Building a business: How one female CEO turned difficult pregnancies into opportunity

The story behind Pink Stork and its supportive community for women

Building a business: How one female CEO turned difficult pregnancies into opportunity
Building a business: How one female CEO turned difficult pregnancies into opportunity

ORLANDO, Fla. – Many top entrepreneurs will tell you the idea for their businesses came from realizing a need people have and seeking to fulfill it.

For Pink Stork founder and CEO Amy Upchurch, the need was her own struggle with difficult pregnancies after she found out she was pregnant with her fourth child.

“I had kind of always had health issues growing up. But when my husband Thomas was deployed in the Marine Corps, and I became pregnant, I was diagnosed with something called hyperemesis gravidarum,” Upchurch said. “And basically, I explained it to people as morning sickness on steroids. So I would throw up easily 30-40 times a day.”

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition that affects only 1-3% of pregnancies and can be life-threatening, according to Hyperemesis.org.

“I did that with my first three pregnancies,” Upchurch said. “At one point, we are given 24 hours to live. You know, I was just really run down, my body was running down. And then I got pregnant for the fourth time. And I said, ‘I cannot do this anymore. What is going on?’ And I really started to research natural products and what I was putting in my body, and what can I do to combat this, this hard pregnancy that I knew I was getting ready to have. And long story short, I was able to overcome my HG.”

Overcoming that major obstacle made Upchurch realize, if she could do it she could also help other women do the same.

“I knew what it felt like to be struggling and hurting and looking for something, anything, like a miracle, ‘What would make me feel better?’” Upchurch said. “My heart aches for women that are looking for ways to make them feel better, whether it’s, you know, morning sickness, or whether it’s just vitamin deficiency, or whatever the case may be. So, long story short, Pink Stork was born in 2015.”

Upchurch now has five children and her company, based in St. Augustine, includes 50 employees.

The CEO said what makes her company special is its Customer Obsession team, which is focused not on making customers buy products but supporting them however they need. That can mean celebrating birthdays or even taking prayer requests. Pink Stork also has an online platform geared toward supporting women through community.

“We have our Faithfully Female community that basically is just a spot where women can come in and vent and find encouragement and find hope within each other,” Upchurch said. “Maybe you’re able to meet someone that’s going through something similar to you, whether it be a health struggle, or a mental struggle, or a financial struggle. We just want to create a community of women that support each other, and whatever it is that they’re going through and be there for each other.”

For those women that are looking to create an entrepreneurial venture of their own, Upchurch said the best thing you can do is recognize that sometimes a challenge is really a calling.

“I don’t think I’m special in any way, shape, or form, I definitely don’t have any special powers are anything different than what you have,” Upchurch said. “So I think when we’re faced with these challenges, then we have to think, you know, ‘Well, why me? Why am I going through this situation, and what can I do to take control of whatever it may be that I’m facing?’ and get to the other side. Sometimes it’ll be hard, it’ll suck, you’ll cry, you will not want to be where you are. But I think having the perseverance, and for me, like, trusting in God, that there was a plan and a reason why I was going through this, and really pushing forward and hoping for a better tomorrow. So I just hope that I can inspire women to be hopeful for something better in the future, even if today isn’t what you want it to be. And don’t stop today. Because if you stop now, you’re not going to make it to the other side. So sometimes you just have to keep going and survive day one, survive day two to get to where you’re going and really trust the plan, even if it’s painful during the process.”

To check out Pink Stork, click here.


About the Authors:

Tara Evans is an executive producer and has been with News 6 since January 2013. She currently spearheads News 6 at Nine and specializes in stories with messages of inspiration, hope and that make a difference for people -- with a few hard-hitting investigations thrown in from time to time.

Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.