Anyone that’s ever completed a baby registry know it requires a lot of research. You can read online comments, of course, but we all still end up asking our friends, What really works? And that’s the concept behind the new app MASSE, a community based on real people sharing product recommendations, from beauty and home products to pregnancy and baby products.
It was launched late last year by moms who happened to become moms at the same time (literally, they gave birth one day apart). CEOs Elizabeth Shaffer and Lizzy Brockhoff were Director of Product and Product Manager (respectively) at Moda Operandi, and then also worked together at Jet.com. Together, they co-founded MASSE after conceiving (pun intended) of the idea on their mutual maternity leave. We spoke to Elizabeth about their new brand, their commitment to skipping paid content and why moms make such fantastic entrepreneurs and small business owners.
How did MASSE come to be?
I think Lizzy and I worked in startups for a long time and felt like we wanted to launch our own at some point. When you are working for others’ visions it can be amazing but eventually want to go it on your own! We were natural partners…we started talking about the concept on maternity leave. We had that background in consumer shopping behavior and online shopping, but it was the registering process that was the catalyst.
How specifically did registering for your baby showers prompt this business launch?
Registering can definitely be overwhelming, especially as a first time mom. When you’re deciding what to buy, everyone turns to their friends and passes around these Excel spreadsheets of “mom lists”. And we thought there has got to be another way—this is so inefficient.
Besides saving moms time (which we love!) why do you think your baby category resonates so well?
The first is that when you have a baby, you’re buying a whole category of products you’ve probably never used before—bottles, cribs, ointments. You don’t know what you need or who to go to for advice. That part of becoming a new mom is really overwhelming. The second is that these products are what you’re using on your newborn… the pressure is on to pick the right one. You want to choose things that are nontoxic, environmentally-friendly—the stakes are higher. Finally, there is so much mom and baby content out there and a lot is sponsored and paid for and makes it hard to tease out quality content from the clutter.
How would you describe your working relationship with Lizzy?
She’s like my work wife. It’s very intense having a cofounder and it’s so important that you work with someone you’ve worked with in the past. We’re also in the same life stage so there is a lot of empathy with our life situations. If a child is sick and you have to go to the pediatrician, there is a lot of understanding there. It’s also nice to have someone to share all of this with.
What’s your mom uniform and 5-minute beauty routine?
I wear Rag & Bone jeans and Comment Project sneakers which are my indulgence. If I have to emerge in public, Rag & Bone Boots. And then just casual sweaters. For makeup, I love the Laura Mercier tined moisturizer which I actually found out about on MASSE, and the Glossier Boy Brow and Clinique mascara. That’s my bare minimum.
Why are moms such great entrepreneurs?
I think becoming a mom means you can multitask and go from dealing with a preschool to situation to feeding the baby to hopping on the phone with investors to speaking to your employers and managing the team, all in an hour. As a mom you’re forced into that way of thinking of switching between things that are personal with your child and work life quickly. Also becoming a mom give you empathy and that’s a skill that’s underrated as an entrepreneur. As a consumer facing product you need empathy both for the consumer and for your team.
What’s next for the brand?
We’re really focused on growing the community across the country while still mainttaining the personal feel on the app. Aside from that, becoming more and more useful for our user base.
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Kirsten Pierce, certified registered nurse anesthetist, mother to two amazing children, wife of an incredible husband and dog-mom of two fur babies, a Great Dane named Finnegan and a Lab mix named Layla. Besides her role of ‘super mom,’ Kirsten has now added the...