Matilda 20 months Franjo's Kitchen
Full of natural galactagogues oats, brewers yeast and flaxseeds along with nature’s superfood’s coconut oil, chia seeds and buckwheat flour Tanker Toppers will not only help you ‘fill up your tanks’ whilst breastfeeding but also load you and your baby up with vitamins, minerals, fibre and good fats during this time.
I first met Fran, one third of Franjo’s Kitchen a couple of months after my daughter was born. You see, before I gave birth I thought breastfeeding was a natural maternal ability, a right, a skill I would inherently be good at because after all – aren’t women supposed to be able to breastfeed with ease? I soon found out that unfortunately for me this was not the case.
I was introduced to Fran and quickly learned that she too had struggled with milk supply early on in her breastfeeding journey. Fran, a passionate cook and advocate of healthy living had starting making lactation biscuits to boost her own supply. I asked her to make me a batch and I loved them! I saw huge potential in the concept and encouraged Fran to pursue the idea.
Fran and her naturopath business partner Jo (who met whilst taking their daughters for a walk in their local neighbourhood of Kingsville) quickly started working on their first samples of ‘Tanker Toppers’ – a super healthy snack size treat that encourages the natural production of breast milk whilst providing a delicious snack packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre and good fats. I am thrilled to say that I was Franjo’s first customer and a happy one at that. The Tanker Toppers had an instant positive physical effect and since our initial meeting I have kept in contact with Fran and seen the brand evolve into a full fledge brand with a strong ethos and integrity.
The Franjo’s team comprises of Jo, a naturopath and nutritionist, Kate an art director and Fran is a corporate lawyer at Country Road. Like most growing businesses the team has roped in their husbands who play a vital role in the business. Jo’s husband as CFO, Fran’s husband is head of logistics and Kate’s husband is the photographer.
The Tanker Toppers, are egg, dairy, wheat and refined sugar free lactation bikkies and come in two flavours – Choc Chip and Fig and Almond. Every ingredient has been chosen with a breastfeeding mum’s wellbeing in mind, yet whilst they are intended to assist in boosting milk supply they also provide a nutritious and guilt free snack that benefits mum and bub (dad’s love them too!).
As Franjo’s Kitchen continues to evolve and grow expect thoughtful considered products that are created specifically for mums and their families. Inspiring, engaging content and advice and recipes for your family plus a few exciting product collaborations.
You all have other ‘day jobs’ at the moment, how and when do you work on Franjo’s Kitchen?
Well every spare second of every day! We try to get together as a team once a week as it’s so much easier working together, but there are a lot of e-mails, text messages and phone calls flying around at all hours of the day!
What inspires you creatively and personally?
Fran: Everything! Words, ingredients, beautiful images and experiences. But it’s mainly other people, I am very excitable and collaborating and sharing ideas is my biggest source of inspiration.
Kate: The majority of my day comprises of just me and computer screen. It’s easy to say that I find of inspiration through websites like Behance etc BUT the truth is that I’m most inspired by steping away from the screen and collaborating with others like Fran and Jo (plus they feed me delicious nutritious goodies).
Jo: Personally – I have a strong desire to better myself on all levels – mentally, emotionally and physically and I get this from being around inspiring people and grabbing on to every inch of their super knowledge and trying to integrate it into my own life. Matilda also inspires me greatly… she teaches me to slow down and be in the present moment. Creatively – Kate and Fran inspire me and I need all the inspiration I can get!
What has been the best thing about being your own boss both before and after children?
Fran: It’s a double-edged sword for me, I have a lot of drive but I’m also my own worst critic. Before children I had more time and was more interested in exploring my creative side, I did a lot of writing, pop up stuff, events and cooking. Now I’m more driven, because I feel if I’m going to spend time away from Phoebe I need to make it worthwhile. So I never tell myself to turn off (like a boss hopefully would!)
Jo: The independence and not answering to anyone! I love being a boss – you just ask my husband. I started my own naturopathic clinic before Matilda and I also am involved with another health food company (post Matilda). I love being able to run with my ideas and put 100% of my work time in to only things that I am passionate about. I don’t really see what I do as ‘work’. Now with Matilda I have to be extra extra organised and be OK with things taking a little longer than usual which is probably good as it makes me consider things a lot more!
How do you balance (juggle) family time and work time? Who is your ‘village?
Fran: Our immediate family is all in New Zealand so we don’t have much of a village! My cousin lives in Melbourne and is a wonderful babysitter, but otherwise it is just my husband and I and of course my wonderful friends and fellow mums. It’s pretty hard some days!
Jo: Like Fran our immediate family are not so close – I am a country Victorian girl and our parents live 3 hours away. Although they are fab and do come down regularly. Thank god I landed an awesome mothers group, my close friends, my brother and cousins and a beautiful community neighbourhood in Kingsville! I’ve got to thank those stop lights on Williamstown road more…where Matilda and I met Phoebe and Fran.
When working on Franjo’s Kitchen how are your days structure around your children and family?
Fran: This one is hard too! I try my best to work when Phoebe is asleep or in childcare, but I am often working off my iphone while she’s awake. I run a pretty tight ship organisation wise, have a cleaner, a super supportive and helpful husband and have Phoebe in childcare 3-4 days a week.
Jo: Good question! I don’t think we ever stop working on it. Matilda is going to know this business inside and out by the time she is 5. Matilda is in day-care with Phoebe 2 days a week so those days are very precious for Franjo’s. I also work in her sleep, at night time (trying to put the computer away by 8 though) and on the weekends. I am more speedy than I have ever been! #efficiency
Health and Good food is very important to FK I see, have you always been so conscious – any quick tips here for leading a cleaner and healthier life?
Fran: Since my teenage years I have been obsessed with food – cooking, eating out, writing about food and all that entails. So I’ve always strived to eat beautiful whole food and ingredients. Since I’ve had Phoebe and met Jo, I have definitely become more conscious about the nutritional benefit of the food I eat. My husband also has an auto-immune disorder so I have become even more interested in eating well. Tips? Chose real food and ingredients and you can’t go wrong.
Jo: My favourite question! This means the world to me. I am a better wife, mum, friend and daughter for living a clean, healthy and balanced life. We eat mostly organic food, only real stuff and products made out of real ingredients (sound familiar?) at home. I go nutty if I don’t exercise (gym, yoga, running) I need to do something most days.
Remember keep it real, no numbers, wholefoods, loads of vegies and zero white stuff (white sugar, refined flours and fake sugars) but also BALANCE is the key. Be naughty some times and enjoy it. 80:20 rule.
Tell us about the creative process, how does it start, who is involved, how long does it take to produce one recipe/product?
Our creative process involves all three of us. We have lots of ideas which often stem from a problem, decide to focus on one and draw inspiration from Jo’s background as a naturopath and what we envisage the end product looking like. Sometimes it’s a quick process, other times we might go back and forward together playing around. There are no rules.
Kate, I love your packaging, tell us more about this process and how the branding has evolved.
Our initial brief was to create packaging that could be sent in the post, to tie in with our online business. We didn’t want to double package and wanted to create an item that could be left in the cupboard, something special for mum. Returning customers can purchase refill packs and pop them back into their tin. Reinforcing our overall holistic brand view of organic natural products – no waste and it helps mum feel special and healthy.
Franjo’s Kitchen’s Petite Edit
Best place for Sunday breakfast?
Jo: Pint of Milk in Newport
Best place for a family getaway?
Fran: Waiheke Island in New Zealand. It’s our happy place.
Jo: Byron Bay – our favourite place in Australia
What is your go-to resource?
Fran: Friends and family.
Jo: Ed, my husband.
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