CELEBRATING WOMEN RUN BUSINESSES - MUSH MUMS
Mark is one of the members of our customer service team. He has an encyclopaedic mind for detail, loves helping people choose their scooters and is the self-nominated first tester of any new electric scooters we release.
In our round up of the best businesses run by women we are delighted to bring you the story of the utterly brilliant Mush Mums. Founded by Katie Massie-Taylor and Sarah Hesz Mush Mums is the #1 local network for making mum friends.
Here’s the story of how they started….
A drizzly playground, a baby in a sling and an energetic toddler wanting to clamber on everything in sight; it’s a scene that every mum will recognise. In 2014, trips to a local park in southwest London were part of Katie Massie-Taylor’s routine – and not one she particularly relished. Having recently returned from living in New York and having her second baby, she was feeling lonely, exhausted and a little bit lost.
But everything was about to change. Sarah Hesz, another mum with a toddler and a two-week-old strapped to her chest, struck up a conversation and asked Katie for her number. Sarah’s bold move – completely out of character, she insists – turns out to have been a life-changer for Katie and Sarah, who not only found a new best friend that day but, unbeknownst to the them, the genesis of a what would become a hugely successful business.
Katie and Sarah became fast friends, hanging out with the children every day. They realised they lived three streets apart and shared several mutual friends. It was a match made in maternity leave heaven.
Months later, the pair were having lunch and bemoaning the fact that the tech industry, so adept at hooking people up with everything from partners to pizzas, had completely overlooked new mums. To Katie and Sarah, feeling incredibly lucky to have found each other, the need to get mums together was glaringly obvious.
“That first morning that we met, I’d been pretty weepy,” says Katie. “I’d recently moved back from New York and I didn’t have any friends nearby with kids. Meeting Sarah kept me sane and it seemed crazy that there was no easy way for local mums to find each other.”
So obvious was the lack of a mum-matching app that it became an irresistible challenge. Despite having no experience in the tech industry – Katie had worked at a derivatives broker while Sarah was in marketing – the pair made a decision to go into business together. The idea was simple: the app would enable mums to find other mums in their area with similar interests and children the same age.
They settled on the name Mush. “Apart from the mushy brain and mushy food associated with babies, it also stands for Mums’ Social Hub,” says Katie. “Although not many people know that!”
They threw themselves into fundraising, recruited a tech team and put together a stable of writers to create funny, informative Mush guides that would share tips on everything from reflux to how to help a friend with PND. Learning as they went along, Katie and Sarah decided to start in one region and see how things went.
“We decided to launch in London, where we both live,” explains Sarah. “It made sense to focus on one place, then expand.”
That’s not quite how things played out. While the app was geared towards a London audience, Sarah and Katie’s instinct that there was a huge need for an app like Mush had been spot on. Within weeks of its soft launch, the Mush app had been downloaded right across the UK, the USA and Australia. Their developers raced to keep up with demand, fixing bugs and building updates. Business plans were accelerated. Mush had gone global.
“It was hectic, exciting and slightly terrifying,” remembers Katie. “We’d hoped and planned to expand but that was a way off yet. The response from mums was incredible and we knew in a very short space of time that we’d hit a nerve, created something that was really useful.”
In the two years since it launched, Mush has hundreds of thousands of users and has become the number one app for mums in the UK and Australia. Katie and Sarah have worked with the Duchess of Cambridge and the Heads Together charity to raise awareness of loneliness amongst young mothers and published a book, The Mumsition, a ‘friendly companion to the first year of motherhood’ with Mush’s editor, Isabel Mohan. The app has grown up fast too, recently receiving a shiny new look.
Says Sarah (who in addition to all this, recently had her third baby), “We haven’t really had time to stand back and take it all in yet. But if we’ve learned anything from our own experience and all the brilliant women we’ve met along the way, it’s that having a baby doesn’t have to be lonely and isolating.
“What’s more, just because you’ve had a baby, it doesn’t mean you have to put a pin in your ambitions. If you think how much you learn when you have a baby, how you do things that you really never believed you could do like surviving on three hours sleep, it goes to show that we’re all capable of so much. If you’ve got an idea, a dream or a passion, go for it! What have you got to lose?”
“And,” laughs Katie, “if a strange mum in a playground asks if you want to be friends, say yes!”
You can download Mush free from the App Stores.