Many women worldwide are still victims of the “motherhood penalty.”. They are penalized for the prevalent bias that mothers are less productive or committed to their jobs. Studies reveal that, on average, mothers are more likely to be offered annual salaries of $11,000 than their male colleagues. Here we present ten mothers who founded successful startups after they had children proving that the bias against mothers is wrong. These ten women were motivated by motherhood to launch their startups that have made their and their children’s lives easier.
Ariane Goldman, Founder & CEO of HATCH
During her pregnancy, Ariane Goldman found it challenging to wear anything that allowed her to celebrate her changing body rather than hiding it. She was determined to change this and launched HATCH to provide women with stylish maternity clothes and safe beauty products for would-be mothers. She wanted to empower them and make them feel confident and beautiful during their pregnancies. Ariane also wanted to create a trusted resource and community for expecting women to turn to for advice, information, and connection. Today, HATCH hosts regular New York and Los Angeles events for women to attend doula seminars, birth coaching, mommy and me classes, etc.
Jane Hyo-Sung Park, Founder, and CEO of Julep
After the birth of her second child, Jane Park quit her high-level Starbucks position to follow a true calling. Jane says she surprised herself, as she had expected to care less about her work after having children. But the opposite happened. She suddenly found an incredible internal drive to learn, grow and create. She launched Julep, an e-commerce powerhouse that offers more than 300 non-toxic nail polishes and other beauty products. She has even named a polish color after her son, Yumi. In January 2020, Park launched another company, Tokki, a reusable cotton gift wrap product that can record a message the recipient can read on their smartphone.
Jamie Morea, Cofounder of The Simple Folk
Soon after the birth of their second babies, Jamie Morea and a good friend, Abigail Brown, launched The Simple Folk, a line of ultra-soft, minimalist, organic, sustainable, and pattern-free clothing made with fair, ethical, and eco-friendly business practices. Morea admits that the daily balance of having big global dreams while striving to be an involved, connected, and present parent is a huge challenge. She managed this by delegating many domestic chores, surrounding herself with a talented team, and opting for a modern organization that offers paid maternity/paternity leave and unlimited vacation. The Simple Folk also supports women in leadership roles, and most of its employees are work-from-home moms.
Kim Palmer, Founder & CEO of Clementine
Anxiety took over Kim Palmer’s life after taking maternity leave from her high-powered marketing job. After suffering many major panic attacks, she eventually discovered that hypnotherapy helped improve her emotional wellbeing. So, she then decided to create Clementine, an app that provides short, guided hypnotherapy sessions to boost confidence, reduce stress and improve sleep. Today, Clementine engages more than 60,000 women, 40,000 through the app. Of these users, 97% allow Clementine to notify them daily via the mantras module. Palmer’s purpose in life is to support women to be their best selves. She also encourages aspiring entrepreneurs.
Jane Daines, Co-founder & Chief Product Officer, Lalo
As a mother of two, Jane Daines has first-hand experience of how frustrating shopping for a baby can be. Her co-founders, Greg Davidson and Michael Wieder, also shared similar frustrations. Together, they were motivated to develop better products and an efficient shopping experience. They founded Lalo with the mission that it would be the go-to destination for well-made baby and toddler essentials. As figuring out the product roadmap presented a significant challenge, they focused on products families rely on the most. Their first product was The Daily stroller, and they recently launched a second product. The Chair is a 2-in-1 convertible high chair.
Manisha Shah, Cofounder of Playfully
Manisha Shah is the co-founder of Playfully, a baby and child development app that helps busy parents promote their child’s development through at-home play. She has two kids and found her life purpose in building a company that makes it easy for parents of 0- to 3-year-olds to engage with their kids in meaningful ways. When Manisha Shah started taking her premature baby to see an occupational therapist, Manisha became aware of the importance of play. She started thinking about how to make that knowledge accessible to other parents. A Stanford engineer, she was intrigued by the challenge of leveraging technology to deepen in-person connections in the real world. She built the first version of the Playfully app herself while balancing having two young kids at home.
Amber Fawson and Cherie Hoeger, Co-founders of Saalt
Amber Fawson, mother of four, and Cherie Hoeger, mother of five, co-founded Saalt, which creates reusable menstrual cups. As a certified B Corp, Saalt commits 2% of its revenue to donate period care and help fund girls’ education, empowerment, and sustainability initiatives. Cherie was inspired to launch Saalt after learning from her aunt in Venezuela that menstrual pads and tampons had not been available on store shelves for years. She thought of her own five daughters and what she would do in the same situation. Three months later, she was sourcing reusable menstrual pads for hundreds of friends. She started custom designing her idea of the perfect cup, as she did not find the ideal criteria for the products.
Jessica Herrin, Cofounder of Stella & Dot
According to Jessica Herrin, 2003 was the “year of firsts” for her, as she had her first daughter and took her first leap into turning her weekend hobby of designing jewelry into a business. Jessica had already founded a startup when she was 24. Now, she turned her passion for jewelry into Stella & Dot. The jewelry company has raised over $42 million in funding.
Diane Greene, Cofounder of VMware and Bebop
Diane Green was pregnant with her second child when she, her husband, and three others founded VMware. Her original plan was to hire a CEO for the company, but that never happened. Greene scaled VMware, her third startup, until 2008. Later, Google acquired her latest startup, Bebop, for $380 million in November 2015.
The women mentioned above are exceptional mothers who have proved that the “motherhood penalty” is a wrong perception. Women are blessed with the power and resilience to achieve anything they want to. If women can take care of their children, prepare food for them, and help with their homework, they can also be successful entrepreneurs.
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