by sound advice, we were the first to take the appropriate moves to protect the property and value of our organisation. This is a legitimate and watertight process that exists to protect a company's future. The Lactation Station firmly stand by our decision follow standard business practice and at no point have we intentionally set out to intimidate or persecute another brand. The process involves formal language and processes that are beyond our control.
Please take into consideration that legal language can be interpreted in a negative context and therefore used as publicity tool against brands in the court of public opinion.