Meet: Helen from On Up
On Up started with a simple idea: finding the right products for motherhood shouldn’t be so hard. If you’re a mother, you have a lot to juggle – kids, career, dinner, playing peekaboo. Our mission is to make life easier for mom. We started that mission with Pumpie, a line of products that make cleaning and carrying breast pump parts effortless, and will continue it with On Up. We think there aren’t enough people focused on making mom’s life easier.
With three kids at home, founder and venture capitalist Helen Ciesielski knows more than she’d like to about pumping product trial and error. She founded On Up as a way to help women discover and buy the products they need for motherhood.
WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR
“Moms, especially first-time moms, ask their friends a lot of questions – What did you buy? What did you use? – and get a lot of Excel docs and Word docs, emails and texts back. On Up simplifies this process with Momma Lists, which helps moms find the right products by leveraging a mom’s most trusted advisors – her friends.”
THE PUMPING LIST
“Our first Momma List is for pumping. A new momma or momma-to-be asks her friends with kiddos to go to On Up to create her Pumping List which covers all the pumping products that she uses, loves and recommends.”
THE RIGHT PRODUCTS
“I realized that having the right products makes motherhood easier. When I started pumping with my first child, I didn’t even know you were supposed to sterilize the breast pump parts. The first time I sat down to pump, I took the pump out of the box, read the first direction – sterilize before use – and I was like, ‘I guess I’ll do this tomorrow!’ The next day I realized, OK you really do need a pumping bra. Pumping bras are like 40 bucks and nobody wants to spend money on that until you’re sitting there for 15 or 20 minutes holding the pump.”
“I want to help moms fast forward. If I had sat down for the first time to pump and had the pumping bra, a Pumpie dishwasher bag and nipple cream, my life would have been so much freaking easier. I probably wouldn’t have been eight months in being like, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to make it to a year!’ And when you have a kid, you don’t have time or money to waste on the wrong products. If you buy the wrong product, it’s more than frustrating and you’ve wasted precious resources.”
DISCOVER & BUY
“On Up wants to make it easy for people, especially moms, to discover and buy the best products for themselves and their families. We are facilitating insurance covered breast pumps so that as many moms as possible can have easy access to one of the most important products in a breastfeeding mother's journey."
“As a mom, you have to be careful that the pressure to lean in doesn’t cause you to fall flat on your face. No one can ‘do it all.’ So you have to decide what you’re going to do. Every working mom is going to figure out a balance that works for her. It’s ok to make choices. At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you and your family.”
“To lean in without falling down, I had to figure out the things I wasn’t willing to budge on – the things that I absolutely needed for my family and myself. I need to be there for my kids, and for me that means having quality time with the kids during the day and having myself or my husband put the kids to bed every night (except for date night! – which is also a must!). I need to have a career that is challenging and that I’m passionate about. And I need time at the gym. Those are the things that are essential. And when one of those things starts to fall apart, we have to make a change.”
“Patience is the most important thing in business, and my kids have taught me patience. Freaking out doesn’t get a good response and I really learned that by interacting with my kids. You can freak out at a toddler all day long but it just makes them even crazier. So I’m constantly trying to figure out how to remain calm and positively deal with the situation, even when all I want to do is be like, ‘What the heck! Come on!’”