By Nepherterra Estrada
Moms are the most efficient creatures on the planet. Think about it. Moms are masters of creating processes to streamline life so they can get more done during the day. They are multitasking queens who often juggle school schedules, carpools and the family finances.
So it’s no surprise that more and more mothers are starting businesses and becoming “mompreneurs,” women who juggle running their own businesses along with the demands of being parents.
The National Women’s Business Council reports that there are about 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the United States, and many of the women who run them are mothers.
I’ve been an entrepreneur and business owner since 2004, but I didn’t become a “‘mompreneur’” until 2012, when my son, Bryson, was born. I know firsthand that motherhood is a game changer. Mothers excel as the CEOs of their own companies because they have the ability to:
- Identify solid business ideas “Mompreneurs” are great at building businesses that fill a void or solve a problem.
- “Feel” Passion Successful “mompreneurs” are passionate about their businesses. They believe in their products and services and are laser-focused on fulfilling their dreams.
- “Show” Efficiency Streamlining business practices and identifying areas of excess comes naturally for “mompreneurs,” and this is beneficial for any business.
Move Over Marilyn…
The ICON T-shirt Collection is one of my favorite start-up fashion brands, and was recently started by “mompreneur” Lauren Mattox. Mattox married her husband in 2014, bought a house, got pregnant with the couple’s second child and started her business ALL in the same year!
“After becoming a mom, I knew I had to start my company,” Mattox recently explained. “I grew tired of seeing T-shirts featuring Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn in stores like Target and Forever 21, so I used that as motivation to create a T-shirt line that celebrates women of color, like Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne and Maya Angelou. I honestly had to do this for my daughters.”
Mattox is building a business that addresses a huge void in the market. ICON’s signature T-shirt celebrates women by using the names of influential African-American women to spell out the word ICON — names such as Michelle Obama, Diahann Carroll, Nikki Giovanni, Maya Angelou and many more.
“The response to the shirts has been amazing,” Mattox says. “The fact that people are spending their hard-earned money on something that I created means the world to me. As a mom with two little girls, I want to provide a quality product that women and girls of color can connect with and feel proud to wear.”
Ultimately, Mattox wants ICON T-shirts to be available in big-box stores, as well as online, as they are now. But that takes time.
“I always recommend starting online and then getting the product in boutiques,” said Stephanie Calhoun, a buyer for TJX Stores. “I also recommend attending trade shows in major cities to connect with buyers face-to-face and get the product in their hands.”
Marketing Strategies for “Mompreneurs”
“Mompreneurs” and start-ups often assume that marketing is necessary only once the brand has been established, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Marketing is just as important as payroll, rent and insurance. Therefore, it needs to be a line item in the budget.
Mattox understands that marketing is critical to the success of her T-shirt brand. Although she may have a shoestring budget as a start-up, she has taken the first step, which is allocating dollars for marketing activities and developing a plan to guide her throughout the year. For more information about ICON T-shirts, visit http://myiconictee.com.
Nepherterra Estrada is an award-winning communications professional and is partner and director of public relations for Pride PR, a full-service communications agency that is a division of Pride Communications.