Hi! I’m Jess. I’m CEO and cofounder of Amara and those who know me best probably know my parents too. Those who really know me well may even know what my college thesis was about. Ok, so how do these two relate? Entrepreneurs. My parents are both entrepreneurs and my college thesis was about entrepreneurship in emerging markets. Nerdy right? That’s why here at Amara, we decided to dig a little closer and bring you a mini series of interviews with moms that are running fantastic companies, while raising little ones. Because let’s be serious, #momboss is akin to superhero in our book.
E N T R E P R E N E U R. Now the word is pretty trendy but I lived with “entrepreneurs” before we even put a name to it. Both of my parents worked around the clock – so much so that when I was filling out my college applications I decided to put my parents were “un-employed”. Needless to say my dad was LIVID but my 17-year-old self didn’t know the difference between “un-employed” and “self-employed”. Now a few years later, “self –employed” comes with a more glamourous title – “entrepreneur”.
I’m here today to talk about when “entrepreneur” meets the word “parent”. Growing Amara has allowed me to meet the most amazing moms and dads that every day, bend over backwards to make the impossible possible for their kids. Through social media, I’ve had the unique opportunity to get to know a few of you, and to admire even more of you from a far. You are all truly super parents. And if that wasn’t enough, there companies out there that are run by entrepreneur parents. That’s parents, being super parents, AND running awesome companies. And that my friends, is what we are here to talk about today.
One of those companies is Oat Mama. Oat Mama brings lactation bars and treats for breastfeeding moms. We interviewed Kristy, one of the founders and also one of the first companies we reached out to as we started Amara’s ecommerce journey. If you haven’t tried them yet - the Oat Mama bars are not just great for breastfeeding but are also just generally delicious. They taste just like something you would make at home, but come to your doorstep beautifully wrapped without you having to lift a finger! We interviewed Kristy to hear a bit more about Oat Mama.
Being an entrepreneur can be a long road – can you tell us a bit about when you started and the moment you knew it was “going to work?”
One of the first places we sold Oat Mama was in a book festival in Tucson. Eliza and I made up a few test batches in our kitchen and we went with some pre-order forms we printed out on a clip board. We put the bars out for tasting so we got great feedback from moms. We also got a bunch of pre-orders - so right away I felt like it was going to do something.
Why do moms love Oat Mama?
On the product side - The product tastes freshly baked and you can see all the ingredients so you really get that homemade taste. It’s also a lactation bar that is developed by foodies, so it actually tastes good. We want to make a bar that is just as delicious as it is useful for helping moms with milk supply. It’s really a bar that you’ll want to keep eating even after you are breastfeeding because it’s so nutritious and delicious!
On the brand side – I think moms really like the community in the brand. One of our first flyers said “You got this”. We speak from the perspective of you’re enough. Eating lactation snacks is not a negative thing, mom’s come to Oat Mama because they are part of a community; part of a group of other moms that chose to breastfeed and through us have a space to talk about the ups and the downs of motherhood.
How do most moms find out about you?
Mostly through Instagram and influencers. We also have a Facebook moms group and publish some great content on our blog.
Where can moms find Oat Mama?
Oat Mama is almost exclusively online and can also be found in some brick and mortar stores in the big cities. We also sell online through our website and on Amazon.
What does your team look like now?
Eliza and I (Kristy) are the founders. We also have a team of 6 bakers and social media manager that helps us with content.
What recommendations do you have for other moms starting their businesses?
When I first started the company I thought I was going to have more time at home with the kids but then quickly realized it’s far from that. I don’t feel like I can give advice to moms because most are probably feeling like they aren’t doing well at either (being a mom and starting a business).
In my case, it was at least a solid year of being fully “in” the business and having less time with my kids. I think it’s important for anyone starting a business to keep in mind the value in starting it to make it worth it. For some people it’s financial; for others it’s because you love it; for others it’s setting up a career for yourself for when the kids don’t need you anymore; or being a role model for your kids. Whatever reason or mix of reasons, I wouldn’t do it just to have more time with your kids because often times that’s far from the reality of starting a business.
My advice for moms starting a business is to build a routine and time to be with your kids that your kids can count on. It can be something like quality time at dinner so they have time to talk about their day and tell you what is going on. There’s a certain flexibility in having your own business but the most important thing is having the communication with your loved ones to be able to do both.
The funniest story/mistake you want to share and why you can laugh about it now?
Oh, that’s a tough one. I guess one of my biggest mistakes early on would be not delegating things that I didn’t enjoy or wasn’t particularly good at. I think I spent too much time in the day to day operations instead of looking at the big picture. Sometimes you end up doing those things for too long instead of focusing on things that you really like and are valuable.
If you had no obligations and could spend a month somewhere, where would it be and why?
Probably Korea – that’s where I met my husband and where my son was born. I lived there for 10 years before starting Oat Mama. That experience really developed my culinary horizons and taught me a lot about food and different combinations.
A lot of times starting a business can seem like a far out dream, but Kristy is just one example of the supermoms we admire. We’ve watched her grow and it’s been amazing to see a mom run company blossom with such an amazing product. Don’t forget to support her on Instagram and social media!
For all you parents out there trying to make the impossible, possible – we know that homemade baby food is often times more of a dream than a reality, right? For those times, Amara baby food is here to bring you the next best thing to fresh homemade baby food. Mix fresh, anytime, anywhere.