SuperMOM Mitali was once a YouTube experiment, and has now evolved into a full-fledged tech-supported community for parents who wish to be equally involved in their child's holistic development.
This is parenting 2.1.
Thanks to the popularity of its community content, the portal has been able to acquire funding from some of her ex-colleagues, who have jumped in as private investors. As the baby-care industry explodes on the digital front, the investments that have gone into the portal were deemed both lucrative and incredibly well-timed.
Not just babies, parenting.
This is an Exclusive Interview with Mitali Jakatdar, as a part of the #TimesStories initiative by The Times Blog.
What inspired you to start this platform, and whay distinguishes you from baby-care startups?
We are a parenting startup, and I mainly stumbled upon this idea as an experiment. We were testing some camera equipment and someone told me to just sit and blabber in front of the camera. Being a new mom, only maternity related information came out of my mouth, and in the process, a video was 'born'.
Thousands loved that first video, and it inspired us to do this more often. Initially, we wanted to keep our platform video-only, but keeping the Indian target groups in mind, we diversified into a complete website. After starting the venture, I realized that the efforts into this venture have to be full-time and hence, I quit my job to do it full-time, starting in April 2017. We soon raised our first round of funding. What kept us going is the vast scope of the sector itself - by not limiting it to baby products, we are growing faster, because parenting is more of a 'forever' process.
What challenges did you face while going about your launch, and in the subsequent years?
We started our venture in 2014, but dove full-time into the venture only in 2017. The challenges that we continue to face, largely revolve around a somewhat myopic view of people, towards the whole notion of parenting.
People generally think that it's all about advice to new moms - about breastfeeding, or food, for babies, or about schools... that sort of thing.
Yes, our parenting section focuses on all of these aspects too, but we tend to go beyond just infant or toddler parenting. I generally explain to everyone in very simple terms - “After a baby is born, we do not think of ourselves only as parents. We don't live in a silo. We have our own lives too! We need to think of us as individuals beyond our scope of parenting too."
There's the entire grooming aspect... Focusing on that led to the rise of a style & beauty section – Spas, Parlors, Grooming salons, Beauty products, Clothes, Accessories, et al.
Then there's travel. Travelling with kids is a huge section. We think of family outings every weekend - so the newly launched eat section is gathering a lot of eyeballs.
I think, slowly we will be able to establish ourselves as a category-specific LBB, or the "Miss Malini" of parenting.
How did your family react when you told them about Supermom Mitali?
They were completely ok with my decision to take the plunge, as everyone who knows me, knows that I am more of an independent worker.
Also, this is actually my second entrepreneurial venture. (The first was our video production house, which is now managed by my husband.)
Any specific influences that have helped you shape up your content amplification strategy so far?
Oh yes! MissMalini.com has been a huge influence on us. We want to deliver a message in her format, within the parenting space. Our core message remains simple enough - Follow your heart, trust your instincts, and everything will eventually fall into place.
What are the Top 3 Business Takeaways that you did not know when you first started out?
- Always stick to your principles.
- Never take criticism personally.
- Think about the future, and plan everything in advance.
What advice would you give to your ten-year younger self, if given an opportunity?
I would tell myself not to follow the money trail, and to follow what the heart says. As early on as possible.
Any words of advice for aspiring parenting-YouTubers out there?
Yes. And this is important.
Please be honest, sincere and scientifically accurate in any advice that you shell out. We're dealing with little babies here.
What kind of businesses/services do you wish were available in the market today, to help you reach your business goals faster? (Services that you haven’t found so far, but wished they existed)
We would really like agencies/media houses to have an in-house parenting expert on board, as parenting is a field that can only be understood by a parent. They can form better strategies than young lads whenever any parenting-related product is being discussed or developed.
How much of a role does consumer marketing/publicity play for you? What challenges do you see here?
It does play a very important role, because any kind of marketing or publicity will lead to a lot of eyeballs, and not just moms or dads but brands would also notice us. That is exactly what any entity wants, right?
The challenges faced by us are mainly in the area of educating people that parenting is not just limited to diapers and rash creams, and it is not a niche.
It involves everything - from pregnancy, to dealing with teenage woes. So I often ask people to close their eyes and state the products they use right from waking up till they fall asleep, such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, a cup of tea, coffee, sugar, sweeteners, breakfast, biscuits, cheese, butter, soap, shampoo, clothes, shoes, stationery, cars, transport, travel, hotels, restaurants, medicines, entertainment... it's an endless list, and they're all linked to parenting.
Is there someone whom you wish to thank on our platform?
I would like to thank my mother, who is a strong believer in my goals and dreams, and she was also one of the first investors in my portal. I also want to thank my husband, who has been a strong supporter of all my aspirations.
The Times RapidFire
Name one book that you will recommend without blinking.
Answer: How to win friends and influence people - By Dale Carnegie
An original quote for your loyal customers?
“Good content is like perfume. You will smell it from anywhere, and the smell will linger on!”
Do you operate with goals, or systems? Pick one.
Cricket, or no Cricket?
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Print, or Digital?
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