Mamalode is for SALE, it still seems strange to say those words.
It’s a crazy thing to build, love, nurture and grow a business and then realize it’s time to sell it. At first, it felt heavy— like saying goodbye to a child. As I got more and more comfortable with the idea, it began to feel the exact opposite. Similar to sending my kids out into their next chapters, I began to feel really proud and excited to see what this business will do next. And I became very clear on one thing— whoever helms Mamalode next is in for an amazing journey.
Here are some of the biggest learnings from running Mamalode:
The sky’s the limit: The organic growth we experienced was like a Cinderella story. It was like riding a wave that never seemed to stop. I don’t think people realized Mamalode’s budget was on such a shoestring. With the right resources, savvy and plan in place, Mamalode’s impact will be enormous.
Authenticity is a rare currency: I remember getting asked to tell the Mamalode story at an event at the Girl’s Lounge at Adweek in New York. I talked about our writers and how honest they were, how brave. The next day I was invited to present to a team at one of the largest ad agencies in the world. I told them the same story, how we started, how we grew because of our audience, and how the stories came to us. They were in awe of it all. “How do you have so much authentic content?” they asked. I wondered how they had so much money. I saw then that because Mamalode started the way it did, it had something so valuable— the trust of our audience. The agencies with all of their brilliant teams, resources, data, and planning wanted what we had: trust.
It’s good to be the surprise: Because of our bootstrapped nature, we would often invest in moments that we knew would be a standout. We attended a hospital marketing conference, because we believed then and still do, that Mamalode is a remarkable opportunity for a health care organization to build a lifelong relationship based on trust with their customers. We rolled in with a single suitcase, a sign that said “Moms” in flashing lights and a stack of Magazines. All of the other booths were being assembled by teams of carpenters. We handed out magazines like crazy the first day. On the second day, our space was filled with marketers who wanted to talk about Mamalode, share their stories and plot ways to connect with their patients— everything from live events, email newsletters, and print magazines of their own. We won a prize for the best booth. And then we packed up our suitcase and headed home.
It’s the fuel, not the rocket: As Mamalode grew, I often thought we were building a rocket and would eventually need fuel (investment) to really launch. Over the decade of building Mamalode the world changed, and all of a sudden it was clear we had actually made the fuel— there were rockets everywhere (platforms, commercial brands, personal brands, business savvy connectors) but they didn’t have what we had— an audience of story lovers and storytellers. If we put our fuel in front of their large audiences, they could change their relationship from transactional into a loyal and engaged relationship.
This is an important conversation: Not only are moms one of the most powerful consumer groups in the world, they are also shaping the future. They are running for office, running companies, running marathons, and running households. Being at the center of this conversation is like being at the intersection of change and influence.
It was the honor of a lifetime: The partnership and the team behind Mamalode are world-class and we produced the best products and the best memories. We were great, great builders. I am excited to see Mamalode scale with a new set of skills and savvy.
I have been shaped by Mamalode— the relationships, the stories, and the opportunities.
Please direct all inquiries and requests for information to Julie Gardner at [email protected].