Beautiful, ambitious and determined, best friends Katya Libin and Amri KIbbler are the Yin and Yang of the creative force behind the well known ( and extremely popular ) platform Heymama. Heymama is a curated community of creative and talented mamas with a goal is to help connect incredible women to collaborate, inspire and work together. You will find the spotlight articles on new and upcoming talents as well as detailed interviews with some of the most sought-after established designers, influencers , etc , all of which share one in common: they are all women, and most are also mothers. Today we have the honor of having Katya ( K) and Amri (A) allow us to peek into the creative process involved and all the secret bits that go with it.
Why hey, mama? What inspired the idea behind it?
Heymama was created out of our desire to connect like – minded women. Originally we were just looking for a way connect these women for friendship but as we dug deeper into what these women were bonding over, we realized the uniting factor was their passion for something outside of motherhood. These women were wonderful caring mothers but also pursuing their creative dreams and goals.
We saw a real need in this space to be able to connect these women to collaborate, share resources and get inspired. This was the starting place for Heymama.
There is a great "about" page on the site, but tell Urban Crusing something
about yourself you wouldn't typically put on a resume page but is "totally you".
A: Our brand is all about being an entrepreneur, which I’m very passionate about but I’m also very “domestic” in that I love sewing, crafts, cooking, decorating and entertaining. My husband and I are really into gardening, growing our own veggies, and I love jarring things and giving them as gifts. I find doing anything artistic to be like a relaxing massage for my mind.
K: One thing that my family has loved and taught me to love as well is art. I really enjoy going to museums, checking out new emerging artists and street art. My favorite thing outside of art, is music. I can spend hours creating a Spotify playlist.
Share, please, how your day schedule looks like?
A: I get up around 6:30 am for a quick stretch and shower before getting Mari up for school. I try to have a little playtime with her in the morning before we walk to school together. Our workdays vary so much they include lots of meetings with both potential clients and heymama members. Some days we have photo shoots for our website, and some days we have events. Every day is spent working with my best friend planning strategy for our clients and meeting so many talented women.
K: I wake up when Lili comes into my room and kisses me good morning. It works perfectly 90% of the time, 10% of the time we both oversleep. Since then I’ve been setting the alarm! Our normal mornings have me spoiled with a nice late 7:15 am wakeup, get Liliana dressed and myself ready for her to be at school by 9am. Then I usually head to Williamsburg to meet at Amri’s house and work from there, we’re usually in and out of meetings or coming back to the city to meet with clients or members. I love to workout from 5 to 6 and then get home by 6:30 to hang out with Liliana. Even if it’s a quick trip together to the nail salon, the park , or the store, doing something with her in the evening is such amazing quality time.
You both have backgrounds with emphases on creativity. Do you feel it
has effect on your creativity? How?
A: I don’t think I could exist without creative outlets in both my work and personal life. My earliest memories involve making art in all kinds of mediums. I do think this has been important to develop a way of thinking about what is possible and how to make what is not possible happen. I’ve always been blessed to be in a space where I can express myself creatively. I was making clothes for my dolls and myself, writing, and drawling as a child. I think it’s important to nurture this kind of expression in our children as it trains the mind to be open and express oneself in different mediums.
K: I actually felt like none of my previous roles allowed me to be as creative as I wanted to be. For the first time in my life I feel that I am able to pursue my creative whims, that I can create my reality and that I act on my creative impulses. This leads me to being fulfilled and constantly stimulated which I need and love!
Being a mom is not always easy. Working and being a mom is 10x as
difficult. How do you manage, because your work ethic is impeccable?
A: Katya and I are both very committed and hard workers, but we manage because it’s important to us first of all what we are doing; the idea of making a support system for women who want to work, but also to be examples for our own kids. I want my daughter to see that I am creating something of importance, and that she can create anything she wants. That her career choices are not limited by what’s on LinkedIn, there is space for her to create her own path. My husband is very supportive and we are working as a team to get things done, especially since I’ve been pregnant he has been pitching in a lot to help make things happen.
K: I think being driven by goals and having something of your own really changes how you feel about work. Before when I would work for other companies, I would feel some resentment towards having to leave my daughter. Now, although I feel guilty at times, I know I am building something that I and she can be proud of. We all have days that we are more or less focused, but being patient and dedicated to the brand has led us to accomplish great things together.
Where do you see Hey, Mama in 5 years? In 10? What is the ultimate goal for the business?
A: Katya and I were just blown away by the fact that heymama will be turning 1 soon. Things have grown and changed so rapidly in the last year, we are really grateful for the support from our community. We really want to be able to bring them a technology so they can connect instantly and be able communicate directly. This is next goal on our long list of for To Do’s in the next few years.
K: In 5 years I see us having a beautiful office with a team of 25 to 50 employees, in various cities. I envision a larger network of women from around the country organizing and connecting over events, workshops, mentorship programs and just fun parties to get out of the day by day routine. We really believe that by getting together and supporting one another, learning from each other we get to be our best most driven and connected selves. In 10 years, it’s hard to say but building a successful and impactful company at the same time is our vision. There are more and more mothers each day, purusing their dreams and we want to be the brand that connects and supports them through media, events and technology.
Heymama has a very strong influencer base. How do brands connect with your influencers, should they be interested?
We have an agency portion of heymama where we connect brands to influencers that authentically match their voices. We partner with these brands to evaluate what their messaging is and whom they need to connect with to reach the right consumer base. We take a very personal approach to this as we know all of our members and can tell who would make the biggest impact for them to work with.
What criteria do you have for an influencer to be a part of Heymama network?
We interview all our members to be sure they would benefit and be able to contribute to the community. Our member’s are brand builders, entrepreneurs, photographers, stylists, writers and other creatives.
Apart from connecting brands and influencers, what is the mission behind Heymama?
Our mission is to create a community of like-minded women who can inspire each other, connect over their careers, share resource and ideas, and help each other to succeed. We want to promote the awesome things these women are doing and share their successes.
Everyone needs a piece of good advice. You interview hundreds of successful and creative women/mothers on weekly bases. What is the best 3 pieces of advice you learned from your interviews?
A: I know Katya and I are going to both list this first one because it really was turning point for us from dreaming about starting our own company to making it a reality.
1. Just get started now. Don’t wait for the stars to align and your plan to be in place just take action right not now to get your business stared. You’ll continue to make changes and work things out along the way.
2. Stay Focused. This is a hard one for us! Katya and I always joke about the shiny objects out there. So many exciting fun and cool things come up, it really hard to keep you eye on what you need to do but especially as a start up you can’t spread yourself to thin.
3. Try to get as far as you can with your start up spending as little money as possible before raising money. Once you take money from someone you will not only being giving up a part or your company but also have to answer to someone else.
What other people think of you is none of your business. Don’t let other peoples doubts, opinions or emotions sway your conviction in what you are doing. Stay true to your vision and voice. Stay authentic to who you are, be kind and giving and do not worry if you have people question you.
Reign it in. Keeping your delivery and talking points concise, clear and to the point is priceless. A powerful speaker can sway opinions, conversations and ultimately move people to believe and follow your company cause. Get this down pat.
The people who want to work with you, will come to you. Get started and see who is reaching out, this will let you know the people who are most passionate about what you do. It’s sometimes best to wait and let people approach you than chasing down everyone from day one. Eventually when you have some more credibility and experience, go knock on all the doors but in the beginning, it’s nice to hang tight and let the market dictate who you partner with.
One sentence wish message to send to UC readers?
A: Be supportive of each other the pat on the back you give to another woman can be the encouragement she needs to follow her dream, we really believe that as women we are stronger together than apart.
K: Go easy on yourself. At the end of the day, there is only so much time in a day so if you have a couple days where you meant to get it all done, and you didn’t and you just feel stressed, remember, baby steps. You’ll get there, the only timing that’s right is what works for you. Be patient and stay true to who you are always. And of course, trust that gut!