Mum of four, Amy McGlade, 33, had a goal to capture the mother-child bond through jewellery. As a registered nurse and midwife Amy knew that the emotions around pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood were incredibly powerful, and equally the emotions around couples' struggles to conceive or the heart-wrenching loss of a new life. She was determined to find a way to capture these emotions and memories in a tangible and beautiful way.
Initially she began creating bespoke jewellery pieces made with breast milk, placenta and baby hair and soon branched out to include embryos, which became the niche for her business, Baby Bee Hummingbirds.
"To our clients, who come from all over the world, these pieces mean everything," says Amy.
"Whether it's joy or grief that brought them to us, there is such emotion tied to these pieces. Particularly the embryos."
Watch the video below to see the process Amy uses to create a ring using breast milk:
For those who have gone through IVF treatment to conceive there are often parts of that journey that are left behind. IVF straws that are leftover from a cycle, or deemed too poor a quality to use often pose a dilemma for those who need to make the decision about what to do with them.
"Storage fees are so high, and the decision to destroy them can be heartbreaking," says Amy. "I'm able to give families another option."
As with the breast milk, IVF straws are turned into an ash which is then made into a bespoke ring, bead, crystal or locket. For those wishing to use a placenta or baby hair, Amy is able to encase them directly into the pieces she creates.
One person who used Amy's service gave the feedback: "I'm so in love with my ring, it holds memories that will stay with me forever even when my son has grown up."
"She has created a physical memory that I will have a lifetime," says another.
And it's this feedback that spurs Amy to keep going despite the negative responses she receives from some religious groups who have tried to have her business shut down.
"Oh gosh," Amy laughs. "I've received more than 3000 emails each day. I've been used in propaganda videos and likened to Hitler.
"Those negative comments can be hard, especially as a passionate artist, but I learnt that the negative people are not my people or my target market."
Amy now has someone to sort through all of the feedback that comes into the business so that she only needs to deal with relevant and useful discussions.
The business has taken off, has a global clientele and is on the way to turning over 1 million dollars.
Amy says, "I also created the world's first DIY Keepsake Jewellery Kits, so that mothers could craft their own precious pieces. My DIY kits became so successful that I realised many others wanted to learn how to create an actual DNA and Breastmilk Jewellery Business. This led to the opening of a global online Academy," says Amy.
"It was a really organic growth," says Amy. "I started a Facebook page and people shared it and they got something made. Within the first year I had grown really quite large, and that cemented the idea that there was a need for what I was doing."