As a new mum herself, Jess Raubenheimer-Free wanted to create a supportive space for women to learn and grow together in their journeys through motherhood. After starting a blog sharing her own experiences of motherhood, as well as the stories of other mums, she then added an online store, stocking carefully curated products for mums and babies that she loves and trusts. Here, Jess talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind The Mum Tribe, her passion for supporting New Zealand small business and their beautiful products, and her exciting plans for the future.
The Passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
The Mum Tribe was originally launched during lockdown in 2020. As a first-time mum to a 4-month-old, I was looking for a blog or community that I felt I could really engage with as a kiwi mum. I’d also gone back to work when my daughter was 3 months old, and I felt like I didn’t identify with the content I found online about motherhood. So I started The Mum Tribe blog, where I’d talk about my experiences as a mother and share the stories of other mums as well.
In August of 2020, I decided to launch The Mum Tribe store after having trouble finding quality NZ-made products for myself as a mum and for my baby, all in one place. I’m passionate about quality products made in NZ or products that are owned by NZ-based businesses.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
When launching the store, I really tried to stock products that had been helpful for me as a mum. Examples include Haakaa breast pumps, Lamington socks and Woolbabe sleeping bags. I then realised how many amazingly talented mums there are out there making products in NZ, so I expanded my range to include the likes of Viva La Vulva, Little Dragon Skincare, Lola and Me and more.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
I’ve grown the range in the store to include some of the most incredible products made in NZ, including NZ-made cloth nappies from Paterpillar Baby, amazing feeding cookies from Totally Devoted and the ever-popular Viva La Vulva.
What has really struck me is the amazing community of mums on Instagram, and the genuine willingness to support small NZ business and buy NZ-made products. My business is tiny (just me!) but I strive to provide amazing service, quick shipping and a great product range.
I’m still growing and will be releasing an exciting new Affirmation Jewellery line in the next month or so which I am so excited about. I’m passionate about helping mums realise how amazing they are, and the jewellery will really speak to that passion.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
With difficulty! My daughter is two now which means I basically can’t get much done if she is home. The best part about working for myself though is that I can be there for her when she needs me. When she is unwell, I can do the bare minimum (pack orders only!) and give her my attention, which is the biggest gift any mama could get.