Missta Mums are heating up

Demi and Mel. Pictures: Louisa Jones

By Casey Neill

A dynamic mum duo is spilling the tea on parenthood in a new podcast.

Geelong business partners-turned-best mates Demi Duncan and Melinda Baxter are better known as the Missta Mums.

They launched the Missta Bottle in October 2019 after Mel slid into Demi’s Instagram DMs with a business idea she’d come up with while on a run.

“When I get something in my head, it’s really hard to get out of it,” Mel said.

“I knew I needed a business partner. I didn’t want to do it alone.”

Demi said: “We weren’t friends. We were just both from Geelong. We had our first-borns two weeks apart.”

They’d had some interaction on social media during night feeds.

When Mel pitched a chat over coffee, Demi figured she had nothing to lose.

Leaving the meeting, she thought she’d gained a hobby.

But Mel’s idea – a baby thermos designed specifically for safe formula feeding – evolved.

“It grew in increments. If we knew the figure it would have cost to start it now, we would have run for the hills,” Demi laughed.

“We actually knew we were solving an issue. It was harder not to go ahead.

“People don’t really understand the product until they have a crying baby in front of them they have to formula feed.”

Establishing a business while caring for young babies was a big task, but the mums were on the same page.

“We always had this basic understanding towards each other that if something came up with your kid, your kid comes first,” Demi said.

“We didn’t even need to have that conversation.

Mel said: “The business could have been a lot bigger perhaps if we didn’t have children, but we both naturally agreed that our families came first.”

Mel and husband Aaron are parents to Penelope, Leo, and Valerie while Demi and husband Mitch Duncan, a Geelong Cats footballer, have Scarlet, Ollie and Archie, plus another baby due in April.

“I’m actually the most excited for my hospital stay of five nights,” Demi laughed.

“The kids will just adapt. It’ll be crazy but I’m actually not worried.”

Demi was 27 when she became a mum.

“It was always something I knew I was going to be one day,” she said.

“But I didn’t think I’d have four kids!”

Mel was “never the one to gravitate towards people’s babies or people’s kids” – Aaron was more enthused about starting a family than she was.

“I just always assumed being a mum was what you do as part of life,” she said.

“It obviously came naturally as the time came.”

Aaron quit his full-time job as a bricklayer to run the Missta warehouse and be a stay-at-home dad – a topic they cover in one of their first podcast episodes.

They launched the candid Missta Mums in June to talk all things parenting, sharing stories from guests and their own experiences.

“It was another way to communicate to our customers,” Mel said.

“It was another level to us. It adds to our story as well.”

Demi said they’d grown a social media following from sharing their lives on their business pages.

“We weren’t just trying to sell a product,” she said.

“We created a community that wanted to know more and more.

“The podcast was a way we could give that to our community.

“Hopefully our business is then in front of them.”

Mel said: “It adds another layer of trust as well.”

“We’re not this big corporation. We’re just trying to do the best for the customer.

“People don’t trust the big corporations as much and really like to know where they’re spending their hard-earned money.”

Demi’s favourite episode so far was a chat with a Geelong mum whose daughter was diagnosed with type one diabetes – followed by the episode where she and Mitch announced they were pregnant with baby number four.

She was nervous about going public with the news.

“For so long we’ve been saying ‘we’re done, we’re done’,” she said.

“Telling people in person I wasn’t worried – friends and family.

“Going public…”

Mel’s favourite conversation was with Aaron and Mitch, their biggest supporters.

“That was just fun,” she said.

“They’ve all been such eye-openers.

“It’s pretty cool to speak to people directly about these stories.

“It’s good for our learning, too.

“The best feedback we get about our podcast is that they feel like they’re in the room with us just chatting.”

Demi said: “I speak in the podcast the way I would speak in person.”

“It’s another way for Mel and I to talk s***.

“It’s been received so much better than I thought it would be.”

Who’s coming up?

“We have a constant list that we keep adding names to,” she said.

“Everyone has a story, I believe.

“The hardest thing with a podcast is you get the listens if the person has a profile.

“But sometimes someone without a following has a better story.”

Now the podcast is out in the world, Mel and Demi are turning to expanding their product range, and looking into offering social media guidance to other small businesses.

“Compared to a beginner on social media, we have that bank of knowledge to help someone now,” Demi said.