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 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.
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.
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.