People 01 May 2017
For nearly ten years, Lindsay Pinchuk worked in publishing, advertising, and marketing at Hearst, The Tribune Company, and Time Inc for brands including Good Housekeeping, Sports Illustrated, and Nickelodeon. While preparing for the birth of her first daughter, Pinchuk debuted her mom started business, Bump Club and Beyond. Launched in March 2010, Bump Club and Beyond was created as a way to connect with other new moms and at the same time provide them with the best of the best resources.
Now the largest social event company in the country for parents and parents-to-be, Bump Club and Beyond connects its audience with the best information, experts, products, and most importantly, with each other- both online and through dozens of premier events per month in over thirty cities across the country. Since launching Bump Club and Beyond, it’s revenue has grown over 3,500%, making it one of the fastest growing brands for parents and parents-to-be in the country. SWAAY talked to the founder and CEO of Bump Club and Beyond, and Chicago’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014, Lindsay Pinchuk, to find out.
The epiphany for Bump Club and Beyond did not come while Pinchuk was pregnant, but rather, before she was even thinking about having children. “Pregnant women can’t just navigate this journey on their own when they have so many questions,” she says. While trying to help a pregnant friend look for a community of expecting moms in Chicago, she came up empty-handed. “I knew that when I wanted to start a family, I would want to have pregnant friends to lean on.”
So, before starting her family and her business, Pinchuk and her husband ventured off to Argentina for one final trip. “I took my computer on vacation and started building a basic website, and that’s when I said to my husband that there is really a business here,” says Pinchuk.
Soon after coming back from Argentina, Pinchuk got pregnant. “I actually announced Bump Club and Beyond a couple of weeks before announcing my pregnancy,” Pinchuk says. Thus, with the first event of a prenatal workout, Bump Club and Beyond was officially born. The second event that BCB held was a shopping event at a maternity store in downtown Chicago, at which over fifty women showed up. At the shopping event, mothers and mothers-to-be were shopping and talking to each other, and there were gift bags and raffle prizes.
“After the shopping event, people kept asking what was next, so we started hosting educational dinners for expecting parents,” says Pinchuk. The first educational dinner had fifty people attend, and from there it snowballed. “Five weeks after giving birth to my first daughter, Jordyn, we hosted our first new moms brunch and we brought in a sleep consultant because everyone was just so tired.” Now, Bump Club and Beyond is hosting events in over 25 cities across the country, with a database well over 200,000, and is working with some of the biggest brands in the world.
One of BCB’s biggest events is hosted in fifteen cities and is called Gearapalooza. With guest attendance between 150 and 300, Gearapalooza offers a “chance to meet many of the top baby brands in the world, learn what to register for and add them to your registry through Babylist.com, and have all of your questions answered by The BabyGuyNYC,” according to the event’s website. “The parents spend the first part of the even walking around and meeting all the different baby gear vendors, which can range from fifteen to thirty.” The vendors at Gearapalooza are doing demonstrations of their product, talking to parents, answering any and all questions, and educating parents on their product. Following the time with the vendors, attendees can grab a sandwich and sit down for the featured speaker, baby gear expert, Jamie Grayson, The BabyGuyNYC. At the end of the event, everyone goes home with a giant gift bag, which is worth over two hundred dollars. Attendees purchase tickets to attend which start at $50 and go up to $300 (which include a crib mattress!)
In addition, Bump Club and Beyond hosts events with companies such as Target, Nordstrom, and The Honest Company. “Companies hire Bump Club and Beyond to create an in-store experience or brand experience,” says Pinchuk. These events include Mom's Night Out with The Honest Company, and BCBasics for Target: Registry 101. On top of that, BCB also hosts a series of webinars. “In Chicago, we were doing a ton of educational events for parents up to age five: potty training, sibling preparation, discipline and others. Parents across the country wanted to hear the talks too, so we moved them online creating a webinar series that parents all over can access and watch.” Webinars are hosted two to three times per month, and range in topics from expecting parents, new parents, and toddler parents.
To attend a Bump Club and Beyond event, all you need to do is sign up online. Some of the events are paid and some are free, all depending on the nature of the event. “We also have a parent perk program called BCB VIP, which has an enrollment fee, and gives you access to multiple discounts,” Pinchuk says. The BCB VIP program provides exclusive discounts on products, services, and fitness facilities across the country. In addition, BCB VIP gives discounts to any events or programs through Bump Club and Beyond. So, if you are a BCB VIP, you can attend any webinar for free, but if not, you must pay ten dollars to tune in.
Lindsay Pinchuk (center) and friends.
“Being a mom and having both of my children have been huge moments for Bump Club and Beyond because it allows me to connect with our audience, in a way that is totally unique from any other business owner,” Pinchuk says.
The long-term goal of Pinchuk for her business is to become a household name. “I want it to be the source, support, and authority for expecting parents and parent,” says Pinchuk. One of the main things that make Bump Club and Beyond different from other companies is the level of trust that they have with their audience. “The parents trust us in terms of our product and service picks and trust the experts we put in front of them, which I think is one of the most important things that BCB has done for our audience.”
With a staff of six full-time employees, including Pinchuk, BCB has never received outside funding. BCB also has a group of contractors and brand ambassador moms who help run events across the country. “We did two hundred events last year, our Instagram has over 20,000 followers, and our Facebook page has over 93,000 followers,” Pinchuk proudly states. To learn more about Bump Club and Beyond, visit their website and follow them on Instagram or Facebook.
"Sh*t!" my daughter exclaimed as she dropped her iPad to the floor. A little bit of context; my daughter Victoria absolutely loves her iPad. And as I watched her bemoan the possible destruction of her favorite device, I thought to myself, "If I were in her position, I'd probably say the exact same thing."
In the Rastegar family, a word is only a bad word if used improperly. This is a concept that has almost become a family motto. Because in our household, we do things a little differently. To put it frankly, our practices are a little unconventional. Completely safe, one hundred percent responsible- but sure, a little unconventional.
And that's because my husband Ari and I have always felt akin in one major life philosophy; we want to live our lives our way. We have dedicated ourselves to a lifetime of questioning the world around us. And it's that philosophy that has led us to some unbelievable discoveries, especially when it comes to parenting.
Ari was an English major. And if there's one thing that can be said about English majors, it's that they can be big-time sticklers for the rules. But Ari also thinks outside of the box. And here's where these two characteristics meet. Ari was always allowed to curse as a child, but only if the word fit an appropriate and relevant context. This idea came from Ari's father (his mother would have never taken to this concept), and I think this strange practice really molded him into the person he is today.
But it wasn't long after we met that I discovered this fun piece of Ari Rastegar history, and I got to drop a pretty awesome truth bomb on Ari. My parents let me do the same exact thing…
Not only was I allowed to curse as a child, but I was also given a fair amount of freedom to do as I wanted. And the results of this may surprise you. You see, despite the lack of heavy regulating and disciplining from my parents, I was the model child. Straight A's, always came home for curfew, really never got into any significant trouble- that was me. Not trying to toot my own horn here, but it's important for the argument. And don't get the wrong impression, it's not like I walked around cursing like a sailor.
Perhaps I was allowed to curse whenever I wanted, but that didn't mean I did.
And this is where we get to the amazing power of this parenting philosophy. In my experience, by allowing my own children to curse, I have found that their ability to self-regulate has developed in an outstanding fashion. Over the past few years, Victoria and Kingston have built an unbelievable amount of discipline. And that's because our decision to allow them to curse does not come without significant ground rules. Cursing must occur under a precise and suitable context, it must be done around appropriate company, and the privilege cannot be overused. By following these guidelines, Victoria and Kingston are cultivating an understanding of moderation, and at a very early age are building a social awareness about when and where certain types of language are appropriate. And ultimately, Victoria and Kingston are displaying the same phenomenon present during my childhood. Their actual instances of cursing are extremely low.
And beneath this parenting strategy is a deeper philosophy. Ari and I first and foremost look at parenting as educators. It is not our job to dictate who our children will be, how they shall behave, and what their future should look like.
We are not dictators; we are not imposing our will on them. They are autonomous beings. Their future is in their hands, and theirs alone.
Rather, we view it as our mission to show our children what the many possibilities of the world are and prepare them for the litany of experiences and challenges they will face as they develop into adulthood. Now, when Victoria and Kingston come across any roadblocks, they have not only the tools but the confidence to handle these tensions with pride, independence, and knowledge.
And we have found that cursing is an amazing place to begin this relationship as educators. By allowing our children to curse, and gently guiding them towards the appropriate use of this privilege, we are setting a groundwork of communication that will eventually pay dividends as our children grow curious of less benign temptations; sex, drugs, alcohol. There is no fear, no need to slink behind our backs, but rather an open door where any and all communication is rewarded with gentle attention and helpful wisdom.
The home is a sacred place, and honesty and communication must be its foundation. Children often lack an ability to communicate their exact feelings. Whether out of discomfort, fear, or the emotional messiness of adolescence, children can often be less than transparent. Building a place of refuge where our children feel safe enough to disclose their innermost feelings and troubles is, therefore, an utmost priority in shepherding their future. Ari and I have come across instances where our children may have been less than truthful with a teacher, or authority figure simply because they did not feel comfortable disclosing what was really going on. But with us, they know that honesty is not only appreciated but rewarded and incentivized. This allows us to protect them at every turn, guard them against destructive situations, and help guide and problem solve, fully equipped with the facts of their situation.
And as crazy as it all sounds- I really believe in my heart that the catalogue of positive outcomes described above truly does stem from our decision to allow Victoria and Kingston to curse freely.
I know this won't sit well with every parent out there. And like so many things in life, I don't advocate this approach for all situations. In our context, this decision has more than paid itself off. In another, it may exacerbate pre-existing challenges and prove to be only a detriment to your own family's goals.
As the leader of your household, this is something that you and you alone must decide upon with intentionality and wisdom.
Ultimately, Ari and I want to be the kind of people our children genuinely want to be around. Were we not their parents, I would hope that Victoria and Kingston would organically find us interesting, warm, kind, funny, all the things we aspire to be for them each and every day.
We've let our children fly free, and fly they have. They are amazing people. One day, when they leave the confines of our home, they will become amazing adults. And hopefully, some of the little life lessons and eccentric parenting practices we imparted upon them will serve as a support for their future happiness and success.