I really do think that Instagram is a wonderful place! I follow so many inspiring people and have also made some great connections along the way. One of those being the lovely Danni, founder of Mama Tribe, which is an online community and hub to support women through motherhood and business.
As a working mama myself, the ethos behind Mama Tribe really resonated with me, "Together we can empower and support one another. We are a generation of Women that want to have the family, the job and the social life. It’s NOT about making sacrifices, it’s about making the life we want, work". With a fab Brand Directory, Network Directory and regular Features, Mama Tribe is a fantastic community for mamas all over! You can find Danielle Reeder Photography amongst many other fabulous businesses over on the Mama Tribe Business Directory.
So, without further ado, I'll hand over to Danni to explain how Mama Tribe came about and how important it is to her . . .
Being there to see my son take part in his first school sports day, will be stored in my memory forever. Its one of those precious milestone moments that I couldn’t bare to miss. When I was thinking about setting up Mama Tribe, it was at the core of why I was choosing to create my new business. To have a job that was flexible around my family and allowed me to be there for the important moments.
I left London 9 years ago and moved to the Cotswolds with my husband to start a family, but continued to commute to work in London until I went on maternity leave. Our eldest boy, Monroe is now 7 and I found out I was pregnant with him just a few days before starting IVF.
There was no option for me to work remotely and with no family on hand to help, it would mean leaving our baby in nursery and wrap around care for up to 12 hours a day. So I chose not to return to my job as manager of a health club and instead went about setting up my first business.
Sadly, that business came to a very unexpected end! After just a few years trading, there was a fire in the flat above my bridal boutique. It took them 16 months to repair the building and the effect on my business, my ability to trade from a temporary office space was detrimental, so I had to closedown.
It's not all bad though, firstly it gave us the time to go through IVF and after three rounds, I managed to get pregnant with our second little miracle boy Lorne, who is now 2.
Secondly, I realised that the retail business I had created didn’t offer me as much flexibility as I’d hoped. I was basically stuck in my shop Tuesday to Saturday, so my son was in nursery 9 to 5.30 and we only had Sundays all together as a family.
During the newborn days whilst feeding my second son, I started following different bloggers and became addicted to Instagram. I become aware of the number of women choosing or finding they were unable to return to work or their careers after having a baby because of the effects it had on their family life. Instead choosing to go it alone and putting their years of experience and skills into a new business idea that they could create from home or around their family.
In many ways this isn’t a new phenomenon, women have been setting up their own small businesses for years, but what did seem different, was the way in which social media, in particular Instagram, was allowing these businesses to market themselves in a professional manner from their kitchen tables.
What I found so inspiring was the community and network of women supporting women. With babes in arms there seemed to be a growing talented workforce of women that wanted to look after their own children whilst working flexibly, using their years of experience and skills to continue their career or to create a new one for themselves.
Via Instagram I became aware of these women in business and was drawn to their creative brands. I loved the original designs, inspiring personal creations, positive message, determination and bravery behind each business. I wanted to support them, buy from them and promote them. I became a brand rep for a number of the brands and became more involved in the Insta-shop community.
My attention then turned to the new type of business networking groups. The first one I came across was Mothers Meeting, set up by Jenny Scott in London, running motivational workshops, sharing advice, resources and inspiration.
Being based in the Cotswolds, as an ex London girl, I felt out of this loop and unable to easily access this network. I was just about to set up my own local version, when I found out about other groups setting up across the UK, as other business orientated women felt the same as me, they wanted access to this type of network and community.
So that’s when I came up with the idea to create a national hub, a directory dedicated to this new community. That was unique in its effort to profile all of these new groups, but also listed all of the Insta-Shops I’d grown to love and other businesses set up by women. I was a mother with a baby whilst all of this was developing, but I felt there needed to be a resource for future new mums to tap in to, to find out all about and connect with like minded, business savvy women.
I launched Mama Tribe on 8th March 2017, International Women’s Day.
Mama Tribe is primarily a curated brand and network directory of businesses across the UK, that can work together and support each other. On the website you can find independent brands and businesses set up by women or for Women, with a focus on supporting women that are mamas or hope to be. As a community we can support each other, promote these businesses and collaborate.
There are also features posted weekly by a team of contributors offering business advice, lifestyle inspiration and interviews with the women behind the brands. We are in the process of organizing POW WOW’s and collaborative events that will be held across the UK for the Mama Tribe, focusing on business networking and fun social events.
Mama Tribe reaches out to Women that are business minded, that want to continue working, but want to find work that works around being a mother. Since having my first child 7 years ago, there has been a definite shift. I feel Instagram has been a contributing factor as it has created a sociable, creative form of communication for women, small businesses and start ups. Also women like mega mum, Mother Pukka, who has been campaigning to bring this topic to everyone’s attention.
I do feel that things are starting to change, maybe not yet within the corporate environment in the UK, but definitely there is a shift in the attitude of new parents as they reconsider their options.
Through Mama Tribe, through collaboration, through solidarity, I hope together we can help women in business and those that are mothers, to be able to achieve the family, work balance that they desire.
Mama Tribe UK
All images: Danni McCabe