When Sarah Kallile, a mom of three girls from Dayton, Ohio, was breastfeeding her second daughter in 2021, she was frustrated with a “frumpy” nursing bra that didn’t meet her needs. “I wanted a better alternative that was chic and leakproof,” she says, but she came up empty after an online search and polling friends. With her startup marketing background, she created an informal survey that revealed 84 percent of mamas in her circle were dissatisfied with their nursing bras. “It’s a universal pain point,” she says, one she was ready to solve.
With the help of her mom, who was a seamstress, and a $10,000 grant from the Female Founder Collective Big Pitcher competition, she worked through six prototypes before launching her new bra, through her company Lunnie, in March 2022. It sold out in the first production run, and the University of Dayton awarded her a $50,000 grant. She restocked, had another baby, and has two patents filed for the bra.
What makes it different is that the cups aren’t removable, so it maintains shape with eachwashing and feeding. Kallile says it’s six times more absorbent than leading competitors, and the v-neck design with gold hardware and no wires is “gorgeous.”
But Lunnie is about more than a bra. “It always bothered me how much attention is given to pregnancy, yet after a mom gives birth she often is forgotten. Postpartum is a very challenging time physically, mentally, and emotionally,” she says. “Moms are the real MVPs of society but they’re not treated that way. We see it play out in many facets: A one-time six-week appointment covered by insurance post-birth, postpartum depression on the rise, a failed paid maternity leave bill, etc.” Lunnie is a part of a movement to support moms who are underserved, working against stigmas preventing them from flourishing postpartum.