Hey Allison! Thanks for sitting down with me and chatting about the Mama'hood mission, the store and your plans! For my readers that don’t know, I’m a mom to two boys, so when the opportunity to interview the founders of this amazing resource came my way, I was happy to dive in. Your store has become an anchor for new moms, growing families, the neighborhood and I’m happy to get to know you a little better!
The mama ’hood is celebrating 7 years of being open for business and serving the community in Denver. In the “about” page of your site, you offer that the store was born after one of your founders had not been able to find a similar resource in Denver like the one that she used when her first child was born in Los Angeles. As you have grown and become more established, have you changed or honed your vision for what the store could be?
As we have grown we have changed in so many ways. Our retail store front went from being a small portion of our business model to a major focus. We are proud to carry maternity and nursing wear but have also expanded into women’s fashion while still carrying all of the essential products new families need. We’ve also definitely discovered what doesn’t work - what we aren’t. That took a lot of time and experimentation to know what services we need to include and what to refer out for, and that has been a fine balance.
What do you want expecting parents and new parents to experience when they come to the mama ’hood for the first time?
One thing we want all our families to feel is a completely judgement free zone. We want to meet families where they are and take it from there. All of us at the ‘hood wants mamas to feel supported and lifted up. We pride ourselves on providing unparalleled customer service in all areas of the ‘hood. We want families to leave feeling empowered, like they found a little solace, and hopefully with everything they need to make this challenging moment in life just a little easier.
You offer so many classes and resources, you recently made your groups donation-based until 9/30 through the Moms Supporting Moms initiative. What was the impetus to start this program?
As co-founders we’ve always had a social mission. The support and community that is found at the mama ‘hood is essential to make becoming a new mom a good and joyful experience. We’ve had families donate in the past in order to make these services available for families who may not be able to afford it. We began to expand that with our Sliding Scale back in 2015, and then launched the Moms Supporting Moms to support those services. As of recently, enough of our families were donating that we were able to support donation based groups for at least three months. Should the families continue to donate, we’ll be able to continue the groups without charge. It has been a huge success so far and we’re looking forward to being able to support all families regardless of income level or ability to pay.
Do you love seeing the connections being made in the classes and events you hold? I’ve found that some of the parents that I’ve met in those circumstance have often become really close friends of mine!
Connecting the families is one of my favorite parts about the mama ‘hood. Parenting can be so lonely at times, one of the things I hear most is how isolated new mamas can feel. Giving them that connection is such a joy for all of us - we’ve all been there, we know what it’s like, and having someone else to just say, I’ve been there, is so super helpful.
You’ve mentioned that some of your clients ask you to open Mama’ hoods in other locations as they move away from the area. Have you ever thought about expansion?
We expanded to Boulder in 2016 and shuttered that store after just a year for a number of reasons, but one being that what works so well here in Denver are the people we have on board. It’s hard to replicate the people - unless of course cloning somehow works out. So instead, we are training what we call the mama ‘hood Paratroopers through our internship program in our methodology and philosophy so they can then take the knowledge out into the community here as well as farther from Denver.
What are your hopes and plans for the parenting summit that you are working towards?
I want to get the community at large involved in the conversations we’re having here at the ‘hood and create connections between all the different parental walks of life. Parenting can come with so much judgement and pressure to perform, hopefully by hearing other peoples’ experiences and struggles we can remember everyone is doing the best they can and begin to support one another. I also want to spend some time with other parents in the community and discover how we can support as many parents as we can.
As women, mothers, partners, and entrepreneurs do you make time for separate interests? What do you like to do when you have a little bit of free time?
We think it’s very important for ourselves and all of our employees to insure they are striking a good balance and feeling happy and connected to their families. I love that we live in such a majestic place and we like to take our kids camping, to the lakes, fishing, skiing, or just spending a great day in Denver enjoying our amazing city. I also really love to eat, so either cooking or finding great new places for food is basically my second job (after mom, and chauffeur, and coach, and ski tech, and…)
OK, a few rapid fire questions…
Favorite Food/ Dish to order: Tacos. All the tacos.
Favorite Apps: Acorns, Map My Run, Amazon Music
Favorite Podcast: Invisibilia
Favorite Swear Word: FUCK!
What advice would you give your 20 year old self? Try the food, drink the wine, say yes to the trip - it’s all worth it.
Thank you so much for spending a little time with me, walking me through the store and talking about working mama life. The energy in the mama ‘hood is so inviting and peaceful. I can’t wait to see what you are working on and I can’t wait to take a mother/ son yoga class!