A video screenshot from Nectar Express.

“Pumping at work is so easy and convenient,” said no mom ever.

The tagline is the first thing visitors see on the website of startup Nectar Express.

Everyone has a horror story when it comes to managing how to pump at work, which includes everything from wardrobe malfunctions to janitor closet excursions, says CEO and co-founder Joanne Trowbridge. “We feel passionate about making [pumping at work] easier for women,” she says.

To that end, the company is creating a line of bras and business casual tops and dresses to help women who are breast feeding save time and stay covered while pumping at the workplace, all the while maintaining a sense of style.

The idea was born from experience. Trowbridge, a recent graduate of CMU’s Tepper School of Business, had her first child this past year just five days before classes began in her final semester.

“I realized I had nothing to wear that would be appropriate for pumping, and after doing some research there’s nothing available that’s designed for women, specifically pumping, that would still be presentable for work,” she says.

In March of this year, along with co-founders Erin Radler and Susie Valverde, she began working on Nectar Express. The company gained some buzz after winning the MIT Enterprise Forum Pittsburgh’s Annual Elevator Pitch Fest in May and recently applied to AlphaLab Gear (see the short pitch clip here).

As Nectar Express gains a larger understanding of the market, the survey responses they’ve received from women prove a need for their product. Trowbridge explains that working women are less likely to meet their breast feeding goals because of the challenges they face at the workplace, and in giving up breastfeeding early, they compromise the health of their child.

The company goal is to create not only functional clothing that allows for convenient, covered pumping at work, but also maintains an elegant style appropriate for a business environment. Trowbridge sees it as their contribution in easing the pressure of choosing a career over breast feeding goals.

With a prototype bra ready for incoming beta testers, Nectar Express plans to launch a clothing line that will partner with the bra.

Trowbridge jokes that she has friends holding off to have children until the full line of products launch. But for career-focused mothers-to-be, and for any nursing mom, Nectar Express may just be worth the wait.

Ian Mikrut

Ian Mikrut is a writer, proud Pittsburgh native and Grove City grad. When he's not at local concerts or trying in vain to improve his golf game, you might find him at DeLuca's in the Strip.