Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Lundy.
Hi Amy, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.
Born and raised in South Florida (Cooper City to be exact), I went away to UW-Madison and then began my career in DC and landed in NY in my 20s. In 2010, I became a first-time mom who had just left NYC to move to Florida to finally have a backyard and more space for my new baby. I had just come from working oftentimes excruciatingly long hours running the events for American Express and was eager to make my next career move…while going through all the motions as a new mom. While living in Tampa (where I started my business–MOABS) and exploring mommy and me options around the city with my daughter Alexandra, who is now almost 12, I quickly realized how overwhelming it was for parents to find classes, baby products and services, AND meet other new moms. Given my extensive marketing, events, and PR background, my gut instinct was screaming to me to create a program that would connect new families to resources that would help make parenting easier and frankly more enjoyable. But not just that, also provide new mothers the opportunity to socialize, commiserate and build support systems, while their babies were learning and playing (aka help moms build their village). I immediately started contacting local companies that targeted young families, such as Music Together, My Gym, Color Me Mine, Glazer Children’s Museum, and many more, plus local restaurants and retailers like buybuy BABY. Six months later the first term of small fry society (precursor to MOABS) began, a six-week program whereby every week you brought your child to a new activity, and once a term there was a Girls’ Night out entirely focused on laughter, food, fun and sometimes shopping (thanks to Nordstrom for hosting us all those years back!). The program grew and grew but I wasn’t done yet. I had an epiphany one day when a dad wrote me asking if I was hosting other events in the evening and on weekends for parents who worked and didn’t have as much flexibility. I knew I could build bigger, better, and even more inclusive events (dads love MOABS too!) with greater educational opportunities and more national brands involved, and well, that’s just what I did. Necessity is in fact the mother of invention because on that day 11 years ago I created The Mother of All Baby Showers (MOABS), an adults-only night out for ALL things pregnancy and parenting that guarantees learning, laughing, and leaving with confidence in cities around the US. With only about $600 in my business account and a baby in tow, I put all my money and time into MOABS. It all started in Tampa 2011 with a few moms and a few local businesses who took a risk on my concept and loved it, and a year later MOABS launched at Glazer Children’s Museum with over 700 expectant and new parents. Our first featured guest was Rosie Pope, NYC-based Bravolebrity, maternity concierge, and fashion designer. Then Heidi Murkoff who wrote the #1 best-selling book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” But I didn’t stop there, as we began receiving hundreds of messages following our first few events asking when we were coming to their city. There was nothing like MOABS in most cities around the US, and we made our focus not the hugest cities, rather the cities poised for growth of families. And while I was growing MOABS from South Florida to Houston to Salt Lake City to Pittsburgh and so on, I grew my family from one baby who inspired me to start MOABS to a boy (Jude, 9) and another girl (Daryn, 5). And yes, I’m THAT mom who was crazy enough to have 3 adorable maniacs. Since 2012 I have produced MOABS in 15+ cities around the US, partnered with some of the largest healthcare systems in the country (shoutout to Memorial Healthcare System for 10 years as my healthcare partner), and over 250 different unique maternity, baby, and family brands from HP to La Croix to Chicco to Florida Prepaid to Shake Shack. I am incredibly grateful to those brands and experts in their fields who have supported my vision of creating a truly fun night out to educate AND celebrate adults who are planning to get pregnant, currently pregnant, or have a baby from age 1 day to age 5. Together we have helped thousands choose the best products and services for their family, build registries, make friends and instill confidence around pregnancy and parenting. And maybe most importantly, celebrate the ups and downs of parenthood together. In 2020, Covid hit us hard in the events industry, but we have come back stronger in 2022 and we are truly BACK LIKE WE NEVER LEFT, and it feels amazing to be planning for the years ahead.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Good question, especially for me since I’m kind of hard on myself and also honest to a fault. I have faced many challenges over the course of the last 12 years between balancing motherhood and being an entrepreneur, the competitive landscape changing, alterations in how we market and reach attendees, costs rising significantly and of course Covid affecting my entire business model for two years and pushing me into the virtual events world temporarily (Zoom fatigue is legit!). It hasn’t been easy to build a brand while building a family, but I have found that staying focused on the values of my business, staying true to who I am, working smart AND hard, and building strong relationships has helped me not only survive, but thrive. Finding the time to give 100% to both of my passions, my work, and my role as a mother is very challenging many days. As a mother, I often have days where work takes priority with tight deadlines and travel, and other days where I simply cannot work to my fullest because I have a sick child or a school event. I have learned over time to better balance my priorities, say no (probably not enough, but I’m a work in progress) and maybe most importantly, to ask for help. Marketing events has changed SO much over the years from print ads and billboards to digital everything, and influencer relationships have become a big part of MOABS. I am incredibly thankful to one particular South Florida influencer who has become a close friend and helped me navigate that world. By now you all know her as Whineandcheezits aka Rachel Sobel, the hilarious, award-winning writer, podcaster, real-deal mom who is our featured speaker at MOABS. Post-Covid costs have become insane, so I’ve become exceptionally skilled at budgeting, like it or not. And as competitors have come into the baby industry events space, I’ve learned to appreciate that we’re all offering something different and it’s about preparing parents at the end of the day and collaboration is key. Buuuut also MOABS is unique in itself because we offer something for EVERYONE, we are focused on adults only aaaaand we’re more fun and well, IYKYK! Most of my struggles are not unique to being a working mother, but unless people talk openly about their worries, they can’t get support and answers. I struggle with delegating as I’m a bit of a perfectionist (I’m a Libra), and I am committed to providing exceptional service to both my business relationships and also my other demanding clients, aka my children. And well, regular self-care and sleep? Maybe in 2023. Fortunately, six years ago I met my partner and one of my best friends, Julie Plake McMinn (yes, that Julie from Bravo), also now a mother of three. She encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone which at times really wasn’t that comfortable, it’s just what I knew. She pushed me to get an office to separate work from home, to hire more staff and a more consistent babysitter, to shut down every night and not answer emails at 1 am, and to ask for more help. She changed my life and helped me scale my business. I am a big believer in giving to others not to expect anything back but knowing that eventually, the universe will have your back. Julie has helped me through every struggle, and I do the same for her. You have to have that trusted person/people in business, as you simply cannot know it all or do it all and stay sane and happy. Being in the trenches while building MOABS, we used our experiences during pregnancy and parenting to build a well-thought-out mental health, 4th trimester, and PPD discussion that is truly one of the best and most popular parts of MOABS (shoutout to Allegheny Health Network for kicking off that amazing journey with us!). My struggles have ultimately become opportunities to change the way I look at my business and my life, conduct it, and how I measure success as well.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about The Mother of All Baby Showers (MOABS)?
The Mother of All Baby Showers (MOABS) is an adults-only night out for ALL things pregnancy and parenting. Celebration is front and center—think food and drinks, hands-on education, test before you invest, mini spa treatments, music, and a lot more. Our events are never in stuffy hotel ballrooms or convention centers, our venues are centered around fun, like Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale and PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and Armadillo Palace in Houston. We are focused on creating a community of open-minded moms, dads, partners, supports systems (anyone but kids for this event!) who want to learn, laugh, and leave with confidence about pregnancy and parenting. First pregnancy? Second baby? Parent of a toddler? Just curious what to expect when you’re expecting? We have you covered at our 3-hour event in cities across the U.S. More dads attend our events than any other events in the baby biz, and in fact, more partners attend together because it’s a great date night out. It’s also a great time for a girls’ night out to experience this exciting time in your life together. Tickets are typically only $20, and the value of attending is truly priceless, but you’re probably going to leave with $200+ in SWAG, so we’re making this a no-brainer to come spend the night with us. I am very proud of the unique educational format and speakers we offer to attendees and that we’ve always stayed true to being inclusive, non-judgmental, open-minded, engaging, and entertaining (a tall order for sure). I am thrilled that we have been able to bring this event to so many cities over the years and will continue to do so because I truly believe that new and expectant need to be educated and celebrated and learning should be fun. I use the word fun a lot because MOABS is just that! Yes, we need to understand pain options for delivery and hear about vaccinations for our kids, but why can’t we also have a burger and a glass of wine while we’re doing that? And you should get a back massage from our spa partner while you’re visiting 30+ brands in our test before you invest area too because walking can be tiring! Parents and parents-to-be deserve to have it all in one place and we want to make your life easier whether it’s creating a baby industry at the event or finding the perfect car seat or picking your pediatrician. You will walk away having learned something new, probably many things, and more likely than not, been gifted by MOABS and our partner brands too. What I truly am most proud of is our ability to create genuine connections in communities and to give back to our local non-profits in every single MOABS city. Our 2023 tour will be up in the next few weeks on our website, and we couldn’t be more excited!
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
MOABS was originally called small fry society, that’s when it was the six-week program of events. It was a cute play on small fry meaning a child. As for me, people might be surprised to learn that I am a French fry connoisseur of sorts and must try the French fries on any menu (except sweet potato fries—gross!). As the brand grew, I changed our name (and our logo a few times until I got it right) to something more fitting–The Mother of All Baby Showers, a play on the word mother and the overall experience being all-encompassing for expectant and new parents AND our brand partners. A few years we became the household name MOABS, our acronym. It might also surprise people to know that while I have three children, I also had a miscarriage. I understand the immense desire to have a child and the deep despair when you lose a pregnancy or feel hopeless about getting pregnant. I share that about myself because I want people to know that MOABS is here for them, for everyone, and we have excellent fertility, health, and mental health resources that we make available to anyone who reaches out.
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