Daily deal sites have been all the rage the last few years, and two local working moms have found a way to cash in. The website kateandlinny.com went live in January, and is something of a mix between Etsy and Groupon. Many of the items — cute kids clothing, toys, jewelry — are made by hand. Every item is offered at a discount. And deals are only available for five to seven days before being switched out for new merchandise. What makes kateandlinny.com stand out from its competitors is the target market: the “mompreneur.” Almost everything featured on the site is made, developed or sold by mothers.
The people behind kateandlinny.com are mompreneurs themselves. Lindsay “Linny” Streufert, mother of three, had been selling hair ties she called Soul-Ties on Etsy, and was interested in moving in a different direction. She met Katherine “Kate” Zackham, a real estate expert and mother of two trying to launch a line of flip-flops, at a barbecue in 2012, and the two hit it off. “When we first met, Lindsay and I were each working on our own ventures and found ourselves supporting each other as business women and also as working moms,” Zackham says. “It was like we were meant to be business partners,” Streufert recalls of their dynamic connection.
Streufert discussed her ideas for a daily deals site with Zackham one afternoon. Zackham did some market research, looked at statistics, and realized they had a perspective that would dovetail nicely with their need to find an original niche. “The mompreneur idea came about because Lindsay and I are first and foremost moms,” Zackham explains. “We figured, why not do what we know?” Streufert hired a website designer, and she and Zackham went about putting together the business plan. Zackham, the so-called business guru, handles financial and corporate aspects, while creative guru Streufert finds and schedules vendors. “She’s very Type A,” Streufert says of Zackham, “and I’m very creative. When you have a business you need both.”
Streufert finds most of her vendors through Etsy and Instagram, and advertises on mommy blogs (The Vanilla Tulip and Rags to Stitches, just to name a few) to grow the site’s following. Both women appreciate the interconnectedness of their business model; they are entrepreneurial moms, promoting other entrepreneurial moms and working with mommy bloggers to grow their website. “Moms love to support other moms!” Zackham says. “That’s how kateandlinny.com was born.”
Vendors enjoy a lot of support at kateandlinny.com, which gives them significant exposure through social media outlets such as Instagram and Facebook. And as Streufert says, “Their target audience is our target audience,” so the hit-to-click ratio is likely to be higher than on other daily deal sites. The site makes money from a 20 percent commission on the total sale — one of the lowest cuts taken by similar businesses. Kateandlinny.com’s reasonable commission and solid promotional efforts are great for the busy mompreneur who is trying to grow her business while also managing family obligations. “And that ultimately is our goal,” Streufert says, “for the mompreneurs to get exposure on our site so they can sell their product and make money. And when they make money, we make money, too.” Zackham finds that this high level of customer service has given kateandlinny.com a great reputation in the industry. “We are lucky that the word is spreading about us, so we have vendors contacting us as well.”
Running a daily deals site doesn’t require inventory, an office or a brick-and-mortar store. But it takes a lot of time, which Streufert and Zackham both struggle to find. There were a few false starts before the website launched, and promoting the business and gaining subscribers has been a constant challenge. Both women are up before the sun rises and work when everyone else is asleep. Nevertheless, it has been a labor of love for the owners, who find the rewards (and the promise of future success) well worth the effort. “For me, sitting in an office all day while my kids are in day care is hell,” Streufert says. “With this, I interact every day with fantastic women and businesses.”
Even in these early days, kateandlinny.com’s strategy seems promising. It had a mere 150 Instagram followers when it launched, and within a few weeks had more than 1,200, plus 600 subscribers. Deals on hot products like Freshly Picked Moccasins and Petunia Pickle Bottom bags (another Ventura mompreneur) haven’t hurt, either. With time and focus, Streufert and Zackham hope their efforts will pay off big — for themselves and the mompreneurs whose products appear on their site. “I love the idea of supporting other moms,” says Zackham. “It’s truly incredible what some of the women out there have accomplished with little ones in tow.”
For more information or to opt in, visit www.kateandlinny.com.