In Conversation with Lindsay S. Pinchuk of Bump Club and Beyond
Describe your business in a few words?
For eleven years Bump Club and Beyond has connected parents and parents-to-be with the best products, resources, information and each other, through both premier events across North America (USA and Canada) and our online community of 1.75MM. The BCB team has always been involved, sharing our own experiences and talking about parenthood. Our community has grown to know us and trust us. While we serve our community, we also serve the many brands we work with through a portfolio of capabilities designed to reach parents and parents-to-be at every touch point of their lives.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
In 2010 I was pregnant with my first daughter. None of my closest friends at the time were expecting (though we all have fourth graders! I was just the first.) I yearned for support and community. Other than prenatal yoga (which started at 5pm, and was not conducive for this working mom-to-be’s schedule), there were no formal options to connect with other expectant moms in Chicago. So I planned two events under Bump Club Chicago—a prenatal workout and a Girls’ Night at a local maternity store. Over 50 expectant moms showed up to each event. I clearly wasn’t the only one needing community support while pregnant in Chicago! Those who attended asked what was next. So we launched a monthly Expectant Parent Dinner series. After I had my daughter, and the other women started having their babies, they were asking for more. Thus we changed our name to Bump Club and Beyond to incorporate parenting into our content and curriculum. From there, we continued to grow to meet the needs of our evolving community.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Prior to starting Bump Club and Beyond I worked for nearly ten years in the magazine publishing industry as a Midwest Account Director. I sold integrated marketing programs to brands such as Quaker, Unilever, Target, Kimberly Clark, Kelloggs and more, for media brands such as Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Nickelodeon. During this time, I also attended Northwestern University where I earned my Masters’ of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Honestly no. I LOVED my job and my career prior to starting Bump Club and Beyond. But once I started my company, I saw a need that was not being met anywhere else. I am a go big or go home kind of person. I won’t half ass anything and of course gave BCB my all. I planned to return to my corporate job and do BCB on the side. But BCB blew up (while I was on maternity leave actually!) and when I returned to work it was very clear something had to give. I wanted more flexibility, I wanted to work on my own terms, and I wanted to be able to be around for my daughter and later my second daughter. I couldn’t (and still can’t) think of a better situation than making a career out of being a mom.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
Keep in mind that eleven years ago there were no Facebook business pages, no Instagram, TikTok or Snapchat. Honestly, when I started, I didn’t really have a “plan” per say. I am a pretty well connected person and pride myself on having good relationships and keeping in contact with people. When I started BCB I initially did three things:
- I sent an email to everyone I knew in Chicago. (I still have that email!)
- I posted about Bump Club and Beyond and our first two events on my personal Facebook.
- I (think) posted on my LinkedIn.
Once BCB was well underway, most of our marketing consisted of grass roots efforts, partnership marketing and referrals from customers. Word of mouth traveled fast and within the first ten months I had a few other moms who wanted to take our concept to other cities.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
I was very eager to grow and have BCB in as many cities as possible. We had a couple locations that we thought were going to be amazing, but we definitely put the cart before the horse. We had an “if we build it they will come” mentality. That was all wrong and couldn’t have been more off.
We were unknown in these cities and needed to market ourselves better. Initially our expansion and the interest in BCB happened so fast, it didn’t allow much time for planning. I should have taken more time in developing strategies to ensure success in our new markets. It was not until we started to work with Target and Nordstrom that our national growth and efforts in cities outside of Chicago, Austin and Minneapolis (our first three cities where we hosted events) took off.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
Founding and growing BCB without any outside funding, loans or investors. Creating a profitable business and eventually selling Bump Club and Beyond. I took BCB as far as I could on my own without any outside capital. I knew I needed a partner to grow, scale and make BCB a household name. The company who acquired Bump Club and Beyond wanted not only our brand, but me and our team as well. I set out to do this before I turned 40 and I closed on the deal right after my thirty-ninth birthday.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
I feel like I could write a whole book about interviewing and my experiences in doing so for BCB. (But that’s a story for another day.) There are two things I always make sure to ask:
- “What do you think of BCB’s social media? Where can we improve.” I cannot even tell you how many people I have caught unprepared for an interview with this question as they very clearly never even bothered to look.
- “If you get the job, you’ll spend the the first month or so learning everything you can about Bump Club and Beyond. The learning curve will be steep. BUT, what is one thing that you can teach our team?” I find that this question, even if they don’t know the team, allows you to see where this person thrives and where their passion in the business lies. I’ve heard some amazing answers on this one that have urged me to hire.
One last hiring tip. If someone wants to work for you, with you, seeks you out to do so, and is incredibly passionate and pursuant about your brand and your mission: HIRE THEM. My three longest term employees (two of whom are still with me today, and one who had to leave to homeschool during the pandemic) came to me because they wanted to work for Bump Club and Beyond. One has been with me for nearly ten years and one for almost five (and she’s now expecting a baby of her own!)
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
As an events based company, our business had the potential to go under during COVID-19. However, we have made a HUGE effort over the last five years to grow our online content for our audience. This was instrumental in the quick pivot we made in March 2020.
As the pandemic was brewing, Bump Club and Beyond was preparing to host our first large scaled activation since being acquired. We were set to host three live baby registry webinars and then 300 events in Target stores across the country on March 21. But we turned the entire activation into a virtual one, which included sending 10,000 BCB Baby Registry gift bags to the homes of those who now attended online.
The event series was a GIANT success. This led to a continuation of our Target events through 2020 (with a renewal for 2021). We also took ALL of our in person events online turning them into virtual classes, playdates, workouts, webinars and more. Our brand partners not only continued to sponsor them, but they were receiving 10x more eyeballs on their brands in a much more efficient manner.
Additionally, in a matter of a month in 2020 BCB launched our first ever content series for parents with school-aged kids. Our virtual summer camp, Camp Beyond sponsored by Abbott Labs, had 17,000 “campers” register this year.
The one thing NOT cancelled this past year is pregnancy and parenthood. Our audience needed us, and in the end, our audience grew nearly five times as we continued to support them through this time.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
While we can’t wait for the day that we can meet in person again, BCB is following the CDC guidelines and recommendations. Expectant and new parents are within the high-risk category for COVID-19 and we want to keep our audience and our team as safe as possible.
As we move into 2021, Bump Club and Beyond will continue and expand our online activations. We have more content, live virtual events, and direct to home sampling opportunities than ever before. The pandemic showed us how many more people we can reach if we work more virtual opportunities into our capabilities.
From me, Lindsay Pinchuk, you will see me public speaking more (outside of BCB), making more television appearances and continuing to support female entrepreneurs in any way I can.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
Moms can truly do anything. I speak for myself, for my many friends and the millions of moms I interact with on a daily basis through Bump Club and Beyond. It’s been eleven months, and while the light is shining at the end of the tunnel…we are not there yet. While all moms have been put through the ringer with this pandemic, I truly feel for the many working moms I see struggling on a daily basis. Many women were forced to work at home with no access to any childcare or help. They had to watch or teach their kids (depending on age), clean the house, make the meals, do the laundry and all the while work a 40+ hour work week complete with endless amounts of zoom calls. During this time working hours also became very gray. For many it felt like we were working around the clock on top of trying to keep our families together without any of the normal reinforcements. Not even playdates. And yet, we’re still here. I always knew that moms were superheroes, and now even more so.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
You cannot do everything. As I say this, I want to clarify as this sentence takes on a few different meanings and lessons.
- If you don’t want to find a co-founder to compliment your skill set, hire someone right away to do so. For example, I am not a finance person. It wasn’t until I hired a controller that my business actually took off and started to grow significantly. Know your strengths and plan accordingly.
- Know when to delegate. If your plate is too full, whether personally or professionally, ask for help.
- Learn how to say no. You cannot be everything to everyone. You cannot be in three places at once. Weigh your options and make the decision that benefits you most. It may not always be the most popular one, but make decisions for YOU and learn how to say no (politely of course!)
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
By finding the silver linings–and for me that has been my family.
Since last March I have regularly gone on to the @bumpclubandbeyond Instagram account and have asked our community about the positives of the pandemic. The answer for me is that the pandemic allowed us to slow down. We’ve eaten dinner together almost every single night. My kids learned to play together…and enjoy each other’s company. And yes, there are moments when they are making me batshit crazy, but this entire experience has shown me what is truly important in life.
Whenever I start to lose my mind…and I promise, that happens at least once a week…I go back to this place and remind myself how grateful I am for this time together. How lucky we are to have a roof over our head, food on the table and that after half of my house had COVID-19, we are all healthy.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I believe in having a work life and I believe in having a personal life. I also believe in working hard and playing hard. I most definitely believe in taking time for yourself. But your days most likely are not going to be “balanced.” Some days will be more work, some days will be more family, some days (though rare) will be more you. They also are most likely not going to be consistent, and as an entrepreneur and a mom, your schedule can change on a dime.
That being said, my number one tip is to be flexible. Second, whatever hat you are wearing, try to be fully present. Third, try to stick to a schedule and have a time when you shut it off each day.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
I love Bon Jovi. I have seen him 36 times in concert. At the 35th concert I had a sign with me and he came down and kissed me on my cheek. Honestly, it was a top highlight of my life. Overall, I love live music. I see about two dozen live concerts every year. It is what I miss most right now.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Plan my schedule for the day and stick to it the best I can. This includes meals and snacks. I make a to-do list in the morning of what I want to accomplish and cross it off as I go.
- I make every effort to work out every day. I put it in my schedule and I treat it like an appointment. I got a Peloton for my 40th birthday and recently reached 100 rides. I am very proud of myself and the dedication it took to make that happen. I love it and try to get on every day, even if it is only for 15 minutes.
- I try to take a few mini breaks throughout the day to get up, walk around, walk the dog, drive to Starbucks to get a coffee. One of my regular breaks during the day is picking up my kids from school. I go every day and it is one of the highlights of every day.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista means educating and supporting other women who want to be entrepreneurs. I have learned SO MUCH from the last eleven years, it is my great privilege to pass along my knowledge to others, especially if it helps them get to where they want to go even faster.