Have I never ever seen, a mom, a wife who was so keen…. Who worked so hard she blew her spleen… to make all moms feel like a queen.
The past few months have been interesting, to say the least. To watch, mostly from the sidelines, as my wife, Alana, founder of MomsTO, sets out to try and make a most memorable event for moms that anyone has ever seen.
It’s not to say that there have not been bigger — there have been many that are oodles bigger. Nor more lavish — the Atleier conference did that for Women just this past year. But to design, build and launch an event that tries to get 90% of every dimension is a serious challenge. And not without some roadblocks, bumps, and even a crash along the way.
The idea of “giving moms a great day” is everything that this show has come to be. Her non-stop calling, selling, convincing, espousing, bugging, and downright determination to make this show everything missing from every other show has been a joy to behold. For someone like myself who has worked at startups and startup turnarounds, it’s great to see this. A person, full of passion, starting from zero and then over the course of less than years making small pivots — while keeping their north star constant — get to a place where 1200 moms can come and have a great day. From what I’m seeing, if you don‘t have a great day at momfest, you are doing it wrong.
My suggestions often look like this:
“The price seems a little low”. She lowers it more.
“I think you are offering too much stuff”. So she goes after more stuff.
“Nobody will care if you don’t have 8 spa treatments.” So she adds more treatments.
“You probably don’t need a DJ”. She adds a DJ.
“You are crazy to let people pick times for their nails and hair and makeup and things — let them just line up”. She has me write software to try to accomodate everyone’s first choices without overbooking the stylists.
What I came to learn about her and momsTO over the last 30 months … is that it’s not about economies of scale, or about margins or slick marketing. Turns out its everything I always said about fine dining or the ideals in launching a starup — ideals which are always crushed by reality — that an intense focus on the end-to-end experience of your guests is ultimately what wins. Try to give them no way to feel like they missed out, and no way to feel like they we’re the most important person in the world, just for a day. This is the philosopy of Amazon.com: Make people love it.
I’ve watched MomsTO navigate the waters as it built up over this realitvely short runway, eventually coming to this day of MomFest. It’s not to say Alana did it alone — she’s had a great group support her throughout her journey and to this day. They say the best overnight sensations take years, and MomsTO is no exception.
As the husband, who sometimes gets to play entrepenur with her, it’s a thrill to watch focus and determination to execute continuously on this dream to give moms a great day.
If I’m lucky, I get to draw some logos or parse some spreadsheet data or sometimes help work through some logistical issues. But I’ve never had the kind of luck that Alana has had — the kind that takes fierce hard work, determination, and a focus based on a calling deep within a person’s soul to change someone’s life for the better. Those are the businesses that you want to grow and those are the leaders we need.
To give moms a great day. Who doesn’t want that for moms every single day?