Local businesswoman WOWs judges in three prestigious awards


19 July 2014 – Cambridge businesswoman Frances McInnes describes July 2014 as “a banner month” after her online maternity business Breastmates was honoured in three prestigious awards within the span of a few weeks.

In her role as Director of Breastmates, Frances was selected as a finalist in the “Best Online and Technology Business” category of the inaugural Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur Awards 2014. Set up to recognise mothers who have taken an entrepreneurial idea and turned it into a reality, being a finalist in the Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur Awards is a highly visible and well-respected honour which only a select group of New Zealand businesses are privileged to claim.

“I was so excited to attend the Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur Awards ceremony in Wellington last week,” Frances says. “Being in the presence of so many fellow ‘mumtrepreneurs’ was very inspiring and humbling, and being recognised for my achievement in running a successful business while raising young children is so gratifying.”

The businesswoman and mum of two is also an artist and designer, and both of these talents have been recognised this month, first with the announcement that Frances’s creation was selected to advance to the next round of judging for the 2014 WOW (World of WearableArts) Awards. Crafted from thousands of plastic bread tags sent in by members of the Breastmates online community, this vibrant and whimsical costume is not just a work of art, but a feminist statement, which Frances cannot reveal until after the final judging takes place in September.

“I can’t wait to show the 20,000 mums in my online community the design which their contributions helped me to craft,” Frances explains. “This is my fourth entry into the WOW Awards, and each time, Breastmates mums have been so supportive and encouraging each time.”

And the icing on the cake was the nomination of her original breastfeeding garment design, the “Clip-on Cami”, in the “Favourite Breastfeeding Product” category of the My Child Excellence Awards. Established by Australian parenting magazine My Child, the My Child Excellence Awards recognise market-leading products in the pregnancy, baby, and children’s retail category.

“I’m overwhelmed and humbled by these accolades,” Frances says. “I started Breastmates in 2004 with just $50 and one product, and it’s amazing to see that now, almost a decade later, I’ve grown my business to the point of being recognised in international awards, as well as continued to develop my creative side, all while raising my two sons.

“I’m passionate about helping mums, and over the past decade, Breastmates has evolved from being not just an online store, but a supportive community of advice, articles, and products which help mothers to feel successful and encouraged as parents. I’m so honoured that my little business has been acknowledged by the judges of these three prestigious awards, and really appreciate their consideration.”