Meet Jenny Raymond, founder of Mamazou, an online parenting community for ‘practically imperfect parents’. She has experienced the usual highs and lows of setting up a business, but receiving industry recognition and being able to work flexibly around her daughter makes it all worthwhile.
Tell us about yourself
I have always been a Londoner and I’m the middle of three children. I live in north-west London and have been married for almost six years. We have a gorgeous 3.5 year old daughter and hope to have another one in the future.
I was never a fan of school and I left education after my A-Levels to try and earn money. At 17, I thought that was a much better deal than going off to University. I started off in the recruitment industry as a receptionist for a while and then moved up to a compliance officer in the medical recruitment sector.
After two years there I moved onto bigger and better things and landed a career in the private banking world – I worked my way up and was there for almost six years. From there I moved to a family run business and now work in the accounts team whilst running Mamazou and being a full-time mum. I’m fortunate enough to work from home.
For those who don’t know, Mamazou is a community dedicated to supporting #perfectlyimperfectparents around the world. It offers access to forums, blogs, giveaways, discount codes, a shop and much more. The idea was born when I was pregnant with my daughter and I was searching for some advice online. Some of the parenting forums I came across were bitchy and judgemental and left me feeling isolated. It was then when I had my light bulb moment and I’ve been preaching positive vibes and tolerance on Mamazou since.
Mamazou launched originally in December 2014 but went quiet after a few months because the IT company I invested in went into liquidation. I’d lost everything I had worked towards and it was heartbreaking. But thanks to support from my family and friends, I pushed myself to give it one more go and re-launched in spring last year. So I like to say it’s only really a year old!
How has digital technology and social media has changed the way you work?
Digital technology changes all the time but in some ways it has made life so much easier. In other ways it has made it very difficult as it has impacted society hugely and not in a positive way. When it comes to social media, I under-estimated the amount of time you need to spend on social media when building up a company that relies on it! Whilst I love it, it can be exceptionally overwhelming and it’s important to take a break from to reset at times. I’m very grateful for social media though, because without it I don’t think the business would be as successful as it is now. It is great for getting content out there, networking with people, gaining friendships, developing relationship, marketing and being more visible.
What are you top tips for building a successful online community?
Connect. Get to know your audience, be authentic and let them see the ‘real’ you. Engage with your community and be honest. I really believe that when you show who you are (vulnerability included) that your words will resonate with others and relationships will be built.
Jenny is following…
Oprah Winfrey: She’s just remarkable.
Meghan Markle: I was so upset when I found out she was shutting The Tig. Some of her posts were exceptionally inspiring and motivating, I love her quotes and I always loved reading about her humanitarian work.
J.K. Rowling: Her story just inspires me.
Jenny is nominated in Motherhood’s Top London Mummy Bloggers.