Making More Time for Moms

I’m hearing a lot of buzz in the startup world these days about how products that solve pain points for ‘busy moms’ are the ones that are going to win in the marketplace. There are dozens of new companies that have launched to sell products to moms in various stages of ‘motherhood’, many from right here in Silicon Valley. Part of me is very happy that there are so many companies focused on the needs of moms. But the other part of me feels overwhelmed by all the products, discount deals, sites and apps that compete for our limited attention as moms. Do I really need one more email in my inbox every day just so I don’t ‘miss out’ on the next great mom-related product or service?

First of all, every mom I know is busy. The term ‘busy mom’ is completely redundant. It doesn’t matter if you are a working mom, a stay-at-home-mom, new mom or almost empty-nester. Every mom I know juggles multiples schedules (her own, her kids, and sometime even her spouse’s) and never feels like she has enough time in the day. Being busy comes with the territory.

Second of all, I am always wary of investors and startup people who look at moms as merely another ‘market segment’ that will bring them dollar signs if they can convince moms that they need their products or services badly enough. I recently heard a startup founder/CEO refer to the moms in her salesforce as “1099’s”, which made me cringe…what a way to dehumanize moms into mere laborers yielding dollar signs and paperwork.

Yes, while moms control 85% of household spending (projected to grow to nearly $3 trillion annually by 2012), moms are more than holders of the purse and CFO’s of their family budget. Moms are also often chief childcare provider, chief nutritionist, chief logistics officer, master scheduling artist, and Jill-of-all-trades jugglers constantly striving to meet multiple demands from many people competing for time, attention and energy. What moms don’t have enough of is time, so companies that can help moms be more productive with their time or help filter out the noise so she can focus on what really matters will make a difference in the long-term.

Companies that take the time to ‘get out of the building’ and connect with real moms to understand their daily challenges, wants and needs will build better solutions to meet those needs. Companies who connect with moms by building authentic dialogue through social media instead of one-way marketing messages are the ones who will capture our valuable attention, win our repeat business, and build our brand loyalty.

Here are a few new companies who I think have delivered some great time-saving solutions for moms:

Citrus Lane

Citrus Lane delivers hand-picked baby items tailored to a child’s age directly to a mom’s mailbox each month, saving her trips to the store and precious time researching what to buy next. It’s exactly the kind of subscription-based baby products service I wish had existed when my twins were born, since I had to buy two of everything and didn’t exactly relish doing errands with two babies in tow. Kudos to the team at Citrus Lane for picking the best baby products for each stage and taking the guesswork out of what to buy for new moms.

Kiwi Crate

Kiwi Crate is another time-saving solution for moms that both kids and grownups can appreciate. Kiwi Crate delivers monthly art projects for kids ages 3-6, including all materials and directions. I signed up for the monthly subscription, which is just $19.95/month and includes free shipping. Although we live a few miles from a Michael’s Arts & Crafts store, I can’t seem to shop there without spending over $100 per visit or feeling stressed out about how to pull together a simple creative art project for four-year-olds. It’s not that I’m not crafty or fond of DIY projects, but I have neither the time nor the creative energy to figure out how to be an art teacher to my twins.

Enter Kiwi Crate. We got our first box on a very rainy day last week, and the kids were so excited it was the first package they had both received with their name on it!

Here they are with our au pair, who was more than thrilled the box came with simple-to-follow instructions plus enough material for them to share and create their own dinosaur feet and fossil masterpiece. After they completed their project, they asked if they could ‘do another fun box’ and I told them they would receive one each month with a surprise art project delivered just for them. Hooray! They’re not the only ones who are cheering.

Thred Up

thredUP gives families an easy and inexpensive way to exchange kids clothing online. At the rate my kids outgrew their clothes in the first two years, I wasted lots of money and valuable time shopping for new sizes. We also had many outfits that went unworn or barely used that would have been perfect for selling on eBay, but seriously who has time to take photos and post listings for hundreds of pieces of clothing? Not me. Enter thredUP. For a small fee ($9 or more) you can receive a box full of gently used kids clothing in your child’s size. In addition, you get credit for shipping out boxes of your own child’s no longer needed clothing to use towards sizes you do need. Win-win!

What are some of your favorite mom-oriented products and brands? Drop a note here, and I’d be happy to include your comment or review the company in a future post!

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