Mamasoup An Innovative New Online Platform for Moms
Mamasoup is an informative, accessible and fun new app that offers new mothers a chance to network with one another, sharing stories, information, tips, challenges, experiences and solutions in a safe and secure environment – one that promotes collegiality, understanding and practical support.
It is the brainchild of Janetville, Ontario mother of four, nurse, doula and Lamaze childbirth educator Joanne Ilaqua, and has been growing rapidly since its soft launch in the fall of 2018. Mamasoup is available for download on most platforms, and is currently optimized for iOS and Android devices, as well as having a related website: www.mamasoup.ca.
The popularity of the site, based on a low-key rollout, is remarkable. Since October 2018 and up to March 1, there has been an increase in downloads of 261 per cent on iOS and 135 per cent on Android. At present there are about 1,000 registered users, with 60 per cent residing in Canada and 40 per cent from other countries, primarily the United States. These are remarkable numbers considering the growth has been derived almost exclusively through word of mouth and user recommendations.
Wanting to work with other local businesses as much as possible, Ilaqua brought in Lindsay-based marketing, branding and website development firm Colour and Code to develop the app and Mamasoup brand. Their suggestions, including having Ilaqua write a regular blog, have paid big dividends already.
“I approached them about two and a half years ago and said I wanted to do this thing, but I didn’t really know exactly what it would entail. We worked on the concept and it just grew and grew to become an app that is available on iOS and Android. There is a web version as well. And the Mamasoup blog really was the spark: it has kind of exploded over the last few months with women going there to get information and sharing it. So, it has really been the catalyst for the growth of users for the Mamasoup app,” she said, adding that Colour and Code also helped develop the Mamasoup name and brand.
“I didn’t have a name at first or even a concept. They created the branding. We worked together to develop the concept and it was a great experience to collaborate with another local business. The whole idea is that Mamasoup is a place where moms can go, take all of their own experiences as moms and as women, and throw it into this online community like a good soup,” she said.
A long-time health care professional and a mother of four, Ilaqua realized that in the internet generation there was way too much disinformation out there through various online sources and it was often both a morass and a minefield for moms and moms-to-be to find helpful, accurate information about various aspects of childbirth, child rearing and other significant issues experienced by moms.
“I want to give women good information that is available to them whenever they need it, because there is so much bad information on the internet. With my background, experience, knowledge and education I’m creating a space where women can go and get information that they knew is accurate and trustworthy. And then I create it and deliver it in a way that is maybe a little bit easier to understand,” she explained, adding that one of the big appeals of the Mamasoup app is that the content is uploaded and essentially curated and policed by users.
“Women create their own conversations and they can follow and participate, depending on what interests them. The app is built for massive growth, so what you see when you log in is based on your location. Users can block others or flag them so we can monitor and deal with online bullying very quickly and easily.
She also said that because of changing demographics, most new moms are part of the millennial generation, who grew up with their mobile devices as the primary source of communication and information. Therefore, an easy-to-access, user-friendly app would be the best way to deliver the Mamasoup mandate.
“Originally, I thought I would start with a website because, to be honest, a website alone would be a heck of a lot cheaper to create. But I got to thinking about it and I realized that the average age of a first-time mom in the U.S. and Canada right now is about 31. And a woman at 31 is already career oriented, using technology daily. She is not going to sit down in the middle of the night with a crying baby and get onto a desktop computer. I realized pretty early on in the process that this needed to be an app,” Ilaqua said.
Another of the innovative features of the App is that if a user moves locations, she can tap into the Mamasoup online network and groups located in her new vicinity.
“If somebody lives in Napanee and then moves to Toronto, she can change her location on the App and tap into moms in Toronto. The App is anonymous but based on the location of the user,” she said.
At present, Ilaqua said she is essentially absorbing the cost of the site and app as part of her initial business plan. She said strategies will be unveiled soon for an unobtrusive marketing and advertising process so that Mamasoup can become a viable and profitable business, without losing its core values and mission.
“I have committed to letting things unfold organically for two years and not polluting the app with advertising. Now, I am lucky enough that I can afford to do that, but my marketing plan includes making money this year. So, I will start by generating revenue through my blog to continue to keep the app as clean as possible,” she explained.
“I know people expect to see pop-ups and advertising on an app, but I am interested in getting people to really love going to the Mamasoup app and finding it to be a beautiful experience, because it is very pretty – the branding is amazing, the app is bug-free and the community can help moms feel less isolated while doing the hardest job on the planet.
For more information, visit www.mamasoup.ca.
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