Expert Q&A: Celeste Markey, Media Entrepreneur And Founder Of 32/7
Juggling a career and first-time motherhood inspired this entrepreneur to create a new online space for job-driven moms.
Celeste Markey is the president and founder of 32/7, a site dedicated to meeting the needs of time-starved modern working moms.
How did the idea for 32/7 come about?
Motherhood came to me accidentally – I was newly married and very career focused when I found out I was pregnant with my son. I had no thoughts of slowing down, and figured I’d fit a baby into my lifestyle and keep chugging along. Giving birth and the first year of my son’s life proved to be extremely challenging. He was a big baby and had colic, and I was grossly unprepared for the physical toll that can take on your body (not to mention the mental and emotional impact).
As I had been working for myself, I hadn’t really factored in a maternity leave, so I began to juggle everything likely a little too early. After months of this, I had a light bulb moment when I realized the resources available didn’t apply or help women in my situation: Time-taxed, internet-savvy, ambitious women who did not want to leave career behind for baby. There was no single place to go for all of the needs that arise on a daily (OK, hourly) basis and, as we all know, 24/7 isn’t nearly enough. Hence, a business was born by adding 8 hours to every day.
What is your mission with 32/7?
32/7 aims to inspire, guide and empower working moms by providing them with the first all-in-one destination for everything she needs to maximize her jam-packed, 32-hour day.
32/7 champions women devoted to their families and careers, covering topics ranging from work/life balance and economic empowerment to childcare choices and tips on fashion and beauty and making the morning rush more manageable. 32/7 delivers a unique daily content blend, including several original video series and original feature articles by world-class contributors as well as rich, shop-able content and abundant, shareable social content.
As president and founder of the website, what does your day-to-day work routine look like?
There is no set routine…this is a startup!
That being said, we have an incredibly talented, collaborative and willing team. No one is above any task, and we are all in it together. Our content director, Amy Gurvitz, and I work side by side ensuring we deliver the best and most relevant content, be it video or written, for the site. We have fresh content every single day and loads of it.
We also work with the designers to ensure the look and feel of the site. Separately, we have a business development team (again, extremely collaborative), and we work together sourcing appropriate brand partners for our rapidly expanding eCommerce.
Tackling the social media and publicity world is an ongoing and ever-evolving beast! On any given day I’m juggling these various responsibilities, while also staying on top of the budget and business forecast. Budget is extremely important in a startup, I need to make sure I am on top of everything coming in and going out! There are pay services like cloudpay.net that can help with paying my employees precisely and on time, which can be a savior for someone who works a lot! Oh, and I have a husband, a 2-year-old son, two dogs, and a horse. And I’m 8 months pregnant.
What advice would you give to women who are interested in launching their own website or online media business?
Buckle up and go for it. Dive in head first. Don’t look back. Embrace every setback and speed bump as part of the process, put on your bullet-proof vest (leave sensitivities at the door) and try to not get too caught up in the minutia. Keep your eye on the horizon.
What are the biggest challenges you face as an online media entrepreneur?
We are still in the very early days of 32/7, so I imagine the challenges we face today will be different in another year. I’d say that the biggest challenge has been managing timelines and expectations.
What would you say is the most valuable work lesson you’ve learned so far, since launching the site?
I’ve learned the importance of patience and becoming a better listener. Everyone has something valuable to contribute, so consider everything and encourage healthy debate in group settings.
What kind of professional skills or training do you think are most important to have when working in this space?
I don’t think any sort of training can prepare you for an internet startup. Previous experience with a similar business, sure, but I personally don’t think anything you can learn in a textbook can prepare you. Each of our team members are experts and leaders in their respective fields, and all come with a positive attitude, a tremendous work ethic and willingness that I’ve never seen in any team prior to this. Those traits to me are more meaningful than GPA or where someone attended school.
What do you think are some of the biggest opportunities in online media?
I think we are on the cusp of a huge shift in online media. At 32/7 we are dialing into how we merge content and ecommerce in a meaningful and financially successful way that is not being done anywhere else. The current global model for monetizing digital media businesses is primarily through subscription and advertising. We are changing the model and breaking new ground by combining ecommerce curated for working moms with our inspirational and informative media. This means that whether someone is looking into selling software or buying goods, we have a grounding point for them to jump from. We’re tapping into what millennials want to read and watch with their preferences for goods and services.
What’s been your proudest work moment since launching the site?
Launching 32/7 while being pregnant is my proudest moment thus far.
What would you say sets 32/7 apart from other mom-focused websites?
Until now, there has never been a website addressing all of her needs in a single destination. We provide a single visit for shopping and content. By the time all of the merchandise and brands that we are planning to offer are on the site, users will almost never have to navigate away from our pages to make purchases. We are more work-focused, delivering solutions, advice and community for moms who are working and juggling the many responsibilities that come along with that lifestyle. We are chic, we are sophisticated, and we address everything from fashion and beauty, financial planning and advice, to nap time advice.