by Julie Hermelin
Trusted word of mouth recommendations are gold. It’s what we’re all looking for. So many of my life decisions, big and small, coalesced around the cumulative wisdom of my friends and their friends. For years, my method of madness was scribbled yellow legal pads, layered with multi-colored sticky notes. In the succession of my notepads, the fertility doctor scribbles became the pediatrician lists, which became numbers for new housekeepers, handymen, tutors and more. Notes upon notes, with increasing velocity, my single person needs compounding into family needs.
In each situation supported by the wisdom of friend’s experiences, I went from novice (fumbling mother of infant twins), to expert (master juggler with three kids), to novice again; navigating pre-school, allergists, speech therapist for a 3 year old?!? Camp planning in February?!? Novice, expert, novice. I sought recommendations; I gave recommendations, the virtuous cycle.
We’re all busy people. On top of the daily craziness comes a party to plan, stitches to mend, a broken air conditioner to fix. It’s endless. I found the pace of time, kids and work kept condensing, and my to-do lists increasing. Friends needed recommendations from me; I needed recommendations from them but who had the time to get together for a coffee to discuss. Emails, phone calls, sticky notes and Facebook posts. I was drowning, my friends were swamped… there had to be better way.
When my companions in chaos and now co-founders, Paulette Light, Staci Miller and I shared our collective headaches, ideas bloomed and we knew we had the kernel of a solution; MOMSTAMP, a social recommendation website where friends could ask their trusted circle of friends (and friends of friends) for what they needed, fast. Responses would be saved and organized. We’d never have to frantically search for that insurance broker’s contact info again, or sheepishly re-contact with a friend for their piano teachers info for a third time.
We found that when asking for specific advice, friends were more likely to offer up their positive experiences than negative, urging a visit to their amazing dermatologist or the genius tutor that helped their son with math. Momstamp would harness the power of those positive recommendations. Service providers, classes, camps, schools would only be on Momstamp if they’d been recommended by the Momstamp community. We knew it was about the nuance—so Momstamp would offer the ability to discuss and message as well. Every Momstamp community would be different because it would be based on your circle, operating on the philosophy of intersecting small circles of people you know. Everyone has their go-to friends; Momstamp would bring them together to make it easy for friends to give each other the help they need.
Planning a big event, starting a remodel, facing an unexpected diagnosis Momstamp would let you make a collection of recommendations to help you gather all of the information in one place. Big projects would become a little less daunting when you could easily tap into the recommendations and research done by the people in your community that have walked those roads before.
Now just in time to ring in 2015, Momstamp is live and launching in LA!
Simple. Efficient. Your life, only easier.
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Julie Hermelin, with Paulette Light-Rake and Staci Miller, is a co-founder of Momstamp. She is also a producer/director/writer, most currently as a creative producer on the AOL web series, The Future Starts Here with Tiffany Shlain. As the co-chair of The XX Fund, a women’s giving circle administered by the Liberty Hill Foundation, she has the privilege of supporting organizations that empower underserved women and girls in Los Angeles. A Michigan native and long time Los Angeles transplant, one of her parenting missions is to instill a bit of Midwestern soul into her three rambunctious and growing LA boys