An interview with Alison Kramer, owner of Nummies

By Donna Marrin 

Tell me about your company.

Nummies is a Canadian nursing bra company, selling beautiful lingerie to new moms throughout North America and internationally.

What were you doing before you decided to take the entrepreneurial leap and what inspired you to go for it?

I have a degree from McMaster in Kinesiology and also in Social Work. When I had my children, I was able to stay home with them. Nummies began when I was pregnant with my third. I had looked for bras that I liked and couldn’t find any, so I started trying to have some made for myself and then to sell to other moms. 

How long was the process between concept and launch?

I started trying to have bras made for myself when I had my eldest son in 2001. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my daughter in 2005 that I decided to take the idea further and design bras to sell. Design work and samples of our first products and sizes took about eight months, but continues every day. 

What was your biggest learning curve in terms of marketing your business?

It is hard to choose just one. I set out to learn every part of my business—sales, design, marketing, accounting… everything. As we grew, I began to delegate and have other people do things that I couldn’t or didn’t want to. With marketing, specifically, I learned to trust the value of being a small company and focus on what we are, rather than what we are not. Why try and pretend to be anything else, when we already have such a wonderful line of products and services available for our customers? 

Describe a day in the life…

alison_kramerA day in my life, eh... better hold on tight :) Kids wake up early so the day starts around six, then morning stuff—breakfast, getting dressed, teeth brushing. Depending on the day, get one or two kids off to school for 8:30. I usually get through some email before the school run. Days differ a lot; I work from everywhere. Sometimes from home, sometimes from a coffee shop or when I take my little girl somewhere to play. One day a week, I meet with my assistant. Some days, I have meetings or calls to make. All the children are home by four, so then we play and have dinner. They go to bed pretty early, around 6:30 or 7, so there’s bath-time, stories and off to bed. And then I work... usually on the sofa, at the kitchen table or in my office at home. At this time, I catch up on things that I’ve missed during the day and get ready for things ahead.

What is your secret to balancing business and family?

I just don’t see them as opposing forces in my life, at least not right now. I am busy, I have tools to help me multitask. I get a lot of help. I do take time with my kids, one-on-one and away from work, but most of the time, I am acting as a family member and a business owner at the same time.

Do you have a favorite business tool or resource?

My blackberry and Twitter… can’t live without them.

What are some of the challenges of running your own business?

It can be very isolating. I make sure to work outside of my home at least one of two days a week and meet with other entrepreneurs as much as possible.

What do you love most about running your own business?

I love being able to work from anywhere and I love that I have been able to choose the people who surround me. 

What would you say is the key to your success?

I think that first you need to define what success means to you. I don’t need to make millions to be successful. I like my freedom and a challenge, and running a business gives me both of these. So, that is my idea of success. I like affecting the lives of new moms and moms-to-be and making them feel more beautiful.

Do you have a source of inspiration?

New parents! I love talking about becoming a parent and what it’s like. I love to write and to read and so I am inspired by the stories of other parents and other business owners.

If you could give one piece of advice to others thinking about starting a business, what would it be? 

Find something you are passionate about and then ask questions. Find your tribe.

Alison Kramer is a mom of three and owner of Nummies nursing bras. A Waldorf parent, hot yoga addict and reluctant runner, Alison loves her busy life balancing the ups and downs of running a business while being a parent. For more information, visit

By Adam

May 10, 2010