Between the MILF(und) crowdfunding campaign, celebrating our 4th birthday, and launching in new cities, we have so much to look forward to at HEYMAMA right now. Let’s take a minute to look back on where all of this began. Tell us about what inspired you to begin HEYMAMA together almost four years ago.
So HEYMAMA began with a lot of inspiration and no money. What was that like in the beginning?
For the first year, it was just us working at Amri’s kitchen table. Katya was sneaking out of her day job to meet up in cafes and working all hours on a dream to build a community we personally wanted and needed. We’re grateful for “what we didn’t know” in the beginning, as fledgling entrepreneurs we were full of optimism and so passionate about our project we’d talk to anyone that would listen. We really did things our own way and made things work with no money. We built our first Squarespace site ourselves. Luckily for us, we had great contacts from our past careers and received incredible advice from those women, but a lot of advice we received came from people we cold emailed or were introduced to by acquaintances. Experiencing that generosity of spirit from like-minded women who believed in community over competition was a big part of what makes HEYMAMA what it is today. We received incredible advice from other women that helped us launch our business and we know how powerful and game-changing that kind of support and guidance could be for a working mama looking to take her career to the next level, so we wanted to create a space where business advice was easily accessible and women could support each other.
How did bootstrapping for four years before accepting outside capital help you understand the needs of the community you’re serving?
Bootstrapping was the best thing we could have ever done. We’ve had ownership and knowledge over every area of our business, because we have literally done every job ourselves. We build our first website, ran our social media, wrote the blog posts, newsletters and created all the messaging for HEYMAMA. Without funding we have scrutinized where every dollar has gone, taken extra time to make sure our decision were working for us and spent a ton of time asking our members for feedback before making any decision. Also, we built HEYMAMA to address the challenges and needs that we were facing as small business owners so by bootstrapping we really experienced what our members could be facing as they scale their business. We also learned firsthand by communicating with our members lack of capital can be a roadblock to scaling a business.
How will accepting outside capital allow you to better fulfill the needs HEYMAMA addresses?
After 4 years we’ve gotten to a place where we are really in tune with the needs of our community and have requests from so many cities around the country to bring HEYMAMA to their market. To create the best local experience for our members we need funding to hire managers and support programming in all our markets. We have so many requests for added features to heymama.co, we need funding make our site faster and to add features like a little black book of vetted resources, digital programming library, and in-platform messaging, to name a few! We plan to do a deep dive into the way the new features are used and use this information when we do seed of fundraising in early 2019 to build out the ultimate HEYMAMA website and app.
What are your reasons for choosing to enter the world of fundraising through a crowdfunding campaign?
Ultimately we plan to go out for a seed round in 2019 to be able to scale the company further, build a custom platform and app. With the crowdfund we are looking to create the best product possible on the platform we currently have to track how members are using our site and be able to interpret what features are actually being used and how. We’ll use this market research to build our final product.
Through the MILF(und) campaign, HEYMAMA will share mama founders’ stories. How does sharing these stories benefit the wider community?
Funding can be both intimidating and overwhelming, by providing information and advice we hope to demystify the process. Spotlighting incredible women’s success stories is both motivating and inspiring for other women in business. We plan to share actionable tips and tactics that these mamas learned during the process in the hopes that this information with help other to fast track their quest for funding and avoid pitfall that could be in their path.