Marketers are savvy. When I was pregnant and discovering my new world, a friend joked that she had to stop opening the website links I emailed her – she was becoming inundated with ads for maternity clothes and didn’t want to raise eyebrows at her office. Recently, I’ve been feeling like there’s an ad agency or browser cookie in my phone monitoring my conversations...I’ll be texting with a friend about being a stay-at-home mother, and *BOOM* I’ll get an email from Well Rounded about that topic. It turns out that Jessica Pallay and Kaity Velez, the editors at Well Rounded, are even savvier. I decided to sit down with these Mamapreneurs to discover how they run an incredibly popular online magazine brand and juggle motherhood at the same time (and to not-so-subtly accuse them of spying on my texts, which they promptly denied!)
Jessica and Kaity met years ago when they worked in the fashion publishing industry. They became friends and would frequently enjoy nights out filled with cocktails at NYC hotspots. Around four years ago, something changed. Jessica was a little nervous for her next meet up with Kaity, because she was freshly pregnant and didn’t know how to order a virgin cocktail without it being obvious…only to find out that Kaity was pregnant too!
The life-changing journey through pregnancy and becoming a mama is immense. As first-in-your-friends-circle-to-become-pregnant girls, both Jessica and Kaity were relieved to have each other – but also a little surprised that there wasn’t a whole lot of information out there that addressed their needs as modern city women. What does this change mean for your career? For your social circle? And what about the actual physical changes you will go through? The list of topics and unanswered questions can go on.
Together, they wanted to create an online community for women like them (and me, and countless others). It started out as idea sharing – at one point, they met at Eataly for a girl’s date and Jessica brought print-outs of other websites to discuss the industry (I am SO jealous I wasn’t there). After two years of planning, they launched Well Rounded, an online magazine and community for women from pregnancy to beyond.
Here is my Q&A with Jessica & Kaity:
Q: You had the idea for Well Rounded when you were pregnant, and now you both have little ones who are running around, talking back to you, and beyond their “toddler years”. However, your blog talks to women in all of those stages, including the very early ones. How do you stay focused on addressing the needs of everyone in your audience?
Jessica: You have to remember that we both started out in men’s fashion – so we have always enjoyed being editors from a journalist’s perspective. Our goal was to be a site that women would want to visit in all the stages of this journey. Over the years, we have grown the community of women that we talk to on a regular basis – and we work with a lot of guest bloggers to ensure that we constantly offer advice or tips that are fresh and relevant to everyone.
Kaity: When we were pregnant, there were a lot of personal blogs our there. We wanted to make sure that our content could offer advice and tips to all women, and not just be about the journey we personally went through. There shouldn’t be any time where someone feels judged or alienated – we want to cover every angle, so everyone can relate to our content.
Q: I’m recently a new mother, and sometimes it’s an effort to get into a pair of clean jeans in the morning. You both had full time jobs, new babies, and an idea that you wanted to bring to life. How did you do it?
Kaity: There were so many days and nights where if I had worked on this on my own, I might have lost steam or motivation, or might have postponed something because I didn’t have the energy. Working with someone else holds you accountable. We knew that to make this happen and to push this to the next level we had to be “fully in” – and so we kept at it, and kept each other motivated to really commit to getting to that next level.
Jessica: I don’t think we could have done this without each other. I know it personally helped me to always give my personal best. If we set a time to meet, we couldn’t just back out, because we didn’t want to disappoint each other. There were a lot of late nights, with texts back and forth until midnight, but we knew we were both in it for the long haul and that was a huge motivation to keep going. It helps that we love what we do and we love to know that we are inspiring others. Loving what you do is such an important part of finding success.
Q: Finally, if you had one tip for other mothers that you wish someone would have told you, what would it be?
Jessica: Trust yourself. Being a new mom is filled with so many unknowns and it makes even the most confident among us second-guess our actions. But...what works for someone else might not work for you. Try not to compare and get caught up in what someone else thinks is "right." You're the expert when it comes to your baby, and don't let anyone make your feel otherwise. And there's so, so many ways to be a great mother.
Kaity: Keep an open mind but and don't compare yourself to others. Only you know what's best for your family!
Whether you are pregnant, nursing, or having conversations with your little ones, check out Well Rounded online to get inspired and learn some handy tips from real women who are going through what you are going through. You can also get some of their best article shares through their Facebook, or follow along on Instagram for #BumpEnvy