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Katya Libin and Amri Kibbler are cofounders of Heymama, a curated community of creative, talented and entrepreneurial mamas from around the globe. We chatted with Heymama about their mission to bring women together to collaborate and build beautiful things for themselves, each other and the world. (Where do we sign up? ??)


Before HeyMama

Before starting HeyMama, Amri was working in fashion in media, curating cool products as a fashion editor and stylist; Katya has a background in digital marketing, where tech and fashion meet.

Was there a moment when you realized that you needed to start Heymama? What clicked for you?

Katya: We initially started Heymama to connect moms like them to other moms purely for friendship, wanting to help women find meaningful friendships like ours.

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As we started meeting with women and doing research we realized that the women we really connected with were entrepreneurs and creatives building their brands. We started wanting to introduce these women to each other and realized there was a real space in the market for this kind of resource.

We had a lot of questions about building our own business that the information that these women were sharing was invaluable to us. So, we were pretty sure there were lots of women like us out there who wanted to start their own company that would love to hear insight from other successful women.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Amri: The best advice I’ve ever been given is to just get started. Starting is the hardest part, so just pick something even a small detail and just get started right away.

I can’t remember who told me, but it was around the time we started Heymama. We decided to focus on Instagram in the beginning and it was having that smaller focused initiative that helped us get off the ground.

Katya: The best advice I ever got is that building technology can be done, but building real community is hard. Build community and find your core fans first, then worry about the tech and money stuff later.

How has motherhood transformed your career? What’s your secret to integrating work and family?

Amri: Motherhood changed me as person, changed my priorities, which in turn affected my career choice.

Pre-baby I loved having work drinks, events, and dinners several times a week. Once Mari come into my world I wanted to make sure I was home to tuck her in. That being said, being a mama is my most important role.

I also believe it’s important for me to have something I’m passionate to work on, that I need that to be happy, and that in turn will make me a better parent.

I became really drawn to the idea of having my own business, making my own hours (although they are actually longer than before I started Heymama) and working with women who felt this same urge and face the same struggles.

I don’t have a secret for integration I just prioritize as I go. If Mari has a school play in the middle of the day I’m there and that day maybe I get a little less work done. Another day we may have a really early meeting and I’ll have to sneak out of the house before Mari gets up. I’m okay with that, I just do the best I can and try to really be present where ever I am.

Katya:

I think being a mom—and parenting overall—is an experience everyone can relate to. It makes things more personal, more real. It’s not just business.

People have families and lives and funny things that happened to them that morning. What their kids asked them on the train, and you share that at your meeting and it just equalizes everyone.

In terms of my secret to integrating.. HA! I’m still searching for it. I try to explain to my daughter that mommy’s work is important to her and that everyone has a job, all of which are important in different ways.

What keeps you inspired and excited every day?

Amri: We meet with so many creative and talented women everyday who inspire us, but its having a partner to share your dream with that really keeps us going.

We feed off each other and support each other through work and personal ups and downs.

What are your words of wisdom for other mothers wanting to turn their passion into a business?

Katya: We hope that the stories of success we share on Heymama will help mamas to realized anything is possible and there is a whole community of women out there doing it who are ready to help!

What are your big dreams for Heymama?

Amri: Right now working on building awareness around the brand and our recently launched website.

We’ll be hosting more events in the near future getting women together around the globe (look for us in LA, Philly and London this summer!!)

We’re passionate about creating really good partnerships for our members, and working with brands to create digital and social campaigns and events.

Who is your #momcrush?

Katya: At Heymama we have a new #momcrush every morning and night. You can check them out on Instagram at @heymamaco.

What does “Motherly” mean to you?

Amri: Motherly is a an inherent trait that makes us nurturers, to care for each other and be supportive to our family friends and colleagues. Becoming a mother makes you more giving more accepting and less selfish.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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