Holding her first newborn, Heather Anderson started a tiny Facebook group to stay connected with the new moms she’d met in birth class. She had no idea it would grow to become The Mamahood, a lifeline of support to over 100,000 moms in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the launchpad for over 1,000 women-led companies.
In three years, Anderson experienced the shift from a gigging songwriter to a mother of five as abrupt and isolating. And the mom group she’d created spontaneously to make a few friends became her own surprisingly critical safe haven as she navigated raising a child with Sensory Processing Disorder, the complexity of preschool politics, and everything mothering throws at you. The need for this virtual ‘village’ of support was universal, as the group grew organically to over 10,000 members in the first few years – while she was juggling two other careers.
MARKETING BY DAY AND NIGHT
Before The Mamahood began, Anderson shared that she lived a double life. When we sat down to talk to her about her journey, she explained, during the day, she was the VP of Marketing for a startup niche bank where she implemented organic growth strategies to grow the bank into a national force with $1Bil+ in assets under management with almost zero ad spend. And by night, she used her brand-building skills to garner a following for her indie alt-pop band, Blue Rabbit. The most powerful lessons she carried forward from both careers were that success happens through collaboration and that there’s enough pie in the sky for everyone.
Anderson shares, “An ‘abundance mindset’ is critical as a musician because you want to perform with your greatest ‘competitors,’ AKA bands with a similar sound but ten times the fans. I learned your most intimidating peers can become your most powerful allies.”
Having witnessed talented artists struggle with the business aspects of the music world, she launched her first venture, The Green Room Collective (GRC) — a cozy coworking space with a recording studio, workshop rooms, and even a tree in its atrium. It was a space where creative entrepreneurs came together through classes, events, fostered collaborations and business support. Although Heather loved it, due to issues with the property, Anderson chose to close down The GRC and focus on the birth of her last child.
It would take six years after closing The GRC brick and mortar, and The Mamahood accidentally becoming a full-time job before Anderson realized she could embrace all of who she was – and bring this dreamy concept back to life in a different form.
THE MAMAHOOD AND THE CLUB: A REVOLUTIONARY ECOSYSTEM OF SUPPORT
At first hesitant to merge business with her ‘mother identity,’ Anderson set out to fund and sustain The Mamahood’s expanding community by marketing women-founded brands to the moms. With each founder she met, she discovered––like her––they were working mainly in isolation and craving connection with a collective ‘hive mind’ of women who understood what it was like to want to build something outside of motherhood.
Anderson reflects, “It struck me suddenly that I could bring back the magic of The GRC––but for women. And that’s how I created synergy around everything I was passionate about.” And so she launched The Club, a community for women entrepreneurs to access resources, discover prospective clients in The Mamahood, and connect as peers for collaborations and inspiration.
Today, the unique ecosystem she built between women entrepreneurs and Bay Area families is thriving. Supported by The Club, The Mamahood remains an accessible resource to moms, providing them with peer support, empathy, recommendations, and expert guidance on everything from divorce and domestic violence to beauty, travel, finance, and health. The Mamahood even has its’ own “Empathy Anthem,” written by Anderson, that moms have started singing.
In return, the mom-audience serves as a launching pad for Silicon Valley tech startups and innovative mom-products like acne-safe anti-aging skincare, planners for neurodiverse creatives, hormone-balancing chocolate cake, dehydrated organic greens, and gluten-free sourdough bread. Anderson describes the community as a thriving client base for service providers like therapists specializing in eating disorders or support for parents of teen addicts, pediatricians, fitness trainers, meditation teachers, business coaches, non-profit founders, nutritionists, acupuncturists, and other specialists.
At the core of both communities is the desire to lift each other up. Anderson shares, “I’ve met women who are scared to join a group of women from imagined or real experiences of ‘mean girl’ mentality. And while I know it happens in adolescence, my experience has been that women are innately great at circling up and nurturing, sharing information, tips, expertise, and advice. We can be smart, aggressive, and fierce––but in my circles, that power is wielded in celebration and support of each other.”
The Club is focusing on boosting member visibility through partnerships with major media outlets, publishing articles about Clubbers, releasing co-created books, and launching a podcast. Anderson even commissioned an artist to turn the members into a beautiful, physical card deck; she shares, ” I’m creating this so that members can literally collect and treasure each other like the multi-faceted works of art we each represent.”
This article feature is from our annual special edition issue, the L.A. STYLE Magazine Most Influential of 2023.