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These Female Founders Know How to Build Community

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The fierce female founders behind HEYMAMA, Katya Libin and Amri Kibbler, know a thing or two about building, growing and managing a community. Since launching their Instagram account in 2014, they've expanded to 7 cities with 1200+ members - and this is only the beginning.

We sat down with this dynamic duo to get the scoop on their experience running their iFundWomen crowdfunding campaign (while they're still in the thick of it) and to discuss what's next for HEYMAMA.

Q: What is HEYMAMA?

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HEYMAMA: We’re a community for mothers in business with one goal: to make mamas more successful. What started as an Instagram account meant to inspire moms turned into a powerful supportive community for creative and entrepreneurial mamas in business to connect and collaborate. We put on over 100 events a year in 7 cities and provide digital resources our community uses to stay connected every day.

Here’s the fun part: we get to watch that happen. Every single day we see mamas give each other advice in our forums in real time. Often, members reach out to us and tell us they met at a HEYMAMA event and are now working on a partnership together. We see women in our community asking each other for advice that can be difficult to ask for anywhere else, from how much to pay a social media consultant to how to navigate challenges around bullying. There is a constant stream of genuine support flowing from mama to mama.

Q: Why is a community like HEYMAMA so important for working mothers?

HM: As we raise the next generation of humans while simultaneously building companies, developing innovative products and investing back into our communities, we need support and resources. Women make strong leaders, but nearly half say they they don’t have the mentorship and capital needed to grow their business. Our community is designed to change this by helping mamas in business address critical challenges through mentorship, digital resources, real-time advice, and experiences.

We invest in the success of other mamas because we know that each mama who thrives gives back even more to her community and the world at large. If we want society to thrive, we need mamas to thrive.

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Q: Who are the mama’s that inspire you?

HM: This is a hard one to answer because there are so many and we’re inspired by different mamas every day! We do have a group of incredible mamas participating in our MILF(und) campaign, which we’re running in tandem with our crowdfund to draw attention to the gender gap in funding.

Q: What is your best piece of advice for balancing entrepreneurship + motherhood?

Banish mom guilt.

Q: It’s so important that female founders combat the confidence gap and get comfortable asking for money. Has crowdfunding had an impact on how you feel about making the ask?

HM: It’s easier to make an ask when a “yes” answer feels likely. We’re lucky to be really uniquely situated in that our community is made up of so many women with significant fundraising experience, giving us proof of how much is possible. Their stories help us cultivate the belief that success is the natural progression of all of the efforts we’re taking. Developing the right mindset before making the ask is so critical to bridging that confidence gap.

We’ve been unapologetically bold in all of our messaging around crowdfunding (see: the MILF(und) campaign!). Of course, we’ve felt that fear of failure but rather than letting that drive, we’re leading with our vision for our community and women at large. In a nutshell, that consists of unequivocal belief in ourselves, the women around us, and that we’re capable of more together. To accomplish more together, we need to be completely willing to ask for what we need.

Q: What’s been your biggest learning from this crowdfunding experience?

HM: Before launching our crowdfunding campaign, we knew women, especially mamas in our community, genuinely want to support each other. Through this experience, we’ve seen that this desire to support one another can—and does—translate into the fundraising realm. We’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received both in terms of the money we’ve raised and the willingness of women in our community to help us out by offering their valuable time as rewards for our supporters.

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Q: What’s next for HEYMAMA?

HM: In the immediate term, we’re building out our platform and adding more core cities so we can provide more mamas with access to the benefits of our community digitally and IRL. First up, we want to create an intuitive app and web experience to help our members get all the best of HEYMAMA in one place, and foster more connection and communication amongst our members. We’re also hiring community managers to facilitate events in our current core cities and new markets.

Long term, we’re exploring ways to support entrepreneurial mamas in concrete ways that translate into real business results.

Not only do these ladies know community, they also know how to create some amazing campaign rewards. Don't miss out on a MILF(und) t-shirt, the HEYMAMA gold neckalace, a $600 discount on iFundWomen's Crowdfunding Masterclass and so many more goodies!