The Mamalode Starter Series is an exciting opportunity for us to introduce you to some of the amazing people we get to meet. Starting something takes enormous amounts of work, faith, help and community. Every week we'll share another story of starting. So, community of Mamalode, read up, get inspired and check out these wonder-folk.
Interview with Cheryl Petran, the owner and CEO of The Pump Station & Nurtury™, one of the most respected breastfeeding support & babycare education providers in the US, based in Santa Monica, California.
Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started it.
Well, I can’t take credit for this. My partners started our business almost 30 years ago as Childbirth Education Instructors and Lactation Consultants. I came into the business about 7 1/2 years ago, became a partner and am now primary owner of the business. My background is in big box retail and manufacturing as a buyer for Target Corp and Montgomery Wards and consultant/employee for companies such as Disney, Mattel, Jakks Pacific and others. Here at The Pump Station I get to take my knowledge of big retail and apply it in a smaller more personal way. It’s my job and my passion to carry on the legacy of our Co-Founders - supporting, educating and empowering expecting and new Parents. I am hopeful that we can bring the community we’ve created in Los Angeles to other cities in California and beyond. We are a resource and refuge for these parents. We are here for them to learn, laugh and cry. Knowing this helps me sleep better.
What do your kids think about your job?
My very recently turned 8 year old Daniela absolutely loves what I do. At Christmas she got her business cards - she’s proud to say that she is “Chief Nurturing Officer” at The Pump Station & Nurtury. While in the stores and hosting events she brings breastfeeding moms glasses of water, plays with their toddlers and generally spreads her infectious smile. One day about 3 years ago I was home and came downstairs. She was on the chair with a blanket over her. I asked her what she was doing and she said “I’m feeding my baby”…. She drew away the blanket and showed me how her baby (She-She) was under her nightgown. She-She was breastfeeding. She was so proud and yet somewhat private as she pulled back the blanket. She then said “She-She was hungry”. Both Daniela and She-She were enjoying all of the amazing benefits of breastfeeding and attachment parenting. Daniela is a friend and huge admirer of Dr. Harvey Karp creator of “The Happiest Baby on the Block”. She knows the 5 S’s and uses them with her baby all the time. She’s going to be an amazing mom. Not perfect, but amazing. There is no such thing as a perfect mom.
Tell us about a total mom + biz fail?
Perception is Reality. Many may not see what I think was a failure as a failure but “not success = failure”. Well at least I used to think that way. We opened our Westlake store in 2009. The economy was brutal, Amazon, Diapers.com, Target etc were now carrying brands we were carrying. We went into a market where breastfeeding was not the culture. We worked incredibly hard to build the culture and were very successful – just not as much as we needed to be in that physical space. We closed the Westlake store in August of 2014. It was a bittersweet time. Many of our moms reached out to me and asked me to keep the store open. I just couldn’t - given the economics of the location. I wanted to continue to support the moms in that community but couldn’t - given our resources I needed to focus on the business in Santa Monica & Hollywood. Generally, that sucked. A tough decision. A business decision. I often feel as though I really let those moms down.
Share with us a total win (brag away!)
When my Daniela was born I joined 2 Mommy & Me groups. I loved them, the leaders were amazing (thank you Tandy Parks and Jill Spivack @SleepyPlanet) The community formed by the moms in the groups was incredible – it provided the support network I needed when I was here and my family was on the other side of the country. When I got to The Pump Station I realized that this was not a program we were offering. I knew at that moment The Pump Station should be offering a curriculum such as this. New Moms/Parents need support and community as their children reach various milestones throughout their early years (and beyond too)> I reached out to Julie Wright, MFT, and asked her if she would consider leading a Pump Station Mommy & Me group. I offered to let us (The Pump Station) handle the operations and marketing while she focused on the Moms and the curriculum. I thought possibly if successful she could add more groups and possibly lead more teachers as they helped support new parents in their daily adjustments to parenthood. Six years later, we have a wonderfully successful Parent & Me program. This program provides and enormous support for the new parents in our community.
What's your relationship with Mamalode?
I love these ladies! I love the fact that they are out there supporting moms everywhere…. Letting them share their stories… the “good”, the “bad”, the “WTF” and the “oh yeah I totally get that!” No judgement. They support the virtual and print community with the stories we share in our Mommy & Me groups and our Breastfeeding Support Groups. They bridge borders, backgrounds, income levels and philosophies. They continue to empower Moms to support other Moms in everything they do….that can’t lead to anything but good. I’m so excited about hosting our 2nd annual Mother’s Day Eve Event in LA – which they founded! It’s an opportunity to bring Moms (and Dads) together to support each other and their community. It’s a night to celebrate Moms and we’re thrilled to partner with them on it.
Two groups we absolutely love, The Pump Station and Kids in the House, have teamed up to launch a modern must-have for all new parents – Baby Care 101: The Ultimate Baby Manual! It includes info that can help any new parent survive that first year:
•Help baby to sleep
•Stop them from crying
•Give the first bath
•Breastfeed + bottle feed
•AND everything else you need to know to get your baby to thrive!