Sponsored by Oregon Business

The rise of the mommy economy

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
0512_MothersOfInvention_03
Asha Dornfest works on Parent Hacks from home. The site receives about 100,000 visits a month.
// Photo by Eric Näslund

Of course, in a world where community and commerce are increasingly conflated, selflessness, coupled with self-expression, looks something like a career path. And like Simple Mom’s Oxenreider, Dornfest’s modest aspirations eventually turned into something grand. Seven years after launching Parent Hacks, Dornfest not only earns about $30,000 annually, she has also parlayed the blog into a book deal — Minimalist Parenting: Enjoy Modern Family Life More by Doing Less, co-written by Christine Koh — and was recently tapped by the anti-poverty group ONE to be one of the organization’s ambassadors during an upcoming “ONEMoms” trip to Africa. “I have the opportunity to write this book because I started the blog, and now I have opportunities that are potentially global in their reach. The new digital cottage industry lets you do that.”

The proliferation of Internet technologies has made it easier for everyone, men, women and children, to start a business or make their voices heard. But social media and mobile technologies are also uniquely suited to the millennial mother, mom watchers say. After college students, mothers are the second most viral community online. According to eMarketer, mothers are also more likely to visit blogs than the average online user.

To be sure, moms have always shared parenting tips. Today, the venue has simply shifted from the back fence to the web. But other forces are driving moms online. Compared to previous generations, today’s mothers face “extreme anxiety,” fueled by a surge in single mothers, environmental concerns and a proliferation of consumer choices, says Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist at San Francisco State University. In a world where anything goes, “moms are looking to other moms and brands for help” carving out the right path.

Tiffany Larson, a 34-year old Portland mom who blogs for Oxenreider’s Simple Living, is a case in point. In the mommy economy vernacular, she is a classic “mommy influencer,” a mom who uses blogs, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook to disseminate and share opinions about products, brands and business practices. After her son was born, says Larson, she started researching healthy foods and home products. “I would find information on the web that made me think there were safer products out there than the ones I was using, and I decided to share them with other people.”

A recent blog post focused on alternatives to canned packaging; Larson also purchases books and food products based on recommendations from readers. This past winter, she notes, Campbell Soup decided to phase out use of BPA liners, a change in strategy that was driven by a grassroots social media campaign from moms. “There is a misconception about mommy blogs as fluffy material,” Larson says. “But that gets me excited — that moms have some power.”

In a country where mothers control about 80% of household spending, that power is not lost on companies targeting the mom demographic. “The most critical thing we’ve learned in our research is that you cannot underestimate the power of her-to-her product recommendations,” says Elisa Page, co-founder of BlogHer, a community and media company. Women form “circles of trust” online and trust those circles more than other sources, Page says. “We’re not listening to E.F. Hutton any more. We’re listening to each other.”

 



 

More Articles

Cache and Curry

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.


Read more...

Help Wanted: Poached Jobs aids restaurateurs

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

“We thought there was room for something new.”


Read more...

Umbrella Revolution

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015

Yeah, we know: Oregonians are way too cool for umbrellas. But today’s stylish, high-tech models will soften the resistance of the most rain hardened.


Read more...

5 questions for inDinero CEO Jessica Mah

The Latest
Tuesday, March 31, 2015
jessicathumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

inDinero, a business that manages back-office accounting for startups and smaller companies, recently announced it would relocate its headquarters from San Francisco to Portland. We talked to CEO Jessica Mah about what drew her to Portland and how she plans to disrupt the traditional CPA model.


Read more...

Oregon Business expands events portfolio

The Latest
Friday, March 27, 2015
htctfacebookBY OB STAFF

New events series brings magazine to life.


Read more...

Green Rush: Cashing in on legal marijuana

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Marijuana is big business in Oregon, and it’s about to get bigger.


Read more...

Announcing the date of the 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon event

News
Friday, March 20, 2015
OBM-100-best-Green-logo-2015-250pxwBY OB STAFF

Join us to celebrate and network with Oregon’s best green workplaces!


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS