Forget Airbrushing: Be Part of America's Best Parenting Magazine

Forget Airbrushing: Be Part of America's Best Parenting Magazine

I discovered Mamalode by accident. If you had told me, as I tore out of Montana for college at age 17, that one day writers from New York City to Silicon Valley, from Alaska to Florida, would be agog over a parenting magazine being printed right under their noses in my hometown, Missoula ...

Mamalode Facebook

... well, I'd have accidentally spilled my pop on your face.

Mamalode, published by Elke Govertsen and her colleagues in -- yes -- Missoula, Montana, is unbelievably different from the parenting magazines on most newsstands. This magazine, which has celebrated bloggers from Kelle Hampton to Matt Logelin, is beautiful. Profound. Real. Raw even. See what I mean?

Mamalode cover

What a witness to the real lives of families -- this beautiful child, the world-class image and headline that packs her world into a word. And inside? No slick models or model-children presiding over how-tos that might matter if I weren't wrapped up in the real mental engagement and moral leadership that it takes to mother and stepmother every day of my life. Instead, the reader gets just what the blurb promised: Sexy, world-class writing:

"Enough is about reaching the point where you're just fed up! Enough money, love, time, energy, stuff, enough, enough, enough! With ... Kelle Hampton (who blogs Enjoying the Small Things) on Secret Reserves, Randi Zuckerberg (sister of Facebook founder Mark) in a Q&A on her life and times in Silicon Valley, and Aimee Mcquilkin & Lael Gabrian -- Mamaloders Don't Airbrush (But Some Days We Sarong)"

Got that? No airbrushing. But some days? We sarong.

Now Publisher Elke Govertsen is working to take her labor of love to the next level. Govertsen, whose team designs and sells local ads to entice readers to support local businesses and sell magazine subscriptions and back issues, is applying for small business loan. She's seeking Facebook votes for missionsmallbusiness.com, a contest by Chase and Living Social, to be one of 12 small businesses awarded a $250,000 grant, as she described at an Innovate Montana event I attended last week at the University of Montana business school. Here's her post:

"[My son] heard me talking tonight about a grant I applied for. He heard me say how much I want it. How much it would mean for me and for Mamalode. He asked me to explain what I meant when I spoke of how it is almost the exact amount I needed from investors. He told me equity was a weird word and somehow equated it to Pokemon. He is right about that; it is totally weird and trade-able. Then he looked at me, square in the eye, and he is not a kid for eye contact, and challenged, “Did you ask?”

"Crap-ola. That kid was born with a hammer in hand to hit the nail on the head. Smack. I said, “Kind of ... ” and he just raised an eyebrow. He looked just like his mother.

"So I bucked up. I asked and asked. I will ask again, because it is true. This grant would allow me to grow Mamalode in all the ways I dream, without investment at this stage, which means I keep equity and creative control, which means we are that much further along this exciting road ... "

Elke's got her work cut out for her to grow this business, despite the fact that Montana is heating up on the start-up front. As I shared in my talk last week, 99 percent of funding for start-ups comes from outside of Montana and most of that money will go to biotech, telecom and software. And of course there's the fact that if the funds follow national patterns, most of this venture capital will be granted by men to men.

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