NANNA SCHULTZ ON WORKING WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS INSTEAD OF FOR THEM.
Author: Sophie Moore
Webamp spoke to Nanna Schultz , founder and CEO of Momkind about her experience as an entrepreneur and mother, how to deal with failures and the importance of research before you launch a product.
Nanna Schultz ended up on the path she took into entrepreneurship somewhat by chance, having had the desire to start her own business but with no clear idea what it would be. Her moment of clarity came when listening to a podcast episode during her maternity leave for her second child sparked an idea within her that led her to give life to Momkind, a third child of sorts. Living in New York as a first time mother, she had found her expectations of what the postpartum experience would be like to be way off. The birth had gone well, she just felt a sense of pressure surrounding the fact that she had become somebody’s mother, just like that. She observed that during pregnancy, we have a tendency to focus on our bodies and wellbeing, everyone rushes to take care of us. A shift happens as soon as we give birth, our focus becomes entirely on the baby, the mother’s needs and experiences become secondary, almost forgotten about. Momkind is a way for Nanna to refocus the way we approach motherhood and postpartum life. Born from an idea sparked while listening to the How I Built This podcast by NPR with an American mother who had set up a company collating postpartum boxes with products from different brands for new mothers. Nanna took this a step further with Momkind and set out to create her own products along with a community for new mothers navigating life postpartum. Utilising the time her maternity leave gave her, she started contacting brands and planning what kind of products she wanted her boxes to contain. Her first product was a mesh panty designed specifically for postpartum that was a redesign of the standard hospital ones that often lead new mothers feeling less like themselves, less like women. Being a mother in hospital is a strange paradigm to find oneself in, you’re not an ill patient but you’re sort of treated like one. Nanna set out to change this, ordering 4000 units to her front door with no idea where it would lead her. She soon discovered that she had found a market that spoke to a group of people who are often forgotten about, selling products that weren’t really readily available to anyone yet. And so Nanna was now an entrepreneur. Fast forward a year and the Momkind team has expanded and moved out of her home and into an office that they are rapidly outgrowing as the community builds and the business goes from strength to strength. Becoming an entrepreneur with a young family takes a lot of guts, but Nanna is a testament to the fact that it is possible if you put your mind to it.
“When you enter the world of entrepreneurship you're told you'll have to juggle everything and you'll have to turn your back on your family and things will get a little crazy. It was very important to me to show that it is possible even with two kids.”
Entering into the world of entrepreneurship means facing the fact that you're going to fail, often. It’s how you deal with those failures that will determine how far you go. Nanna has perfected the art of having faith in her ability to figure things out. When faced with a roadblock or mistake, she simply breathes through it, choosing not to dwell on it and continuing on her path forwards, even if it is in a slightly different direction than she anticipated. Growth is an ongoing process, with twists and turns, detours and reroutes along the way. It is not easy but seeing something develop from an idea into a close knit community of like minded must feel rather amazing. The community is the foundation of Momkind, without their support and feedback, Nanna’s brainchild would not have grown in the way it has over the short space of a year. In fact that's where it all began, with her growing the instagram and facebook pages before she even had a product to launch, allowing her to seek valuable insights and feedback from her future customers during the product development process. Nanna has learnt the importance of asking questions, of never assuming you have all the answers and the power of creating with the customer instead of for them. A process that is so far removed from the norm, it's inspiring to see.
“Co-creation is at the forefront of everything we do.”
A strong sense of purpose is another thing that the foundations of Momkind are built on. A purpose fuelled by a promise that no mother would ever feel alone, a promise to break taboos by having open and honest conversations about postpartum experiences. Take a visit to the Momkind instagram and you will find an authentic balance between serious and humorous, setting a tone for open communication within an accepting community. This was something that Nanna has identified that she really wished she’d had access to as a first time mother, overwhelmed by her feelings and emotions that felt like a confusing whirlwind of negative and positive all mixed into one.
“I felt it was the craziest thing that had ever happened to me and so needed to be able to laugh about it for it to feel less intense.”
At the end of her first year in the world of entrepreneurship, Nanna has learnt a lot. Her advice to those embarking on this journey is this : talk to a lot of people. Talk to people before you take the plunge. Talk to people who don't necessarily agree with you, they’ll help you to highlight your blind spots and see the things you’d normally miss. Talk to people that don’t look like you, make sure your team includes a variety of perspectives and backgrounds else you may as well be talking to yourself. Talk to people and build your network, it's important to have people around you that can help you with the things you don't know anything about yourself. Talk to the people you serve about your ideas and concepts, get their feedback and truly take it on board. It can be so easy to become protective of your ideas, but without these important conversations you run the risk of launching products into a world you know nothing about, for people you know nothing about. And last but not least, talk to yourself, make sure you know what your vision is, your purpose. Tell yourself it's ok when things don’t go to plan. Tell yourself it's ok that your business plan changes every five minutes to take into account the craziness of the world you now find yourself in. Without conversations like these Nanna would not be where she is today, with a strong community of mothers behind her and a promise to them that they will never be alone. What a beautiful thing to have built.
Webamp would like to extend its gratitude to Nanna for sharing her journey and words of wisdom. If you were inspired by Nanna’s story, visit Momkind.dk to continue the conversation, become part of the instagram or facebook communities or connect with her on Linkedin.