I’ve often said motherhood didn’t hurt my career; it helped it. The experience gave me clarity and allowed me the opportunity to tackle business challenges with a new perspective. Similarly, I believe my workplace management style has fused with my parenting style. This is a popular opinion among working mothers, with nearly half finding their career to be their identity outside of motherhood, and 34% saying their work empowers and inspires them to be a better mother.
Here are three other women disrupting industries with innovative solutions to service professional mothers and their children.
Amanda Moatz, Founder of Project Your Best
It has been reported that each year, Americans throw away 70 to 80 pounds of clothing annually. An increasing problem in our society has become the number of clothes being made compared to the number of times they’re worn before being thrown away. As more clothes are made with plastic fibers, these textiles have become a major contributor to pollution in the world’s oceans, notes the United National Economic Commission for Europe.
Amanda Moatz of the Maryland startup Project Your Best is working to tackle this problem, specifically for mothers in corporate America. Moatz encourages mothers reentering the workforce to share professional clothing or resell items to women in need of gently used clothing. The idea came from Moatz’s personal experience as a stay at home mother of two back in 2014.
“I was showing up at preschool drop-off and pick up looking like what I felt like – overwhelmed, exhausted, lost, and lacking identity. I thought about what I truly loved beyond the roles, titles, and accolades I’d earned in my old life, and it was the clothes.”
Moatz eventually returned to the workforce but didn’t forget the difficulty she experienced. Project Your Best provides also wardrobe consulting, secondhand styling and private shopping services to working mothers.
“The early years of motherhood are filled with body changes, prioritizing others, exhaustion and identity confusion. Women end up with a closet full of clothes that don’t fit their bodies or their new roles because they don’t have the time or desire to shop for a new wardrobe. Project Your Best helps moms identify their style in the context of their new role and makes getting dressed a joy rather than a chore.”
A mom nanoinfluencer, Moatz recently partnered on Instagram with ThredUP, the largest online and consignment thrift store, to promote secondhand, sustainable style to working moms. This was a strategic move for ThredUP and a credible partnership for Project Your Best; earlier this year ThredUP joined The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative to encourage consumers to keep clothes from landfills by selling, repairing or bringing them to donation points.
Carliz Sotelo Moore, CEO of Wigs.com
In a $10 billion industry where wigs, hairpieces and extensions are primarily sold brick and mortar by fragmented competitors, for more than 20 years Wigs.com has been an online market leader. CEO Carliz Sotelo Moore credits her success to pivoting quickly with the market and listening to clients. Wigs.com has been the top player in the online hair wigs and extension industry since 1998 and pioneered providing consumers with educational videos and digital content. The wig website was the first in the world to invest heavily in full production education videos, helping consumers navigate through the complex nature of the information.
Sotelo Moore is driven by her passion to help women feel empowered and confident, even when they face the toughest health challenges.
“I know some women rely heavily on us for their regular hair fix, and going out into the world with no hair is not an option for them. We have to make sure we are always on 24/7. That’s why I started the business from my bedroom nearly 20 years ago.”
Over the years Sotelo Moore has invested millions of dollars in digital innovation. Wigs.com features a service called TruColor, which allows consumers to see over 26,000 wigs in every available color for order. In an attempt to leverage consumer preferences for visual product descriptions, every wig includes a digital video which talks consumers through features, cap construction, colors and materials.
Erika Jernigan, Owner of Lexi’s Lil Bug
More than half of people in the U.S. have used a ridesharing app, with companies like Uber and Lyft reporting annual revenues of $11.3 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively. Most ridesharing organizations don’t have a clear strategy on how to support working parents in congested metros and have no idea how to target the parents of generation Alpha. (Author note: Having spent years in marketing at a carsharing startup, most of my projects could attest to this.)
Back in 2016 Erika Jernigan was working at one of the largest banks in America when she received news of mandatory shift changes, greatly impacting working parents at the company.
“There was a particular associate on my team who was emotionally distraught because she didn’t have a support system or transportation services for her children. At that moment I decided to start Lexi’s Lil Bug, so parents felt supported. They could still maintain their careers while trusting their children would make it to their destinations safely.”
Lexi’s Lil Bug takes the pressure off parents with demanding schedules who are typically struggling to get their children to and from school or after school programs. At the moment its footprint is focused on metros with a high family population and congested traffic, such as Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. In the past year Jernigan has received a few awards including Women Entrepreneur of the Year and placed in three venture seed competitions (including Lyft’s Pitch Competition).
Parents can download the Lexi’s Lil Bug mobile app and reserve rides or make changes to current reservations. Jernigan has taken extra precautions to ensure safe rides for children: all rides have real-time GPS tracking navigation and the hiring process for drivers includes an FBI background check, fingerprinting, and national drivers record and sex offender registry checks.