Publish Novellas 14 November 2021
EPISODE 3 – FULFILLMENT
Mothers join forces to conceive a viable plan for selling breast milk to the masses.
⚠️ Reader Discretion: Mature dialogue.
The two women test negative for HIV, AIDS, hepatitis B and C, HTLV, syphilis, COVID, and Paget’s disease.  In sanitized kitchen areas, they begin measuring their daily production. After establishing a sweetness ranking, they taste and indicate such on each frozen package.
Before going into final production, they invite their husbands and a group of twenty friends over for taste testing. Some are breastfeeding mothers. A few are pregnant. Samples include cow’s milk, goat milk, sweet almond milk, and breast milk to compare. There are also some smoothies and baked desserts for variety.
The women disclose that one or more of the items guests will consume includes breast milk. The mothers were fully screened for health safety and all instruments for collection were thoroughly sanitized.
Most tasters assume that the goat milk is human breast milk. A couple suspect the almond milk. Greg and Donald correctly identify their wives’ milk.
Upon learning which is breast milk, everyone tastes again with more appreciation. Mothers of nursing infants indicate that they would be willing to give some of this prescreened milk to their babies.
🍼 Have you ever tasted human breast milk as an adult?
One of the moms ushers Arlene into the kitchen. “My husband really seemed to enjoy your breast milk. I can’t have him fantasizing about you. Can we put some of mine in a glass for him?”
“Sure, Hellen. I will even chill it before aeration with a whisk for a better consistency. Give it 30 minutes to cool.”
During the next half hour, Sonya serves the desserts with full disclosure that they include breast milk. All love them, remarking that if anything, they taste better than they might with plain milk.
Hellen then carries the cold glass of frosty milk to her husband, Marcus. “Give this a try and tell me what you think.”
Suspecting what’s going on, he drinks half the glass before wisely admitting, “I’m not sure if this is breast milk, but this may be the best sample of the evening.”
“The other curious lactating moms among us can satisfy respective husbands at home. Sonya and I plan to launch a company that provides breast milk to mothers who appreciate the nutritious benefits, but lack the time or ability to breastfeed. Thank you for sampling our product.”
To mothers present who inquire whether they can participate, Arlene says, “We will soon be in touch.”
The couple of budding entrepreneurs establish a budget of $1500 for all packaging. They hire a Fiverr artist to design a logo, but are not happy with the results. The second Fiverr artist they hire wows them. After printing the 3-color labels with gold foil and buying extra pouches, they have about $500 remaining.
Sonya says, “We need to get the flavor packets and I was thinking that we should include some recipes on a website….”
“Slow down. You have some great ideas, but we need to keep a focus on our cost of goods and gross margin. After feeding our own children, our combined production is about 40 ounces per day—50 ounces with overtime or better equipment.
“Even in the premium milk category with great labels, we should keep our cost of goods, including packaging, below 50 cents per ounce if possible. Dry ice and expedited shipping will increase cost further. The flavor packets and website may be future goals. How do we keep the customer price around $2 and still make a profit?”
“First, I can produce more milk if necessary since I have only one child,” Sonya offers. “There are automated pumps I can wear around the house while performing chores.  Even while my baby is suckling, I can be pumping the other breast.”
“Quality control is the problem when we expand the number of milk contributors. I recommend that we find two or three other lactating mothers in the neighborhood that we can get tested and train them to meet our sanitation standards. Similar health screening to ours is necessary along with periodic areolae examination.”
“They can’t all be partners. These additional mothers should receive a flat rate of maybe 25 cents per ounce. We probably need to pay for good pumps and a larger freezer.”
“It makes no sense to sell and ship one ounce of milk. We should offer minimum 8 ounce packages. If we limit sales locally, within the same state, overnight shipping is much less—perhaps $10.”
“Dry ice is made from frozen carbon dioxide and is -109.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Five pounds of it evaporates after 24 hours. The extra weight and ice can increase shipping to $35 plus the $2 per ounce. That means the customer price of 32 ounces with delivery is $99.
“Our cost would be $43 with no profit on shipping. Assuming 25 cents per ounce, the actual cost of goods is no more than $8. Selling 5,000 ounces with $1.75 gross profit, nets us about $8,750. It would take the two of us 100 days with no breaks to pump that much.”
“That much money as a monthly profit sounds good to split. How many ladies would we require for this?”
“Keep in mind that increasing production will reduce our time for expressing milk. We will spend more time with marketing and fulfillment. But 10 lactating mothers should net us between $7,000–10,000 per month if we sell out. We should not pump them too long or they may bleed and contaminate the product. So it is best to have more women working less hours.”
“Some of that profit would go back into printing more labels, more packing materials, and promotion. But as a hobby, I am happy with those numbers if you are.”
“We have the advantage of working husbands that support us. They should’t mind investing in our venture. They should be fine with our wise use of time and resources to earn extra cash.”
“I could put up some money to get started.”
The women find additional lactating mothers and begin promoting their product locally. Mammary Whey is a big success. By the third month, the new company, Arlonya, nets about $2,000 after paying additional expenses for pumps, furniture, and packing materials.
New lactating mothers become contributors to keep the company growing. Sonya converts her den into a lactation lounge for eight women. The lounge has reclining theater chairs, a large play pin for toddlers, and a flatscreen television. She also examines nipples throughout the day for excessive redness, swelling, or abnormal discharge.
Sonya is happy with the direction things are going but wants to clear the air of lingering issues.
“You do an excellent job focusing on numbers and administration. We could really grow if you open another lactation lounge in your home.”
“It’s a good thought. I must talk to Donald about it before responding.”
“Okay, let me know. I’m knocking myself out with all these moms while you are typing on your laptop computer in the distance. Maybe in the interim, you can help me examine their nipples prior to hooking up the pumps.”
“I think we should discuss the elephant in the room—or literally, the breasts. Our entire business centers around them. We see them, touch them, and drink the milk from them. But you hesitate to interact with the moms. Can we talk about what’s going on?”
“It seems like I am hiding behind Donald, but he is my rock. I will be very open with you soon. If I hint at what’s going on internally, you could get the wrong idea. After talking with Donald I promise to answer all your questions in detail.”
“It sounds very much like you’re hiding behind your husband.”