Perhaps it’s not surprising that many Mamapreneurs have opted to start small businesses based on feeding, clothing, and caring for the family. Schotland’s members run companies with names like Bella Bellies Maternity, Language of Parenting, and Mama Mobile Hairdresser. Likewise, mothers themselves make up the customer base of many of these businesses. When Portland-based Andrea Frost started her company, Baby Wit, now a successful online infant and toddler clothing line, a number of news articles referenced the fact that she was mother to an infant daughter, Ava. “Tons of women would write me with questions about how I did it,” says Frost. This, in turn, generated business. By working an average of 20 to 25 hours per week, Frost now supports her family—husband James, Ava, and her son, Atticus—on her income.
“It is an incredibly intelligent business move for Mamapreneurs to market to other moms,” says Schotland, who notes that mothers spend some $1.7 trillion on consumer goods and services each year and also manage about 80 percent of household spending.
And enterprising moms look to organizations like Mamapreneurs Inc to connect with other women experiencing the trials of business-launching and child-rearing. “I have always branded myself as a mamapreneur, but I was in business for eight years before Mamapreneurs Inc came along,” says Jennifer Ferrero, who co-owns the Alameda preschool Purple Moon Child Development and also Sitter Soiree, an event series that brings together babysitters and parents. “As Type A, ambitious women, we’re all striving for the brass ring that we call balance … but after joining the group, I was better able to articulate my personal and professional needs.”
That sentiment largely explains these businesses’ success. Once upon a time, women thought they had only two life choices: either abandon a career to stay home with the brood or climb the corporate ladder and resign yourself to raising latchkey kids. Cute catchphrases aside, the women at “The Makings of a Mamapreneur” conference are smart, creative, driven, and, in terms of their clothes, far better put together than I am, despite being the only childless woman in the bunch. Most important, they show me a way that mothers really can have it all.
Correction appended: The Mamapreneurs Inc membership fee is $75 a year, not $75 a month as was originally published.