Jill Koziol, CEO of Motherly, admits that it was a difficult task when she and her co-founder Liz Tenety first tried to get investors on board in 2015.
"We wanted to create a brand first and foremost," Koziol told me. "We didn't want to build a media company or a [direct-to-consumer] company or Facebook for mothers – because it's spoiler alert it's called Facebook."
Instead, she described Motherly as a company that sits at the "crossroads". of all three approaches. It started by posting maternity content on its website and social media (and more recently in podcast form), which in turn encouraged the audience of 30 million unique users to "engage with us and each other". [1
Koziol described her approach as building a trustworthy brand "that targets women – not babies – and experts" and then used that brand to sell products. She said Motherly reversed the strategy from direct-to-consumer startups that sell products and then add content and community to support these trading goals.
"Everyone says we did all the hard things first," said Koziol. "We show the world that motherhood is not a niche, that you can build a brand through content and use it to create natural extensions."
The series-A- Funding was led by 8VC with the participation of Founders Fund, Muse Capital, AET and AmplifyHer Ventures.
"We have relied on millennial mothers for a long time, and Motherly has demonstrated a unique ability to be at the center of this Hyper already on the market," Meghan Cross of Amplifyher said via email. "Organically, its content sparked a lively conversation, and trading is the logical extension."
Koziol meanwhile said that Motherly could "practically" build this audience without spending the audience. That sounds particularly difficult given all the other parenting and motherhood content that is already online, but Koziol said that she and Tenety (a former Washington Post editor) are both millennial mothers themselves, and they realized that "in media brands down the line motherhood was treated as cartoonistic … everything was very baby centered. “
She argued that Motherly has been successful so far because it targets a more educated and diverse group of women who tend to continue working after the birth of children.
And when Motherly goes on sale, she says that both products of the company's brand will be included (Sounds True publishes the startup's second book, "The Maternal Guide to Becoming a Mom: Pregnancy, Birth and redefine the journey after birth ”). and a Motherly Store, which will offer a curated selection of products for mothers, mainly from smaller brands that go directly to consumers.
Koziol suggested that these brands will benefit from access to Motherly's audience (especially since advertising costs for many D2C brands have soared to unsustainable heights), while mothers benefit from a "credible" source that can help " narrow this selection ”.
Natural The landscape for media, commerce and parenting has changed dramatically in the past few weeks thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Koziol noted that Motherly, as "100% working from home", was better prepared for this shift.
In a broader sense, she suggested that mothers would need more help and support than ever – what Motherly is trying to do, for example, is to offer the online birth class for free.
"This woman in our audience has overlaid roles for years," said Koziol. "And we, what we see now, not only bear the mental strain of parenthood disproportionately and are a full-time bread winner, but also shift full-time childcare and homeschooling. These are three different jobs."