Jolie O’Dell, a technology writer with Mashable wrote the following on Twitter a couple of months ago:
women: Stop making startups about fashion, shopping, & babies. At least for the next few years. You’re embarrassing me. (link)
The condemnation wasn’t directed at ‘fashion, shopping & babies’ startups such as Ebay, Zappos, Bluefly, Kaboodle, and Diapers.com because they were established by men. They are also hugely successful and to put it delicately, huge.
No. She was directing her ire at smaller businesses such as the Homemade Mama by Kimberlee Daly who makes bunting, cakes, baby products and party packages. Run by Kimberlee, first time mum of nine-month old Henry, the small business aims to provide the personal touch with some homemade products such as bunting, red velvet cupcakes, baby blankets and little baby shoes.
The Homemade Mama pretty much exemplifies what O’Dell was talking about but see if you agree with her opinion after reading more about it. It is a business that is run in Kimberlee’s spare time while raising her son and taking care of her family. It was a business that started off with a friend and is now just run by her.
Due to the availability of online shops and social networks, Kimberlee can run her business and talk to friends at times when “it’s hard to get out with a baby and make new friends, or have the time to talk to people. Using my iPhone I have been able to ‘chat’ to my circle of mum friends whenever Henry is nursing, asleep, while I am up with him in the night or even when I am in the bath! This networking among mothers is so important when starting up a business as a mother.”
As she says herself, “starting up my business is not a way of avoiding hard work. It’s hard, especially when I am tired from a day looking after a nine month old, and all I want to do is curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. However, I think that the opportunity to work around your child enabling you to do something that you enjoy as well as give your child all of the attention that they need is feel worth making sacrifices for.”
“I work around my son, often only getting the time to work, when he sleeps and that time for myself literally doesn’t exist anymore. I am either caring for Henry, doing housework or working on the business. I am hoping that once the business is better established I will be able to have a little more time to relax, but for now this is how it must be.”
“Nothing worth having is easy, but everything I am working for is worth it. I do worry that how hard I have to work is going to catch up with me and that tiredness may eventually have a detrimental effect on my work both as a business woman and a mother or that I am trying to do too much and don’t do anything to the best of my abilities at times.”
“I hope that all my hard work pays off as I have invested my much needed money on business set up costs. I am already seeing a return and I hope that this steady flow of business and interest in my products continues so that I don’t miss out on any of the precious moments with Henry while creating and selling things that I love.”
The Homemade Mama is shining example of cooperation, professionalism, hard work and a lot of love and help. When I tweeted about how angry O’Dell’s tweet had made me I said that she didn’t think that there was anything life-changing about mum-businesses.
Kimberlee’s reply sums up the potential that is inherent in all these startups by women: “just love how [O’Dell] thought motherhood & related topics aren’t changing the world. Looking after the next generation is the definition of shaping the world to me!”