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Marine logistics employee starts a multi-million dollar company on maternity leave

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Kelly Walter, 40, thrives under pressure – in her career as a logistics officer for the Royal Australian Navy, the mother of two had a load of seamen to look after

By a simple rule, a former navy mom started a multi-million dollar organizing business after becoming “overwhelmed” by maternity leave — if it’s not on the wall planner, it’s not getting done.

Kelly Walter, 40, of the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, thrives under pressure – something that helped in her role as a logistics officer for the Royal Australian Navy.

Throughout her 13-year career, the mother of two had to ensure that there was sufficient food and medical supplies on board ships at all times, and she prided herself on her ability to be ready for short-term overseas deployments.

But all this didn’t prepare her for the challenges of becoming a new mom — with the businesswoman telling FEMAIL she couldn’t get through a day without feeling anxious and bursting into tears.

“When I was on maternity leave with my first child, I found it very difficult to be a mother,” she says.

“I was a naval officer capable of many things, no stranger to difficult challenges, but this baby wouldn’t do what I wanted,” she said.

‘On a ship you give orders and they are followed. But that was not the reality at home.’

Kelly, who was used to daily orders being shipped on the ship every morning, said she was constantly writing things down on slips of paper so as to forget them.

Kelly puts everything on her plate at home with daily orders - and doesn't miss the days when she writes things down on paper.  She made millions from the business idea

Kelly puts everything on her plate at home with daily orders – and doesn’t miss the days when she writes things down on paper. She made millions from the business idea

Kelly's first order of planners consisted of 12 of the acrylic organizers - she now pumps out 1000 a month

Kelly’s first order of planners consisted of 12 of the acrylic organizers – she now pumps out 1000 a month

This sense of overwhelm followed her into her second period of maternity leave in 2015 – where she became exhausted from having to pass plans on to her FIFO husband and three-year-old while caring for her newborn baby.

It was then that she decided to create her own version of the navy Daily ordersa large acrylic sign on the wall in her living room detailing the family’s schedule.

And it worked so well that she decided to get into business and help other families get back on track and get organized. Now her striking planners can be found in more than 40,000 homes.

“It stands out, it’s hard to miss — unlike calendars that take a month or two to get used to before being forgotten,” she said.

In a nod to her career in the Navy, Kelly decided to name the company Daily Orders.

“I remember placing our first order, for 12 planners,” she said.

This was when the business operated out of the family home – with the stock stored under the guest bed.

Kelly pictured working at her factory with her mother, husband and co-workers Nadia and Katie at the factory

Kelly pictured working at her factory with her mother, husband and co-workers Nadia and Katie at the factory

“Now we take orders of 500 at a time, and probably do them twice a month,” she said.

The company has been growing stronger and its popularity exploded during the pandemic.

Now Kelly’s maternity leave idea is making millions.

“I’ve always hoped it would be more than an afterthought, but it’s been surprisingly successful,” she said.

Kelly went from feeling like a failure to a thriving business and had her own warehouse and factory where the planners are made.

“It really helped improve communication in our house, the kids could draw on it when they were little, now they write on it,” she said.

The huge 1.2-meter monthly planner lists all the after-school activities for the kids, as well as everything she and her husband need to do on a daily basis.

“If it’s not on the scheduler, it won’t get done,” she said.

“The kids also have their own to-do list planners, which include things like getting dressed, brushing your teeth,” she said.

And her husband is the most avid user of the planner.

The medium-sized command center pictured is the most popular, Kelly revealed, but she and her family use the largest

The medium-sized command center pictured is the most popular, Kelly revealed, but she and her family use the largest

“He really enjoys using it, he likes being able to see exactly what’s happening and it also helps him plan his week.

The family doesn’t use the planner to detail their meals — but she says many of her customers do — with a smaller planner on the fridge.

Kelly is also NDIS certified, which means she can help people with disabilities become more independent by offering them products from her range.

After founding Daily Orders, Kelly quit her job in the Navy, but says she’s busier than ever.

The company grew rapidly - and what started from the guest room now takes up an entire warehouse

The company grew rapidly – and what started from the guest room now takes up an entire warehouse

“The work doesn’t stop now, especially with the rise of social media – I’m always reachable,” she said.

“When I was in the Navy, I left work and that was it for the day.”

Kelly is now leaving questions on social media alone after five hours and directing her staff to do the same.

The planners last “for many years” and are best mounted on drywall walls, Kelly explains.

“Daily Orders is seven years in the making and it’s going really well,” she said proudly.

The busy mom believes her career in the Navy has given her the confidence she needed to start her own business.

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