Mompreneur of the Month: Emma Weisberg of Blinkbuggy: Reinventing the “baby book” for today’s parents
By Stephanie Ila Silver-Silberstein
Good luck finding a mom whose hard drive isn’t filled to the brim with jpegs and video files. And maybe there are a few first-time moms out there who managed to fill in all the details of an actual baby book. But those second and third kids? Yeah, they’re totally screwed. But thanks to the ingenuity of mompreneur Emma Weisberg, parents can take advantage of the genius resource that is Blinkbuggy. Now, parents can create a virtual baby book filled with photos, milestones, quotes and memories for their kids to enjoy throughout their lives. Friends and relatives can also contribute to the making of this online life story. It’s all there…in one place…thanks to Blinkbuggy. BN had the pleasure of chatting with Emma Weisberg. Read on to learn more about this mommy-mastermind who’s taking baby scrapbooks into the new millennium.
BN: Write your bio in 5 sentences or less (i.e. where’d you grow up?, where’d you go to school?, job before kids?, how many kids?, where do you live now? Hobbies? etc.)
EW: I was born in California but moved to Westchester, New York, at a young age and lived there in a small town called Chappaqua until college. I went to college in Ann Arbor, Michigan and business school in Barcelona, Spain. After business school, I spent seven and a half years at Google until I left to start my own business. I now live on the Upper West Side of NYC with my husband and two amazing children. At this point, my children are my only hobby outside of my start-up, ha!
BN: What inspired you to start your own business? How did it all begin?
EW: It was a wonderful intersection between my personal life and professional life. When my daughter was born, I started a gmail account for her because I knew I wanted to write to her throughout her life. I would send quick thoughts and milestones, as well as longer form entries with links to the associated photo albums, videos, etc. I also sent the email address around to family and close friends telling them I would be writing to my daughter throughout her life and asking that they also write to her and share their experiences of her or send her pictures so she could also see and read memories from other people when she grew up. I quickly realized that I wanted something more, something that allowed me to really capture ALL of the different memories that were happening on a daily basis, something that told the full “story” of her life and those in it. I searched around but couldn’t find a perfect fit (or even anything better than the gmail account) and neither could any of my other mom friends. As a long-time Google employee, I was constantly exposed to the power and limitless potential and promise of the Internet. Additionally, as part of my job, I spent a lot of time researching and thinking about the behaviors of the ‘mom’ consumer online. In 2011, my professional experience and my personal experience of becoming a new mom melded together and Blinkbuggy was born!
BN: What challenges did you face when starting Blinkbuggy?
EW: Everything was a challenge because it was all new to me, but an exciting challenge! The area where I struggled the most was in understanding the technical requirements for the business and identifying the right people and resources to work with me on the tech side. I had a business background, not a technical one, therefore my technical knowledge base and certainly my network, were much weaker. It’s still a challenge today, but it’s also rewarding to see how far we’ve come on this front.
BN: What are some of your favorite activities to do with your kids (in or around NYC)?
EW: The Discovery Room in the American Museum of Natural History. This is one of our absolute favorite spots! It’s the one place where kids are allowed, actually encouraged, to touch and feel everything, open any drawer and explore without boundaries. The afternoon performance of the Nutcracker at the NYC Ballet. The Nutcracker was one of my most special childhood memories/traditions and now I get to share this with my daughter (and son when he’s old enough). I took her last year for her first time (she was 3 years old) and it was a very special, fun and exciting event! The best part about the afternoon performance is that the audience is almost entirely young children with their parents, so it’s extremely kid-friendly. There is no need to stress about your child talking too loudly or running out for the bathroom in the middle of the performance because everyone is doing it and everyone understands. It’s probably the only ballet you can say that about!
BN: You’re on a desert island…with your kids – name 5 must-have items you’ll want with you.
1. Yogurts, but only the kind that you drink with a straw (and the straws too of course)
4. A puzzle that has animals & fairies in it
5. P.D. Eastman or Dr. Seuss book
BN: What are your goals for the future of Blinkbuggy (realistic or in your wildest dreams)?
EW: 1. To build the product that I wished I’d had when my daughter was born. 2. To create a company people are proud to work for.
Thanks for chatting with us, Emma and thanks for creating a company all parents can truly appreciate.