Forbes interview with Lisa Myers
Photo by Mariel and Joey Lifestyle Photography
September 29, 2021
Lisa Myers, the Founder and CEO of Ceres Chill, sat down to speak with Author and Senior Contributor for Forbes, Micah Solomon. She dives into this amazing journey of starting her own company and the impact that it’s had on her life, her family and moms all around the world.
With a tag line of “Never worry about safely storing your breastmilk again,” the revolutionary Ceres Chill breast milk storage bottle has transformed the lives of working women. But where did the idea come from, and who is behind it? I wanted to find out.
Micah Solomon: Tell me about your flagship product, Ceres Chill
Lisa Myers, President and CEO, Ceres Chill: It’s a significant new product that has no equivalent elsewhere in the breast milk storage industry. Ceres Chill replaces the 1970's technology coolers that have been holding women back and weighing moms down for decades. Simply put, it is a discreet, sustainable, dual-chamber insulated bottle that connects directly to breast pumps and can safely store breast milk for over 20 hours.
Solomon: Tell me how you came to create it.
Myers: I thought of Ceres Chill after returning to work from maternity leave. Working as an attorney in a law office with mostly male colleagues I quickly realized I was out of luck as far as safe, discreet breastmilk storage. Staring at the bottles of breastmilk lined up on my desk while planning my next work trip to settle a big case, I realized I needed something much, much better. I began looking and found absolutely nothing that would work. There were only unacceptable options that would make life as a working, pumping mom that much more difficult.
At about the same time as I was dumping bottles of breastmilk down the drain because the coolers wouldn't last or get through security, my three-year-old daughter started having sleep issues. The stress of it and my sleepless nights had a plus side: they resulted in extra hours at night for me to plan the business, while I continued to parent my kids and work as an attorney during the day.
Solomon: How successful has it been so far? Brag for a bit!
Myers: By any measure, we are killing it. Making constant financial gains, fantastic reviews, less than 1% returns, perfected designs and newly patented products. We have been approached by hospitals, medical professional groups and retailers about wholesale, which may be the next thing we pursue. We are now at that critical point where I need to decide if we take on professional investment or muscle through and grow it on our own.
It’s also successful on a level that means even more to me: I hear from moms who are fighter pilots, surgeons, ER nurses: moms who have been on the frontline of the COVID pandemic, telling us how this product has helped them get through...that’s enough to know that I put something amazing out in this world. As a woman, I know how powerful this is. As a mother, I know that my children are proud of me. I know that I’m helping people all across the world; moms from South America, Europe, Asia and North America have reached out to me about needing this chiller to make their lives easier. And that is so worth it.
A further note from Lisa:
“Life is relentless. As an entrepreneur and working parent, it is a constant juggle and it is never pretty. Often, the people you love will tell you that you are doing too much, working too hard, stretched too thin, unhealthy or just plain wrong. You'll devote all you have to your day job to ensure the health and welfare of everyone you love while spending the rest of your time and yourself nurturing your business. Everything meaningful feels like it is at stake and you are always tired.
In the end, you make progress and build on that progress until you are still exhausted but you are no longer risking it all. Instead, you are working to ensure the future of a company you love and have sacrificed everything for. Similar to being a parent, I feel a successful entrepreneur trusts their gut, must be willing to sacrifice many things (definitely sleep), for the greater good and gives everything to secure the end result — a safe, happy, healthy, autonomous child/entity.
In addition to being the founder of this company, I'm a partner at an international law firm. I'm a never-say-die litigator and an aggressive negotiator. I'll keep doing all of the things I love, and do them to the best of my ability. Some days it’s overwhelming, but knowing how many ounces of breastmilk we're saving, how many lives we're changing — that makes it worth it.
In addition to being the founder of this company, I'm a partner at an international law firm. I'm a never-say-die litigator and an aggressive negotiator. I'll keep doing all of the things I love and do them to the best of my ability. Some days it’s overwhelming, but knowing how many ounces of breastmilk we're saving, how many lives we're changing — that makes it worth it.
I know firsthand how it feels to have no other option aside from the dumb cooler that can make the already challenging breastmilk journey seem much more daunting. That's also why I’ve gone above and beyond to bust harmful breastmilk storage myths that lead to wasted milk: Moms who are raising children, who are trying to return to their lives out in the world, don’t need the stress. With busy days and sleepless nights, sometimes it just takes one thing to tear them down and push them off course. Maybe that’s forgetting to freeze your ice pack and being screwed for the day, or having to pour the milk you created down the drain. I want to take all of that unnecessary stress and burden away. So, at the beginning or end of a day, even if I’m exhausted from it all, I know that I’m helping other people rest for a bit.
When I look back at this time, I’ll be most proud that my kids saw the whole thing — from my struggle as a working mom to an idea to help myself and others to a profitable company that makes a difference. I will be happy that they saw how much I cared and that they hopefully understood that I loved them while also figuring out a way to be committed to something beyond our very immediate world as well. I will be proud that my husband and I held our marriage together through it all, even while he served our country overseas. He remained one of my biggest supporters.
What I'll always be very proud of is the team of people that have come together to make Ceres Chill real and a thriving business. I have amazing people around me who are just as passionate about our mission as I am, and that I’ve changed the lives of so many moms that need things to be even slightly easier. I’ll be proud of myself, too — that I trusted myself and stood by working moms like me to see this through. With my husband deployed, two young children and no breaks, it's daunting. But I did it, and I did it well. I knew this needed to happen for all the moms trying to do it all.
That's why I gave it everything I had when it counted. I’ll always be proud of that.