Elke Govertsen’s decision to launch Mamalode in 2009 came from a personal desire to build a strong community of fellow mothers looking for support and social outlets. At the time, she didn’t imagine Mamalode would so quickly tap into one of the most influential consumer markets in the world -- moms who were making the majority of their household’s spending decisions.
“I had children earlier than my friends, so I really didn't have a community of moms at first. I started throwing a party on the night before Mother's Day (The Mother's Day Eve® Bash) and after the third year with 450 moms coming together I knew I was on to something-- the women needed each other and the local businesses needed a way to target that powerful market.”
Elke has always had the entrepreneurial spirit; she started a welding business in her hometown of Homer, Alaska while still in high school. But she calls Mamalode her first "real" business with employees, a growth strategy, and exit plans. From two print issues in 2009 and a website that, in Elke’s words, “just kind of sat there”, Mamalode has grown into a global media phenomenon - recently earning recognition from BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone as “America’s best parenting magazine.”
Mamalode’s audience quickly outgrew the local business model so the choice was to either shrink or grow-- and grow they did!
After partnering with Dori Gilles, Mamalode expanded nationally. The website was rebuilt for a more global audience (the Montana ads still geotarget so it is all systems go locally as well.) Mamalode’s Greatest Hits is now available nationally on the iPad tablet. Mother’s Day Eve ® has become a national holiday with the goal of having events in all 50 states. Elke’s TEDx talk is live and can be seen here.
Mamalode’s rapid growth has allowed Elke to build a solid team and attract an impressive team of talented writers who contribute on a regular basis. She describes the process of starting and growing Mamalode as a “learn as you go” experience and cites the amazing support and mentorship she’s been able to access in Montana as a huge benefit.
“ Montana is full of good workers, so that makes it much easier to do good work.”
“Montana has been a great place for me to start my business. The feedback loop in our communities is immediate and allows me to change quickly. Montana is also full of powerful people and very few gatekeepers, and that has been huge for us... Access to our government is wonderful. And, frankly, Montana is full of good workers, so that makes it much easier to do good work.”
Elke also cites the benefit of “exceptionally low” overhead in Missoula that allowed her to "break even" very quickly; adding to her success.
“I see Mamalode becoming a Montana success story, because really it is much bigger than me. This is a major collective Montana effort.”