This is Sophie Baron for Female Startup Club.
Hello and welcome back to the show! It’s Doone here - your host and hype girl. If you’re new to the show - every week we interview some of the world’s most successful founders and entrepreneurs - who happen to be women.
Like Sophie Baron, the founder of Mamamade. But this episode’s a little different - because it’s actually our follow up episode! Sophie was first on Female Startup Club back in 2020 to share her launch story with us and I highly recommend going back to check out that episode and hear the early stages of her story. In today’s episode we’re talking through how she’s built the business since then as well as a deep dive into equity crowdfunding: what it means, how it can help you and the pros and cons. Sophie shares the difference between her first equity crowdfunding campaign that was a mega success, and the second which wasn’t.
And while I’ve got you here; if you’re a founder of you’re just getting started on putting together your ideas to launch a business; something I’ve come across that’s a problem for every founder at every stage is capital. Every entrepreneur or future founder I speak to - myself included - struggles with the money piece. We all need more money. So we’ve put together a comprehensive list of grants and accelerators that are live right now - and we’ll be keeping it updated weekly. To access the doc for free go to femalestartupclub.com/grants to get your copy.
Let’s get into today’s episode, this is Sophie for Female Startup Club.
Please note, this transcript has been copy pasted without the lovely touch of a human editor. Please expect some typos!
So I'm very excited. Honestly, I feel like we were both maybe getting started like around the same time. So it's just nice also to check back in with you and to see, yeah, everything's happened. The Female Startup Club since we last spoke. Um, yeah, the feeling is very mutual. That's so true because when we spoke, I think it was around October 2020, which for me, I was kind of maybe six months ish into taking the podcast seriously. But I was still very new and very basic with my skills and you had launched in 2019 I think from memory. So you were kind of just a year and a bit into the business. Yeah, exactly. And now actually I sort of consider that period is like the beta and then the kind of like relaunch being around, I guess around the time that we would have spoken. So yeah, yeah. It's just funny how like everything feels like a bit transformed since we last spoke. Yeah, I love that for us.
I'm so excited. I actually think I was looking at your timeline and you launched the rebrand around Christmas 2020. So I feel like we have a lot to discuss since 2020, so I don't want to dive too much into the early stages of that first year in business, especially because we have that already recorded. Everyone can go back and listen to Sophie's part one. But I'd love to kind of set the scene for Christmas 2020 with the rebrand up until today if we're kind of talking about the highs and the lows that get you to where you are now and kind of that, you know, painting the picture for what the business is today. Oh my Gosh, 2020 was wild. I actually, I don't know if I gave birth the same exact time that we relaunched the brand and the website. So like, it was literally all excited. Oh my God, I remember now you were fully pregnant when we were talking. I was fully pregnant. I thought I'd have a baby before the relaunch. But yeah, he had other ideas. He was a full two weeks late.
It coincided with like a website migration, there's literally pictures of like my husband on his computer in the hospital, like trying doing like copy paste on this like spreadsheet, trying to get the migration done. So yeah, it was crazy. But we, we basically came up with a whole new look and feel for the brand, a brand new website around christmas 2020 and that was kind of the launch of Mamamade as you see it now um before we were Yeah, I love it too. It was a lot more sort of, it almost looks like a beauty brown before, like it was very um like black and white, more tax focus we made, we made it a lot more playful, a lot more approachable. Um tried to inject some more warmth to it, um made it fun and you do a really great job at like the tone. Like even like I was looking at one of your boxes that says like we made it and then Mama made and then things like there was something on your website. Oh damn, I forget what it was, but it was something, something, something baby. And I was like, yeah, like I love that, like, kind of kind of cheeky but not too cheeky, just like the right amount of fun and joy and cheek Yeah, I guess I just felt like so much of baby and parenting brands was just twee or like a bit weird or just kind of ignored the fact that you're still an adult.
So yeah, I definitely wanted to keep that level of like, sophistication but also just fun to the brand. Like, it's not that serious, It's just baby. So yeah, not bad that comes across because that like that sort of stuff when it comes to brand is just so important to me. Um and I know it is in a way, sort of what is setting us apart more than anything else. So yeah, I feel very sort of protective over those elements. Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so you're in hospital, you're doing the website migration, there's a brand relaunch, How does it go? It was wild. I mean, it's still wild. I still feel like I'm haven't quite come down from that, like, it's just felt very whirlwind since we launched the brand again, I think like, yeah, just all everything we wanted for the brand, it feels like has come across in the sense of how it's been resonating with people and how excited people get around the packaging and the website and what we stand for and um that's why I do sort of say that we, that was the launch and then anything before that was kind of beta, because it's just been incredible to see how much that's impacted our growth as a, as a brand and I think at the time we had maybe an audience of like, I don't know, 10,000, 20,000 people and now it's sort of 45 times that number, not more even so I can't do math 80,000, I don't know if that is so yeah, it's just been, it's been kind of crazy just to see um on that level how much it's grown um and just how much people, like people are resonating with it and when we get the feedback about how much we're helping people and supporting people and like, oh you know, I used with my first and now I'm using with my second and just um it's been incredible to see that over two years, that kind of how we're still helping families.
So yeah, I mean honestly it's been such a fun journey looking back, you know what's interesting as well is I find and I'm guilty of this too. Well I have been guilty of this in the past when you're starting a new brand, you are like, you know what, I'm going to invest in the branding, I'm gonna spend all this money up front, I'm, it has to be perfect, you know, I have to have it all all the things but actually doing round one being like okay, it is what it is like it's amazing, it's fine, it's, you're happy with it, but knowing that you have maybe a year or two or three is in that rebrand moment coming, where you can iterate figure out what you like, figure out what resonates with customers and then you go through this big moment, which actually causes buzz, it causes a buzz for you online, which wouldn't necessarily happen if you're doing that from day one, you're able to get your customers and your community rally behind you, get excited and then kind of like, you know, everyone's growing together, which I think is actually a really special thing versus trying to get it perfect from day one, I think you wouldn't have had the same kind of impact with the brand, had you have come out with that from the get go, 100% and I think you're not ever really done, I mean, at least in a startup, like we're still iterating on the brand or we've still had moments where I look at what we put out and I'm like, that is not good, you know, I did not like the way that, that the brand was interpreted there, and part of that you realize like, oh, actually, our brand guidelines are brand tone of voice wasn't tight enough or as tight as it could have been.
So you do a bit more work there were coming now again with new packaging and new boxes, because we've reached a kind of new level of, of needing to reach more people and actually the brand needs to work that much harder for us. So yeah, I don't think you're ever really done at any part of building a business, but particularly with brand, I think if you can see it exactly as that, as that kind of like, conversation between your audience and your community and the product and just constantly it's okay to kind of constantly tweak because what is it they say? It's like brand is like why you would go on a second date or something? It's like you, you just need it to, it's that personality that is adapting as the brand is growing. Oh, I love that. Very cool. So after you launched the brand, the rebrand and the new kind of look and feel, what were you doing then to keep growing? Like what was the reason for, you know, getting from 20,000 to 80,000 customers I think having that solid brand and that new kind of starting point for the for what the brand was able to talk about and do um we focused a lot on content, so we were still very much instagram focused business, but yeah, putting out relatable content, shareable content, helpful content um still focused on, I think this was when instagram was still kind to static posts just doing out a lot of like infographics, working with influencers a lot, just trying to get more eyeballs on the brand really, and that's still are are real like goal every day.
So just get more people seeing us. But yeah, making use of kind of the organic channels and organic word of mouth share ability, morality to get seen. I also read that for you one of your kind of big driving factors and and a big kind of avenue for success for you was your email marketing campaigns and the flows that you set up and things like that. So I'm wondering if you could tell us a little bit about what changed, like what you were doing before, what you started doing that made that immediate difference and shifted the needle. So email something that we started to really double down on, I would say about a year ago, like january 2021 I definitely had a moment. I'm not sure if it was like there was an instagram outage or just something that was like, actually we're not really owning that much of this community because it's sitting on a different platform. And I think a lot of brands have that moment of like what was happening, you know, what, what do I actually own? That's mine and your email list is yours. Um, and that data is yours, the people that have given up their email addresses to hear from you.
So just feeling like, wow, we could be doing so much more. So we went from just doing like general blanket emails, not, you know, I definitely had thoughts around like what content I wanted to put out there, how we wanted To help people over email to actually having a much firmer strategy around sending the right emails, the right people based on purchasing behaviors based on if they've opened emails are not getting really granular and the results were just incredible. We basically doubled our email list in about a year are open rate is still, um, it's come down a tiny bit, there's about 50% open rate, which is like unheard of and really high click through rate. So it's just getting, and we had an amazing, I mean we still have an amazing marketing manager who's just an email with, who set it up. So I'm not gonna pretend I had anything to do with it. So definitely get the right, get the right people in. But um, yeah, I think just being able to say actually like this is data that we own. Like these are people that want to be hearing from us. They don't just happen upon our content. They are reading our content emails just, yeah, just seeing how powerful email is, especially if you're running a digital brand, like at least a third of your income should be coming from email revenue.
That's a good metric to know I didn't know that. So yeah, I think it's between like 20-30% of your revenue should be coming from your email and where should the rest be split across? If that was like a piece of the pie? I think it's about 5-10% should be referral. So that and my mouth can be tested. Um, we definitely do about probably another third is paid. That split between ads and google search and then we do actually quite a bit from direct. So that's probably just general brand building that leads people to come to you directly or research your brand name. Um, but I will definitely double check those metrics. I know emails about a third. There we go. Thanks. And so for you with your emails, like if you were to look at last week, what did you put out that really well for you? Is it like storytelling or or is it just, you know, new recipes or what's the kind of content strategy for that beefy newsletter vibe? Yeah. So we have a lot happening at once. Um, so we have our welcome flow, which is like anyone who's purchased, Anyone who signed up to the email list gets put into this flow based on like if they've purchased or not purchased or if they purchased within a certain period of time.
So there's this kind of like logical flow of emails that they might be getting that are just evergreen content that we've put in. So encouraging purchasing behavior or repurchasing behavior or moving to subscription based on how they've done it. And then we send out a weekly newsletter on a thursday night to people who have Opened an email. So there um, it's called the green list. They have engaged with any email from us in the last 30 days. They will get our weekly newsletter and then we will also send out occasional. So those, those, sorry, those weekly newsletters are very much sort of content heavy. So there the goal of those is to get people clicking and get people clicking through to our site. So we'll link through to blog posts. Will link through to instagram posts that we've maybe talked about in blogs, um, link through to products. Um, but yeah, the goal is to have a nice kind of chunky amount of content. But really we're trying to get people back to site and then we have the occasional commercial email that goes out weekly, but that will go to people who haven't purchased in a while or maybe haven't engaged with an email in a while trying to again bring them back into that green list or back to type.
Yeah, very much trying to add value with the content, but also not losing sight of what your email objective is, which is to get people back to your website and buying ultimately. So we do send out like what we call the three a.m. Edit, which is like a three a.m. Newsletter. That's a bit more like things we like to read things we like a bit more lifestyle content, but there's still always a drive to click through to site. Right? Got it. Oh my gosh, that's amazing. And do you use like clay vo or what's the platform that you use? Clay vo is? I mean we're like the poster Children for Clay vo we are extremely powerful. Love clay vo. me too. Yeah, just big fans. So I want to talk a little bit more, well not talk a little bit more. I want to start talking about the equity crowdfunding. Actually, wait my question before that is, did you raise in the time period since October 2022 now or had you raised before?
We had raised a small amount in August 2020, mostly from friends and family. Um, some know like some active angels. Um, I raised from my old bosses, but generally like just a very small amount About £250,000, like a nice size round, don't get me wrong. But yeah, not like a massive amount of money by some standards. And that really helped us refine the brand, refine the product, put up that new website, make some key hires and then we raised again in November 2021. Yeah, almost over a year later we raised again and We raised mostly track about 1, 1.2 million that round. Um, we raised quite a bit more um, and that was about 400,000 from Angel investors. And then the rest of that we raised on Cedars.com, which is an equity crowdfunding platform.
Right, okay, so it was kind of like a combined raise. Did it all go through the platform or did like the 400,000 kind of like into your bank account over here and see this into your bank account from over here. Yeah, so basically we raised the 400 as like a bridge. So we had raised it as what is called in the UK and advanced subscription agreement in the states, it's called a safe note. It's basically convertible. So we raised it a couple of months before November, but then it converted um in november and then the rest of the money we raised via cedar. So some people did come directly to us, but it was considered to be part of the cedars campaign. Does that make sense? Because everyone came in under the same terms. And so I feel like from memory you had a successful equity crowdfunding campaign and you had a not so successful equity crowdfunding campaign, Which one is this? This one was this very, very successful one november, 2021 was incredible. It was, yes, just such an amazing experience, raising money from our community, building up our brand, people getting to know us.
It was like a balls to the wall marketing campaign for like six weeks and yeah, it was, it was great, okay, I wanna settle in on this area then to get started and then we can move to what happened next. But first question is like, why did you decide to do an equity crowdfunding campaign? Who told you to do that? What made you excited about doing that and who should be doing that? To paint the picture? Great question. So I think when it comes to raising money in general, it's really important to understand why you're raising money and then how much you actually need to raise and then after that, who you want to be raising from. So I knew quite early on that I didn't necessarily have the appetite for a VC funded business. Um, it's a very particular model. VCS need to be, You know, they need to have a business that's going to exit for like 500 million just to cover the costs of their other they're other things and it's a very high, high pressure, high growth business and I knew that for what we're doing, we can achieve a very nice exit without necessarily needing that.
So I was a bit averse to VC um, and on the other side being a consumer product and having a community, it felt like a really nice way to get people to know the brand to bring our customers in on the journey as well and to also use it as a marketing campaign to get people to know about the brand. So I think because we had that product piece as well. Yeah, there were, there was, it just felt like a nice way to kind of get the brand out there um, while also basically allowing our die hard fans to come in on the journey with us and is it similar to like a Kickstarter campaign where you're kind of like, okay, I know that, let's say just for like an easy number, like I know that the goal is 100 let's make it smaller. I know that the goal is $10,000 and then anything above that is kind of like amazing. And then you're able to kind of re put the marketing out, that you funded the goal etcetera etcetera. Are you like going and finding investors who, you know, will reach that goal? And is it similar like that in terms of that Kickstarter kind of vibe?
Yeah, Yeah, definitely. It's a lot of yeah, you need to drum up that excitement about it. And so we knew we wanted to go into over funding relatively quickly, which meant that we came to the campaign. So before the campaign had even launched, we had already raised probably about two thirds if not more of the target offline. So we had been working, I guess if we launched in november it was probably all of september all of october getting commitments in so that when we press go on the campaign, we had already had money basically put in, which meant We reached our goal, I think that campaign, we reached a goal within 24 hours. Um and then we continued into over funding for like 30 days and that's where kind of like things, you really kind of see what the power of it can be, but you kind of need that it's not like starting from zero. You start from, you've already worked really hard behind the scenes. So when you're talking about getting those commitments, is that like you emailing me or your best friends or like people in your family and being like cool, like $1000 here or there or is that you being like, okay, I'm an angel investor meetups and I'm getting $10,000 checks here and there.
What does that actually mean to get those commitments? So it was a lot more focused on the bigger ticket. So I was looking for, I basically was going out I think with a minimum of £25,000 investment for direct investors. So people who are coming to us directly and it was, yeah, you're basically running a sales cycle. So you're going to either people that you've asked for an intro to are going cold on linkedin and you're explaining a bit about the opportunity, you're creating a bit of you know, scarcity time pressure. Like I I just I was like kind of playing a bit with like what the allocation was left. I was like, oh, we've only got like 100 K left because the rest is procedures. I was always a bit vague about that, I guess to be honest, because internally I was also a bit vague about it, but definitely going after the higher tickets and setting that minimum investment because anything less than that, they could just go to the platform with once the campaign launched. Although anything that we raised before the campaign launched was basically cedars was going to charge a fee on anything that came in during the crowd fund.
So we were able to we had to send a list of people who came in before the crowd fund launched, that wasn't charged any fees on either. Which is like another kind of incentive to try to raise quite a bit offline. Okay, so if your goal was like 100,000 and you've raised that offline before the campaign goes live, they'll put that on your kind of marker on the list of cedars, but you actually aren't paying the fees and that's kind of like going directly into. Ah that's interesting. I didn't know that. Is that like across the board like that? Or is that just how it works with cedars? I know that's how it works with cedars. I don't know about other platforms. But then anything we brought in direct while the campaign was on, we we paid fees on. Yeah, 100%. And so how do you figure out like how much equity of the business you should put up onto cedars? And like, what was the goal for you? Um So when it comes to valuations, which is ultimately what you're figuring out because if you have an amount, you know, you need in terms of money, you can kind of figure out what's the percentage of the business that you're happy to give away and then that kind of gives you the valuation of the business.
And One way to calculate it, which is the way we did, it is based on a multiple of revenue, which isn't really actually the way in 2023 is not the way we're calculating valuations, but in 2021 was the way that we were calculating valuations was a multiple of revenue. And I think we did like maybe a 66 times revenue, seven times revenue, something like that. Um and that gave us evaluation and then we knew Kind of the maximum maximum amount that we were gonna raise based on the max amount of equity that we were basically willing to give away at this stage knowing that we would want to be raising money again in a year's time. So wanting to kind of protect ourselves from giving away too much too early and I think in that round we ended up giving away about 20% of the business and so okay, cool noted, thank you. Got it. And so in the lead up besides the time investment, which is obviously for you, you mentioned it was about six weeks where you're just, I'm sure like you've got the spreadsheet, the list of people and you're just out there trolling every day pounding the pavement online.
What is the investment in terms of the setup of a campaign? You know, are you creating a video asset or what else goes into getting ready for the campaign to launch? Yes, So we invested a lot into this campaign and it did pay off. So, you know, I'm going to say big numbers, but I really do feel like it was worth that investment stage in 20 21, a much different climate than 20, But yeah, I think we paid like six grand for a video. I think we added on maybe a bit of like a marketing package with the platform to have banners or an email and We did a bit of um supporting the campaign through paid. So all in, I would say we're probably in for like between eight and £9,000 that kind of includes as well, like getting a deck made up nicely. I mean these are all things that I don't know if I would invest in again, but I know that we did and it paid off definitely the video getting the right kind of storytelling right? Getting because that's something that is if people don't know your brand and they don't know you, it's just a great way to communicate who you are and what you're doing and what your products are and if it's done really nicely, um, it's obviously like a great commercial for the brand.
So yeah, we definitely invested quite a bit of money into that asset and are you working closely with cedars on what the video should be or is this like you just freestyling and working with a production agency or something to create a video that you think would perform. So I looked a lot at other campaigns that I thought were successful either because they had raised a lot of money or because it seemed like they were jumping up a lot of excitement and looked at their videos and then went to production houses and and found the right agency to do it for us. Cedars doesn't advise other platforms, don't necessarily advise on the creative part of it. But something to know that I wish I had known is that there's quite a hefty like due diligence process, so you can't just say anything. Um so your script has to be approved before you film it and you have to back up like every claim that you make with loads and lots of evidence, so it's definitely like, important to give yourself enough time to do that.
So, we actually filmed, I mean, I suppose if you were in a big rush you could do it a lot quicker. But we filmed the video in about june or july for the campaign that was launching in november. Okay, it was really far out. Yeah, and that's the same with like, all the campaign, all the elements on the page we had ready quite early on because of that due diligence process, where they're like literally going through every word and making sure you can back it up. Got it. Okay, so You've got the secured funds, kind of like in the lead up to launch, you've got everything like all ready to go. Launch happens. You said you got funded within the 24 hours. Amazing. What happens then? What is the next 30 days look like? What are you actually doing on a daily basis, like for you and your team? Um, I actually have and I'm happy to share this. I've got a whole project plan for the campaign. It was, yeah, I'm offering it on because I got it from another brand. I feel like I just need to like pass it on. It's like a whole gant chart for this.
Oh my gosh, let's definitely get that inside of magic. Yeah, exactly. It was like a daily posting, daily posting schedule. So that was across my personal linkedin, the business linkedin. Um, and at the time we were on instagram, I don't think we had Tiktok then making sure that there was like enough kind of Q and A is enough emails that the community understood what it was to crowdfund what we were asking of them or inviting them to do. Um, there was a daily posting schedule and email schedule. So we weren't sending daily emails at all, but just a regular kind of communication. Then there was also a announcement schedule. So on the actual campaign page you can Post announcements to drum up excitement to making sure we always had like, news to share. And then, yeah, still trying to raise money from direct investors. So still trying to get those like minimum 25K tickets in just to keep, because when you bring those indirectly, you could also add it to the ticker. So just trying to get that to go up Right, okay, cool.
Oh wow, that's amazing. Did you focus on pr at all during that time? No, we got the advice, which I, I agree with is that it's not necessarily like interesting to news outlets to report on a brand that is crowdfunding, but what we did was we used the crowdfund, like that success and then pr that, but not during the campaign, we did, what did we do? We did try to get like, people who had invested to post about it. So, again, that was kind of on that, on that weekly or daily um, posting schedule was to get people with some influence on Lincoln, Lincoln was the main traction channel for that. Just getting people to be like, I was so excited, I invested in Mama Made or love supporting female founders. I invested in Mama Made and this is why, yeah, just trying to drum up a bit of like, excitement and buzz around the campaign um, from other people as well. The next question I'm gonna ask you is like, when you looked back, what are the things that you wasted time on that?
You were like, you know what, that didn't really yield a result. And I'm asking because when I launched the book last year, I also had a spreadsheet that was, you know, here's everything I'm doing across every channel well, but when I did kind of like a post analysis, there were things that I wasted money on time on that definitely didn't give any results and I could really easily see what the things were that drove results. Was there anything that you wasted time or money on? That's a good question. So looking at back and I'm still talking about the 2021 campaign, like Lincoln was just so powerful that we probably didn't need as much content as we made for platforms like Instagram or email, but saying that I still did feel like we had an obligation to educate around what we were doing and what, because it's much different from a Kickstarter. Whereas like, you know, in a Kickstarter, your pre buying a product that you'll then get. Whereas with a crowdfunding campaign, you're buying equity, which isn't necessarily a clear transaction to a lot of like your run of the mill customers.
So it's like explaining kind of what that was. I did feel like we needed to do a lot around that to definitely see that the linkedin activity was would push the needle, like there was, we couldn't post too much about it on linkedin was kind of my conclusion at the end of the day, right. Does cedars handle all of the legal side of things when someone invests kind of like the actual paperwork and ownership and things like that. Is that all handled through them? Or did you still need your own legal counsel? So we still needed our own legal counsel too, because we were doing a general share, remember shareholders agreement for everyone because we've already raised a round of investment. And anyway, it's a good idea to, I think, to have a lawyer who's on your side of things. But yeah, it's definitely the beauty of it is that they then represent anybody who's come into the round and because they have such a high kind of bar for due diligence and, and quality, you can really get that trust that you're getting kind of the best possible protection or deal as much as you can with a startup, which is inherently risky.
So, yeah, they handle all of that. So even if you invest like 10 lbs in a campaign, you can you don't have to worry about the shareholders agreement. You trust that cedars has kind of taken that on for you. Got it. Gosh, it's so interesting. I I haven't spoken to anyone who's gone through this before, so thank you so much for being so transparent. I want to is there anything else you want to add on the successful campaign before we switch to whatever happened? Maybe it was still successful, but not to the same level or but the new campaign that we're gonna talk about? So I guess even with the very successful campaign that we ran, something that I wish I had known is that it can take a long time to actually see the money into your account. So because again, of that due diligence on both sides, it just took a long time. I don't think we actually got the money into our account until like february, so just being really sure that like up against It three months long time and I've heard, I've heard longer actually, I know someone who, I think she closed her campaign in March and she got it in august, so it can just take time.
So just being aware of that. And I think also just knowing how I think we brought probably two thirds of the money to the campaign. So from that was from our like linkedin and our marketing activity. So it's definitely not a case of like, I'm struggling to raise money, I'll just put a campaign up because that crowd is one that you have to nurture on your own as well. So it's really handy for like getting all your people into one place. Um and they've got they have got a great audience don't get me wrong, we obviously raised from their from their audience as well? But yeah, it's definitely it's a high effort, high energy activity. Did you actually, before you Even decided to 100% launched that campaign, did you have signals from friends or families or angel investors that they would invest before you actually started committing to the actual commitment here? Kind of like a casual conversations with people being like, is this something that you would do? Like if we pursue this pathway, did you have any signal? Because two thirds of it is a lot.
00:34:43Edit So we did, we did have people be like, oh, you should totally do a crowdfund or like, we'd have emails into our customer service inbox being like, are you guys raising money? I'd love to invest. So we definitely did have some of that. And just seeing the success of other food, food companies, other vegan companies on the platform at the time? It felt like a really exciting Way to kind of energize our base and the fact that you could invest for, I think our campaign, it was like as little as £15, which is even less than our, you know, our starting product price. It was like, yeah, let's just, let's do this. Amazing. Okay, let's switch to the next campaign, which I think was last year in the end of the year as well. Yeah, exactly, yeah. Okay, so you're going around to do the next fundraise. You still want to crowd fund with an equity crowdfunding campaign? What happens? So this was a slightly different case of cedars. So when you close a campaign, that crowdfunding platform is then the investor in your business. So cedars is an investor in Mama made, um, and we were going out for a very small round a bridge, basically, and our shareholders agreement had something called the preemption notice, and that's very common in the UK, which basically gives your existing investors like kind of the right of first refusal for any next fundraising round. So we had to tell them you're raising money and they had the right to say yes or no, and they said they wanted to participate and we kind of weren't going to do a full campaign and they were like, okay, we will do a full campaign, so it's a little bit less organized in terms of the decision of whether or not to do one, I think we decided in september to run the campaign, and we launched it again in november. So it was very, very last minute compared to the one from the year before. Okay, and so what was the goal? How much were you trying to raise versus what you actually did raise? We weren't looking to raise very much, I think our target was to 50 which we raised also within, I think this time, it was like within eight hours or something, it was really quick, I think we ended up closing. I don't remember even, it wasn't very much though, it was like, not that much more than that, and I think that was a bit just bad timing. Um if you think back to november december just a few months ago, 2022 was not, you know, not the same market that we were looking at a year ago, so it's just a bit less money out there. We as a brand just, it wasn't part of our sort of initial idea for a marketing campaign. We weren't necessarily as prepared. Um we didn't run it as well as the last one. We didn't invest in a video in the same way we didn't invest in our deck and like, we just, we more or less did what I would always advise not to do. We just put a campaign up and hope for the best. Um so that was basically how we ran the last one and yeah, we had pretty mediocre. I mean, we were happy with it. We went into over funding, but it wasn't like the stunning result that we've had a year ago. Right? And so is that just the reason for your, like, the sense that I get from you is like, like it was fine. Like not so successful, but obviously it still is successful because you raised and you over funded, Is it more just ideally you would have raised more or is it more just maybe we shouldn't have raised or like what's the vibe, I can't tell, I haven't actually spoken about this yet. I haven't really gone public with this, I'll go public with it on the podcast, but we ended up actually canceling the campaigns. We ended up returning all of the money that we raised back to investors because yes, because during that time that we were running the campaign, like many businesses, we completely rethought our company's strategy and like basically every other business, we're looking to reduce our cost base. We kind of adjusted growth plans and what we realized at the end of it when talking to seizures was like, oh my gosh, we raised on a completely different plan. Um so our deck, our video was all based on one growth plan. And then because of all the cuts we made over the course of november, october november december. Looking towards this year of like what everyone's saying sort of hunker down and save your money. We realized actually, you know what the best thing to do is just to return the money because we just raised on a completely different concept. So we returned that money just just recently actually a couple weeks ago. So yeah, that's why I'm like, we did raise, we did have a successful campaign but it just didn't end up with the money in our bank account. Okay, got it. And so that means basically what you were saying before about that due diligence phase. It's like you had gone out and been like, this is the valuation, This is where we're gonna get to, but then everything changed in that time period, you changed your growth plans and then you're like okay it's not gonna be the same valuation essentially. But I guess in some ways you would have reaped the benefit of the buzz from going through the campaign. Yeah like I still say we we did we did raise a successful campaign. It was like and the funny thing is I think actually this campaign we raised from more people I want to say or the same number of people just with a lot like lower tickets. So we raised from more of our customer base and are more of our community were like I want to get involved but I can only put in £10 and that was like an amazing feeling um To see the number of customers that were you know wanting to get involved and especially now you know in the U. K. Like cost of living is like gone crazy and I think especially november december around christmas people were Anxious about things like energy bills and what what was looming for 2023. So it wasn't like a great climate here. Um so the fact that people were happy to open up their wallets for us, it was an incredible feeling but I also feel really good knowing that we did the right thing to return the money. Yeah absolutely wow what a learning that's a lot of effort that you put in there, like, wow, that's probably still something you're working through. Would you do it again in equity crowdfund campaign, knowing that you have this signal of so many people who, from your community wanted to invest. I don't think I personally have the energy to do one again, like, it really does take it all out of you, but I would do it again a million times and I don't regret doing it. The only thing I regret about last, you know, this last one that we did was that we didn't actually run it properly. Like, if I think if we had actually invested that bit more in our video and actually, like, done a deck nicely and, and really thought it through, we could have, you know, triple the amount we raised, ultimately, we would have had to return Tripoli what we raise. But, you know, I still think that, that you really do get back what you put into an equity crowdfunding campaign, and it's an incredible, incredible way to get your brand out there, um, to build that engagement with your community, to, to involve them on that journey? It's just like, a great feeling to really identify, like, well, actually, like, I talk about community the whole time wondering, am I right, am I not right? And then seeing that actually there is this community here that wants this product, Oh my gosh, that is so cool, What a profound feeling, I love that, love that for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to share, you know, so much of the ins and outs. I feel like I've learned a lot, especially about this and it's something that, you know, as female startup club continues to grow. I'm like, you know, what else could I do? I'm not really interested in the VC path, that's not necessarily for me, but I'm also like, you know, how do we grow? What is that next phase and hearing stories like this? I'm like, wow, that's really cool to involve your community and have that, you know, having the people who are actually the reason why your company exists, being involved in the ownership of that company. I just think that's so special. So, thank you so much for sharing that. My final question on the kind of crowd funding side of equity crowdfunding side of things is what's your final piece of advice for anyone who wants to go through with an equity crowdfunding campaign or your top piece of advice. My top piece of advice would be that it is, it's a really full effort, 360 marketing campaign. So it should be run that way. It really benefits from having that kind of sophistication brought to it, that really, you know, solid project plan. Um, the right assets investing in it definitely pays off. I've done it both ways as you can, as you've heard, so definitely through the way where you put that bit more effort into it. It does pay off.
So question number one is, what's your why? Why do you wake up every day and work on mama, may I do this because I know that parents deserve better um and we deserve better products and our kids deserve better. And so being able to connect with other parents with similar age Children who are getting that support that they need for mama made, who can't live without us, you know, who are buying extra freezers just to be able to hold more products. Um it's it's an incredible feeling and is the main reason why you have to keep going. I love that Question. Number two is in your journey building this business. What's been your favorite marketing moment so far? I actually would say again, and not just because of the theme of this episode, I would say that first um cedars campaign that we ran was just it was an incredible way to build validation and authority um in trust in the brand because we got our customers that we're really buying into what we were doing and then from a kind of like profile professional peers point of view, also kind of getting welcomed into this kind of startup ecosystem because it was very validating in that way. So yeah, I would definitely say that that first cedars campaign for sure, love that amazing question. Number three is at the moment, what's your go to business resource, like what are you reading in terms of newsletters or books or podcasts that keep you kind of up to date and you know, learning, I guess. I've actually recently stopped reading too much business stuff. I've actually been trying to tap into more of my creative side because that's ultimately what I love doing, that's like where I get my energy from. And I felt like I was getting very bogged down in the kind of like, running a business stuff or like, yeah, I just wasn't getting enough of like, creative side of my brain going. So I've been listening more to podcasts about like, creative writing and trying to incorporate more of that into my life to try to balance things out a little bit more. So I actually haven't been actually purposely avoiding this. I love that this one obviously, obviously I'm kidding. So for creative writing, like, do you have a recommendation? Sounds really interesting. I have been listening to there's this amazing woman, Penny Winter um she is Australian, Australian, but she's been living in the UK for years. Um and she has a podcast called, not called, not too busy to write, which is just people who have busy lives like me, like you who just make a point out of their day to sit and write. And for me it's been fascinating because I think I always think of like, okay, this is my job and this is all I'm doing and then I feel sort of like, oh, but I wanna, there's other things I want to be doing. And so yeah, it's just nice to hear how people balance their busy lives. I think in a, in a way that's not about like business work life balance, it's much more about feeding that creative part of your soul. Oh, I love that. I'm gonna check that out for sure. Thank you. Great recommendation question number four is how do you win the day? What are your am or PM rituals and habits that keep you feeling happy and motivated and self care, loved. I love that. I've been, I've put a lot of pressure on myself over the years to have that kind of like perfect routine. But when you have like two small kids, I feel like it's really hard to have everyday look the same. So instead I've been thinking more about like overall like weekly things that I want to do more of. And so for me that is yeah, making sure I have that time to do kind of more of that creative writing stuff that I feel like spills me up so like journaling or something like that. Making sure I make time to speak to the people. I love making sure I have time to just like be quiet by myself because I'm very much an introvert who needs that. And yeah, just kind of giving into the reality that every day is going to be a bit hectic. But if over the course of the week, I kind of take those boxes. It helps me keep a bit more stable. Mm Absolutely. I feel like I'm the same. I need a lot of like, quiet time of just like being by myself. I used to not be like that though. I changed during Covid, I realized I was a lot more introverted than I thought I was. I get like really overstimulated, which I never, ever experienced before. So I've actually started to go to these sensory deprivation pods, like sort of obsessed. It's like, yeah, yeah, I haven't done it before. Oh my God, it's you're literally just like in pure darkness. No distractions. No. Sounds um Yeah, I need, I need that. Like, I, I get so overwhelmed by like, my senses just get very overwhelmed. Yeah, I need to try that. I've looked into that before. That sounds so cool. Question # five, What is your worst money mistake in the business? And how much did it cost you? Gosh, Where to begin? I like, like look back at all the expenses that I wish I could get back. I regret paying influencers as much as we have paid influencers. Um is the truth. I think being mindful of why you want an influencer to be paid. So, if it's, for example, there's a specific kind of content you would like to have created. I think it's very worthwhile, but in my experience, it does not always translate into a return on your investment. And oftentimes if they love your product, they will just post it because they're happy to have it in their lives. So I know it's a fine balance because obviously I want to like support people whose careers it is to create content, but as a brand whose young, I do feel like we've wasted quite a bit of money on influencers though, we wouldn't be here without them. Most of the great influencer support we've gotten is from just genuine fans who I suspect would have kept posting for us anyway. So I don't know, a bit of a controversial take, but yeah, no, but I see it, I see it what's a like dollar figure of like an influencer you worked with ballpark that, you know, it just didn't drive any R o I like, are we talking like 1000 $13,000 campaign? No, No. So like we've done things like that, where I do feel like it's been great and we've gotten the content and they've gotten paid and we continue to work with them, but we've also paid influencers like £6,000 for real. That. But yeah, we have, we have some like, we basically see it as like, there's some influencers are content creators, we have them on retainer and are amazing for us um and it's a love love situation. Um and other influencers where it's been like, we've paid a bit more because they have bigger audiences and I just don't know, you need to have that connection, I think with one another for it to really work. I actually love that as an idea having the content creators who actually really do drive results and, and actually do really love the product and have a more organic vibe to promoting the content on a retainer where you just work with them on going like you find those kind of unicorn creators and then they're just like part of the business and part of your strategy. Yeah, exactly. It just works better because then you get that actual solid messaging and Yeah, 100% question number six. Last question, What is just a crazy story you can share in building this business good, bad or ugly on the topic of influencers. Actually, we had um, one influencer whose love, she's got like over a million followers she posted for us actually last january. So we had just raised money, but this was before the money actually made it into account. Um, so we were a bit sort of tight on funds, a bit stretched um, and she posted for us and we made so many sales in one night, which like you think would be amazing, but it was actually like one of the most stressful experiences I've ever had because we genuinely weren't sure if we'd be able to fulfill the orders. I was like, it was like, we, yeah, I'll never forget that moment where I was like, is this gonna be what puts us out of business, like we sold so much product that we can't actually sell like we can actually fulfill them and we'll have to cancel. It was just this like crazy moment um like how many orders, what are we talking as in like the month? I'll tell you like I can remember exactly. So I think in december that year we were doing like 45 K and monthly sales and then that january because of how many times this one influencer posted, we went up To like £70,000 in sales. So like it was like almost double overnight which like we we just weren't set up. We just didn't, it wasn't like in any version of any model, was that something that was gonna happen? Oh my God, it's like everyone's dream but it becomes so stressful. It actually like it exposed a lot of weaknesses in our in our supply chain and our production in a way it was a blessing because we've we've come back from that a lot stronger and we were able to kind of fix a lot based on that. But it was yeah it was and we actually had a new starter like that week and I feel like she came and it was just like everything was was madness and she's still with us so she obviously wasn't scared off. But yeah that was like one of these stories where you just don't think about it when you have a physical product, it costs you something to make it. So if you're not able to make it Yeah, and, and it's kind of a sense of like on paper that sounds amazing, you partner with an influencer, they blow your brand up overnight literally. But then the reality of the working capital needed to fund those orders is something you actually have to be. So you don't want just like crazy influences that work straight away from day one, you need to build that foundation and you need to build your supply chain so that you're kind of able to fulfill that so well I um yeah, crazy. I love that for you. But also, wow, honestly, it was like looking back at it, I love it for me, it was hilarious. Like we did it, we were there on like around the clock and we made it work and it's such a great like yeah, I have a startup story but it was one of the most like stressful weekends I think ever. Just also just for what it exposed in the business in terms of what we weren't really equipped for. Um it was definitely kind of like learning the hard way, but it was a good thing in the end. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for sharing that story and for all of the insights on this episode, I absolutely love chatting with you, I cannot wait to see you inside magic so we can go even deeper on the process and the document and all the other bits and bobs that haven't been on the show. Thank you so much. Sophie no thank you, it's been fun. Um and yeah I'm looking forward to joining the crew on Magic.