Hi, I’m Kristin. If not the person you’ve met standing behind the Mother Butter table at your favorite farmers market, then the lady who sends you a little note in your Mother Butter online order. I want to take a step back to share who I am and my “why”, as I want to continue to write here to document this time: this time of our small business and of my own personal journey growing into motherhood.
I think it makes sense to start from the beginning(ish). That beginning occurred in my senior year of college at Drexel when my close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was 20 years old. Robin was fierce—always an attitude, Robin wore “UFO pants” throughout our days at Drexel and was always on her own path. She questioned everyone and everything. We laughed a lot. When Robin got through her breast cancer treatments only to come out the other side with a condition called Lymphedema (a chronic swelling of the arm), she felt defeated. Robin was told she’d have to wear a beige compression sleeve on her arm for life and she said, “I don’t think so.” She turned to me, a fashion design student at the time, and Rachel, a fellow young breast cancer survivor with lymphedema who had the business savvy and passion for solving this problem.
Together the three of us felt unstoppable. It was 2006 and we developed a business plan for “LympheDIVAs”, a line of medically correct compression apparel that was available in a variety of styles and colors. Sixteen years later, LympheDIVAs is still going strong, serving women throughout the world with more comfortable alternatives to manage their lymphedema. It was the most invigorating experience, providing women with something they themselves wished existed at the time. And it was a simple solution, really, but this is where I dove head first into the world of women’s wellness and began recognizing the lack that existed there. This is when I realized that, my goodness, there was still so much left to do.
I was about 26 years old when I decided I needed a change. I needed to learn again and in truth, I needed to step away as breast cancer wouldn’t let up and it became a really sad place over time. Briefly, because it’s a blog all on its own, both of my partners—Rachel and Robin—lost their battles with breast cancer. The relationship of a business partner is a special one, it’s a lot like a life partner in many ways. We birthed something together. We celebrated, we fought, we planned and we worked so hard together. I miss them both constantly. But they’ve kept pushing me, I feel them all the time. Here I am today a “solopreneur”, sorely missing that partnership but also recognizing that I’ve prepared myself for today. So when I left LympheDIVAs I found myself within a corporate job at a great company (Comcast) and I took that opportunity to go to grad school and earn my MS in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania. A gift to myself.
All that time of learning and growing, approximately 10 years since I left LympheDIVAs, I dreamt of what I was preparing myself to do. Who was I, really? Women’s wellness still felt like the space I could innovate within and needed to. I knew something else too. I knew that motherhood would sway me to what was next. I knew motherhood would transform me and so I somewhat patiently waited. When my husband and I felt ready to give it a go that’s when a whole new world of learning opened up for me. I had never understood how my hormonal system worked, how women’s bodies function so much differently than men’s and certainly I didn’t know how little women of reproductive age were studied when it came to diets (often women are simply considered “small men”). Having celiac disease, food is always a critical point for me because food is both my medicine and my poison. When I began discovering that there were foods I could eat throughout the month that would balance my hormones and prepare me for fertility I was thrilled to give it a try. I was 35 years old and was well aware that I was stepping into “geriatric pregnancy” if I were so lucky. When after 3 months we conceived naturally the lightbulb went off. I began preparing baskets of food for my fellow girlfriends in the same state of “trying”. I started experimenting with making my own snacks and literally feeding them to my girlfriend who had been trying for years… and she did conceive (although she conceived on the night of the 2020 inauguration so it may not have had to do with my snacks).
As the story goes, I took my concept to Drexel’s Food Science Lab and together with the Nutrition program we spent 12 weeks doing research and development. This is where my 10 years of preparation came in handy—this was the right place to start. This was the place to invest, although scary, if I hadn’t taken this first step to evaluate my initial concept (a snackline for women I was calling “Moon Cycle Snacks”), I would have spent a whole lot of time, money and energy on a business that would have surely flopped. Instead, we came out the other side with a very special seed butter blend that we knew had the nutritional makeup to support a woman’s unique health, but was also a food anyone could love and serves their health too.
I wanted to make something easy and accessible and desirable. I didn’t want to simply serve those who were seeking “health foods,” I wanted to sneak the vital nutrients we identified into everyone’s bodies in a satisfying, nostalgic, way. Why? Because I want to proactively support health and happiness, and it starts with our food.
Now here I am, almost a year and a half of Mother Butter being operational. I churn the butter, sell the butter, order all the ingredients and materials, and I’m preparing (slowly but surely) for growth—not massive growth but thoughtful growth—and not world domination but simply getting Mother Butter in more homes, especially in and around my heart in Philadelphia. And yep, I’m pregnant again. Just before my 39th birthday, I’m looking at the future of being an official “boy mom” and oddly that’s giving me yet another identity that gives me great confidence.
There’s a lot more to share about “the now”, but I needed to take this time to reflect so that you could get to know me better and know the foundation I’m working from. My "why" is to give you a new home kitchen staple that nourishes the whole family while building a business for better. Thank you for following the Mother Butter journey, can’t wait to get to know you better and to see what’s yet to come.