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Mom entrepreneur role models?

Hi guys! I am mom to a 4 month old baby and crazy two year old toddler. I want to leave my corporate PM job and start a business that I've been working on on the side (growupable.com buys and sells gently used baby clothing sets). Realistically at this time in my life I only have 20-25 hours a week max to work on it and will probably run out of money in a year or two. The dominant narrative in Silicon Valley is that you have to work 90 hours/week, raise money from VCs and be a man under 30 to be successful in the startup world. I am looking for women especially mothers who have taken a slow approach to starting their business as a counterweight to this narrative - people I can look to for inspiration!! Anyone know any?

Hi - not a mom but I am building in the fem-tech and parent-tech space (and also actively/purposefully follow successful female founders who are also mothers). Would be happy to chat. Depending where you are in your business there are some specific founder communities I can recommend. Feel free to DM! Best, Sheila
Hi Sheila - yes I am definitely interested in connecting! Looks like you are doing very cool work. I am very early-stage in my business, but very eager to learn from women/mothers who are further along. Feel free to find a time on my calendly here: https://calendly.com/event_types/user/me
Happy to chat - doesn't look like that's the correct link, here's my calendly https://calendly.com/sheila-tc/30min or feel free to send yours over. Talk soon!
Hi! Congrats on growing your career and growing your family. Happy to chat (extensive retail background) and currently obsessed with all things working parenthood as the co-founder of Superkin. In 2022, we're working with companies to improve their policies and programming for caregivers and parents but we started as a maternity apparel brand! Lots to share. DM and let's connect!
Yas - I love your messaging! I need this shirt!
Thanks! Feel free to use code "Elpha" for free shipping! There are so many incredible women doing impressive things while raising families. We're at @we.are.superkin on instagram and highlight many of these women and businesses.
Absolutely love what you're doing - and yes I need that shirt too!! DMed you about setting up a time. SO interesting that you started as maternity apparel. I also toyed with that for a while. Preggers clothing generally sucks IMO.
Many! I highly suggest joining FemTech Focus and listening to Dr. Brittany Barreto's podcast. These are real people solving for real problems. Many are women created/founded without technical backgrounds. And, yes, you are correct. Funding for women is abysmal and disgusting. Dr. Barreto is pushing for more funding in this space and trying to launch her own VC firm, which again hasn't been easy. Mamas hustle like muthas:Kate Torgerson, Founder and CEO of Milkstork, Mom of 3Berkley Luck, Co-Founder of Milkify, Mom of 1 (was pregnant while launching)Abbey Donnel, Founder and CEO of Work & Mother (recently had a baby)Somer Baburek, CEO of Hera Biotech, Mom of 2Saundra Pelletier, CEO and President of Evofem Biosciences, Mom of older son + battling cancerThe list goes on and on...I am a mama of two (3.5 and 6), and I am an entrepreneur. The early years were hard on me, especially since establishing and maintaining breastfeeding was like an extra job (but, well worth it in my opinion). Plus we moved multiple times (from Australia to the US, then from the midwest to East Coast). The more my children have become "independent" (like putting on their own shoes!), the more I have been able to do personally and professionally. Multi-tasking for most women and mothers is a second sense, and we tend to be super productive. VCs, from what I understand, invest in already mega profitable businesses. They tend to focus on the "next unicorn". Look into places that democratize funding like WeFunder, Republic, etc. Tap into Angel Investors. The less worth (whether monetary or audience) you have, the more equity you'd be giving up anyways. What sets GrowUpable (love the name, by the way) from Kidizen? Focusing on your mission and what sets you apart from your competitors is "mission critical". While it may/may not lead to funding taking an accelerator course like The Guild or SoHois may help establish your brand and voice, along with networking which is imperative. I get the full-time job, plus side hustle/dream, plus kids combo. What I am recently dipping my toe into, is contract work/freelancing to replace the full-time job. This will hopefully open up my schedule more, bring in more income (setting rates/project parameters) and able to give more time to side hustle. With your experience as a PM and knowing how hard employers are looking to find and retain workers, could this be an option to you? Look into The Mom Project. This is a recruiting agency for temporary and permanent roles. Feel free to DM me!
I love this list! Thank you Jenny. Yes I am also exclusively BFing which adds a layer of challenge, but lets be honest, regardless of how you feed your baby parenting is already a full-time job! Then try and add the money-making freelancing plus the early-stage venture and you're triple maxed out. It's good to know that the early years are the hardest. That's why I am hoping to find role models who have taken a slow and steady approach. I don't want to cut down any further than I already have to on my startup work hours, and I've made peace with burning through my savings for a year or so, then maybe trying crowd funding/incubator/angel approach to bridge through to profitability or further investment. The big difference between Growupable and Kidizen is that we are not a marketplace. We are more like the Thredup model where we collect shipments/donations in a centralized location and then ship out to buyers. My issue with sites like Kidizen is that I don't want to pay shipping on every single item on their site, when it only costs $3 in the first place. I want affordable bundles and I want to pay shipping once or not at all. We also focus on the functional basics that parents need for babies - i.e. footed zip onesies - and sell in sets without photographing every single item which simplifies logistics for us as well as the user experience for buyers (by reducing overwhelm).
100% yes. Parenting is a full-time job (and, then some). And, any 'extras' that each family personally takes on/partipates in like making homemade food, cloth diapering, composting, etc... just adds to the long days and short years! Some of these items one can possible lean on others like partners or family, but some are a function of 'you' (e.g. breastfeeding/pumping, time, acquired leave, etc.). I have reduced some parenting expectations on myself, specifically to have more personal accountability (like exercising and training/certifications)... trying to promote progress over perfectionism... and having more grace on myself... working on this!And, I feel you on the $5 shipping! Affordable and functional–two words parents want to hear! With your affordability component of the business, have you looked into government grants?
Yes, probably never gonna loose that baby weight haha. Govt grants could be a possibility down the line. Good idea :)
Also, not sure if there is a Small Business City Counsel that may be able to assist and offer free counseling and assistance. That might be worth checking into!
New mama to a 3-month-old here! Love that you're making a shift for yourself and love your business idea--I invested in Upchoose via Republic, which seems to be really similar to your model. Consider reaching out to Numa founders Emily Patterson & @OliviaTalman! I also recently met a mother who is creating a community of parents in the Bay Area (and likely beyond) in addition to multiple side hustles, if you'd like an intro. And then there are TONS of online business owners who turn to their own business BECAUSE they want to focus on their family time. The host of the She's Making An Impact podcast is outspoken about limiting her time spent in her business. Lots of coaches focus on this too, like Ashley Gartland. Too many others to list here, but reach out if you want any specific recs/intros: [email protected]
So cool that you invested in UpChoose. Yes, they are our closest competitor, but I also love what they are doing and believe there's space for both of us. I would love to connect with Emily and/or Olivia - love what they are doing with Numa. Would love to hear from Emily how she has time to be a PM, mom, and founder! We have a shared background in product and are operating in the same startup space :)
... and yes I should mention that I AM interested in entrepreneurship partly because of the flexibility it allows compared to a full-time PM job when the kids are young, but then I also constantly feel like I am drowning under my to do list. Life is full of trade-offs :) Congrats on joining the wonderful club of motherhood!
Tagging @ShreyaBakliwal who has a podcast highlighting amazing women entrepreneur most of season 1-2 were guests from India but I feel like there may be stories that resonate!
Fellow bootstrapper-mom here - though my decision to found a company was less a desire for a more flexible/less demanding work schedule and more disenchantment with regular employment. Though I felt like I *could* do the whole VC/raise money thing (not a foreign world to me), I knew it wasn't right for me/my situation (busy husband+kids!) and also I wanted to pursue deliberate/slow growth. That said, women like us - founders who start companies while already being parents (and in your case, little ones - mine are bigger!) and successfully scale them - are not the norm, as far as I can tell. I am part of a couple of communities of women founders with a combination of bootstrappers and fundraisers - both successful and unsuccessful. Then there is a bootstrapping community on Twitter, but it is male dominated. (But I find it inspirational/educational/helpful.) Your question prompted me to search for examples...I found this, not sure when in the company's timeline these women had children (if they had them). https://www.entrepreneur.com/slideshow/345666 I also remember listening to How I Built This, the Eden & Anais story - that woman burned the candle at both ends to build the business with babies/small children - she was doing considerably more than 25-30 hour weeks (and maybe raised money? I can't remember). Anyway, should we build a community of mum-boostrappers?!
Would love to connect and I will definitely check out these resources when I have time. Bootstrapping would be the ideal but I don’t know if it’s realistic for a very low margin high volume business like this. Would love to build a woman entrepreneur bootstrapping club!
That Aden & Anais story was incredible and also so painful to listen to. That poor lady lost her bestie!! 😭 Would love to connect, although I'm not sure I can stay bootstrapped, would love to hear your story!
Hey! Happy to connect, I'm on the same journey taking the slow approach to launching my idea. I was thinking to host a (bi-weekly/ monthly) circle to share experiences and inspire each other. Would you be interested to host it together?
As long as it's not too big of a time commitment! let's connect.
Fellow mom entrepreneur with a 4 year old - would LOVE to connect.