Kind-hearted keepsakes: Meet the mama behind Milk Mama Creations
March 11-17, 2019
By Caitlin Smith
It’s true what they say, inspiration comes from any and everywhere. Stay-at-home mom Hailey Marks was inspired by her daughter to cherish a moment many mothers go through. “We breastfed for two years and after our journey came to an end, I wanted to find a way to capture that special moment into a piece,” said Marks.
She did just that by preserving her breast milk. The result was a beautiful ring she can wear forever. She’s now formed Milk Mama Creations, so everyone can cherish that special bond, whether it be via a ring, necklace, or bracelet, etc.
Born and raised in Maumelle, Arkansas, Marks has always been fond of arts and crafts. “I was always doing crafts – I was making custom wreaths and I love to draw,” she said. With her love for art-making, it was no surprise she would come up with this unique idea after starting her own family. “Breastfeeding was more than just nutritional value to me and my daughter. It was an establishment between the close bond that we grew,” said Marks.
Storing her breast milk in a piece of jewelry was the goal, but first, she had to conquer the ‘how.’
“With milk you can’t just put it into a piece because it’s going to rot, mold, or grow fungus [...] I had to basically do my research on a bunch of preservation processes and chemicals,” explained Marks. After months of practice, she perfected a process in order to produce eye-catching jewelry.
Her family supported her endeavor but going public was another story. That first Facebook post got mixed reviews. “I did get a lot of judgment in the beginning because it’s something people weren’t knowledgeable about,” said Marks. However, many were astounded by the unusual jewelry.
Thanks to the positive feedback, Marks took a leap of faith and started her own business. “I went and found a way so that other people could treasure special moments, memories, or even loved ones,” she said. Things like a lock of hair, items of clothing, flowers, and even cremated loved ones can be featured in a piece of jewelry. “I’ve done military uniforms from lost soldiers and flowers from a wedding. I can do sand, soil, or umbilical cord stump,” said Marks.
Although Marks couldn’t disclose her special preservation process, she went into detail on how she preserves breast milk for the jewelry. “When I get the milk, I will kill off any bacteria and from there on out I will use my unique preservation process [and] then cast it to stone into a piece,” she said. Marks also explained how it helps to make molds of the stones beforehand so she can get a picture of what the real stone will look like.
Marks can even add customizations to pieces for those who want a little flair. “I can do shimmer, or I can do gold leaf to represent liquid gold. I have a lot of flake options. A lot of customers like to customize [their jewelry], for instance with birthstones,” she said. For those who don’t necessarily want jewelry, Marks can create things such as keychains or wall art.
No matter how long the process takes, Marks knows the time is well spent. “I love what I do but it’s also very hard,” said Marks, as she deals with many parents who have lost their children. “I know that what I’m doing – it’s helping them cope with it all, and I’m very blessed to be able to do that.” Marks said.
Eventually Marks wants to open her own shop locally to help better serve her clientele. “I want to get to the point where people can come in and they can talk to me,” she said. Marks explained how a storefront will also help with the consultation process. “They can see pieces for themselves because one of the main concerns with people is they want to be able to trust who they’re working with,” she said.
For now, this dedicated Mama continues to make these one-of-a-kind keepsakes from the comforts of her home studio. Even though she’s busy most days completing orders, Marks enjoys every second of it. “Ninety percent of my time goes to my work – which I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love what I do,” she said.
To view more of Marks work, you can go to her Facebook page, Milk Mama Creations or her website, https://www.milkmamacreations.com/. Orders are accepted via Facebook or through her website.
Marks, pictured above with her family, is ecstatic to create original pieces that showcase relationships and special bonds. (Photos courtesy of Milk Mama Creations)