Meet the Mommy Network, a platform for mom by mompreneurs
Being a first-time mother, in this day and age is hard work. New mothers face several challenges – starting from the lack of availability of authentic information, experience sharing by other moms, childcare, to the lack of moral support that only a mother can give to another mother.
Earlier women in the family helped a new mother adapt to the changes, but now, women find help in parenting books and from their peers and friends.
One such platform is The Mommy Network. Started as a closed group on Facebook in 2014, the community of educated and progressive mommies share advice and tips on raising children, feeding, baby gear, schools and different education systems.
A platform for mommies by mommies, it was launched by Tejal Bajla – a former banker with Morgan Stanley and the Founder of Brainsmith and Toddler’s Den; Shreya Lamba – a former management consultant with A.T. Kearney and the Founder of The Mummum Company; and Kiran Amlani – a former lawyer turned pop star and the Founder of Anhad.
“Starting and being a part of this community has had a profound impact on each one of us. We have been exposed to a multitude of views and approaches and have learned that an open mind is crucial - our policy is no judgement and the mothers on this network ask for just that," says Shreya.
When educated and progressive mothers come together great things happen. Pregnant moms at the time, Shreya and Kiran met at a prenatal class during their third trimester and soon became friends while discussing the books they were reading and the documentaries they had watched.
The Co-founders met Tejal over a discussion on early childhood education, just after she had returned from taking courses at the Glen Doman Institute, US.
“We invited Tejal on board to help us support our moms better. Given her in-depth understanding of the mother and baby space in India and her varied experience across industries, she has played a key role in institutionalising the platform,” Kiran says.
Facing the challenges of the early months of pregnancy – sleepless nights, breastfeeding and handling tiny new beings – the moms decided to create a Facebook group of their mommy friends.
“This grew into a space where we could openly share our stories, our struggles and our triumphs. Our virtual village that helps us to raise our children,” Shreya continues.
The platform ensures that the mothers on the group continue to have a high quality of conversations and makes sure that it is not used for indiscriminate marketing.
“From asking about how to ease my four-month-old through her first cold, to trying to figure out which school works best for us, to being a platform that inspired me to start one of the big endeavours of my life, The Mumum Company, the platform has helped a lot,” Shreya says.
The platform has organically grown from two mothers to a thriving Facebook group of almost 10,000 mothers across Mumbai. It also has an Instagram community of 13,000 and a Facebook page with over 25,000 followers.
Playdates and events
A passion project for all three of them, the Co-founders share the administration of the daily interactions. While Shreya helps with the operations across the platform, Kiran helps with conceptualising unique events, and styling of many of its established platforms.
A popup event created by The Mommy Network
The platform organises various events which includes, The Mommy Network Social Evenings – regular gatherings for mothers to socialise; The Mommy Network Playdates – a private events at play areas/ activity centres where mothers can bring their children to enjoy exclusive experiences; The Mommy Network Expert Series – organised speaker sessions on topics ranging from education, psychology of raising children and nutrition; Moms Inspiring Moms – sessions where mothers share their experiences and journeys; and The Mommy Network Pop Up – an annual initiative which offers a luxurious shopping experience with exclusive children's brands from across the globe.
“In 2015, we put together the very first children’s pop up in the city, for which we brought 25 brands from across the country under one roof for our moms. This covered brands across categories like apparel, baby gear, décor, linen and many more,” Shreya says.
After three years of continued success, the platform hosted the fourth pop-up event on October 5, 2019, which saw over 120 brands under one roof like Stokke and Petit Bateau, which were launched for the first time in India, and 40 Red Bangle, Mi Dulce An’ya and many others, launched for the first time in Mumbai.
“So many of our mothers have taken their life experiences as mums coupled with their business acumen to launch ventures across the value chain of the baby world. The pop-up started out of our desire to bring the very best offering across various categories of children’s products and services all under one roof for our mothers. It was also an initiative we took on so that we could give our ‘Mompreneurs’ in the community access to a much wider audience and a platform where they could interact, not only with their consumers, but also potential investors and other businesses,” Tejal says.
The way ahead
The Mommy Network that started as a targeted forum for mothers to share advice and experiences with every facet of motherhood – from breastfeeding to postpartum depression to getting back to work, however, added its first single father of two to the group recently.
Celebs at events organised by The Mommy Network
While mothers of all ages are part of the group, most women joined it when their children were between the ages of one to six years.
“I find that motherhood is something that is unifying by its very nature. Younger or older, all moms face the same challenges and have the same hopes and that is something that brings us together,” Shreya adds.
The platform is looking to replicate the progress in other key cities in India, over the next five years, as it evolves its key imperative is to maintain the authenticity and spirit of the network itself and add value to the lives of mothers, the founders said.