Welcome to an interview with another successful pregnant entrepreneur, Sarah Bond, CEO of Main Line Parent.
- You are nine months pregnant and are at the helm of a great resource for moms called Main Line Parent. How did this come about?
Main Line Parent been online for two years and we are about to publish our fourth issue of our print magazine and launch a digital edition with customized mobile application for Spring 2012. We identify as a regional parenting publication, but what sets us apart is that we started out as a Facebook group in 2010. I started this company when my first daughter was four months old and I wanted to make more mom friends who were in a similar stage of life. I invited the four or five moms I’d met in prenatal yoga within days it grew ten-fold as their friends and friends of friends joined. We planned social networking events and started a website to publish parenting articles and features on local resources for families. Within a year I had my sights set on planning a charity benefit for the local birth center, where I’d had such an amazing experience for the birth of my daughter, and launching a print magazine as well. Mom’s Night Out for Mother’s Day was a huge success and the first issue of our magazine was met with rave reviews, so I kept going. In the following year I attracted a team of experts to fine tune our editorial and design and to assist in client relationship building, which also kept me going.
- You are about to release your fourth issue of the beautiful magazine Main Line Parent. How are you feeling about the business right now?
I feel great about the business. Our Spring Issue is about to come out the first week of March and we are riding a wave of success from our first Main Line Early Childhood Education Fair held earlier this month. The Spring Issue celebrates outstanding local parents with exciting features such as one several local moms who have built amazing businesses, another about a Mom’s Club which is building a $50K playground project, a chef from a new culinary hot spot in Wayne who makes cooking at home fun with his daughter by reinventing culinary classics with creative twists, and many more. This issue will be available for free through our distribution network of schools, cafes and local businesses as well as online to our subscribers and through a new custom mobile application for iDevices.
We are also preparing for our second annual Mom’s Night Out for Mother’s Day and we’re excited to already have $5,000 in contributions from local businesses for our silent auction. This night of beauty and fashion for moms is the ultimate girl’s night out: with a VIP lounge, swag-filled gift bags, cocktails, a red carpet, and dinner at the Radnor Valley Country Club and a fashion show by Van Cleve Collections. Our auction will benefit the Main Line Parent Foundation, which provides grants and scholarships to students, mompreneurs, moms clubs and local groups that share our mission of Building Community.
- You started this venture in the midst of the Great Recession. Some would say that is crazy. What do you think?
Unlike many business models, such as opening a retail location or manufacturing products, Main Line Parent was built as a financially self-sustaining business. I already had the necessary skills from my years working in marketing roles, such as web and print collateral design, copy writing and integrated marketing communications planning, so I was in a good position to offer my expertise to local businesses and allow them to tap into a desirable niche market through the social media network I developed. The biggest investments were my time and my family has been very supportive financially so I did not need to take on a large amount of expensive debt to begin. We tapped into a niche market and have grown steadily with careful consideration to our financial position to ensure that we do not overextend ourselves as well.
- What are your plans to take a maternity leave once the baby comes? Will your business be able to pay for you to be out?
I do not plan to take any kind of formal maternity leave, though I will be relying more on the rest of my team to keep our momentum going for a few weeks while I adjust to life with two. I’m optimistic that I will manage with a lot of baby-wearing and working during naps, which I did within two weeks of my first daughter being born (she was such a big sleeper during the day… cross your fingers for me that I’ll be so lucky again?)
- How important are your staff and team to this business? How did you connect with key individuals?
My team is absolutely essential. I would not still be doing this if I have not been joined by the natural relationship-building talents of Pamela Badolato, the copy writing savy and strategic editorial direction of Melissa Greiner, and the visual talents of Brittany Ostrov (our Photo Director), Veronica Utz (our Design Director), and Meredith Miller (our Art Director). And we, as the executive team would not be successful without the support of our contributing photographers and writers. As a business-owner, I would not be where I am today without the support and encouragement of my mentor and PR/Social Media expert, Dawn E. Warden, the event planning expertise and support of Karen Pecora and this would not have gotten started at all without the encouragement, financial support, and strategic consulting that my husband has provided.
I connected with this team through social media and networking (I even met my husband seven years ago on match.com… I guess I’ve always been connecting with key individuals online!) We united under a vision for taking this brand and with every issue we have fine-tuned our product.
- Are there any physical challenges with your pregnancy, and how are you working through them?
As with my first pregnancy, I had challenges getting pregnant because I have the most common form of infertility, PCOS. As anyone who has gone through this process will tell you, this is emotionally and physically exhausting — and I was about a year into running this business by that point. But with my determination, a great team of infertility specialists, and a tremendous amount of fortunate circumstances I was able to get pregnant again.
Then, about half-way through my pregnancy I was crippled by back and hip pain, barely able to walk or climb a flight of stairs and I was SAVED by chiropractic treatments twice and three times a week by Dr. Brandi Nemchenko in King of Prussia, Dr. Cara Hillwig in Bryn Mawr, and Dr. Martin Orimenko in Ardmore (I rotated between their practices based on my schedule and where I could fit in adjustments between client meetings!) I highly recommend all three to women who are pregnant — if you are experiencing any kind of hip and back pain — or if you are ever faced with a breech baby — give one or more of them a call!
- People talk about mommy brain like it’s a bad thing, but I know you have serious plans for the future of your business. Would you be able to share the next big thing we should look for from Main Line Parent?
Our next big thing is about to come to market, we are so excited to be working with Nxtbook Media, a company based in Lancaster, to be launching a free mobile application and digital edition of our magazine. (We are in the final stages of approval from Apple and expect our spring issue to be available in March through this medium. You can see a demo of our Winter Issue’s digital edition here.) This will compliment our printed circulation and enhance the reader experience with rich multimedia aspects and click-through links to share content through social networks. Along with our next big event, Mom’s Night Out for Mother’s Day, we’re looking ahead to the Fall 2012 when we will host the first Private and Independent School Expo for the region.