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Written by Megan Martin, a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.
Recently, Bobbie announced that they were opening up a unique investment opportunity through an initiative called The MotherLode. Unlike with most fundraising rounds, where male-dominated VC firms become major stakeholders in growing start-ups like Bobbie, The MotherLode flipped the script. It opted to give customers — mothers, parents, and anyone interested in a healthy future for kids and the planet — the opportunity to invest in Bobbie, and in turn gain equity in a company they believe in. Needless to say, the idea had wings.
Within a mere three hours of opening The Motherlode, they were fully subscribed. Potential investors are now being waitlisted. The groundswell of interest from the community spoke volumes. Women care deeply about their financial futures. Bobbie’s new investment model opens the door for women to declare financial independence and create nest eggs for themselves and their families.
Bobbie’s founder, Laura Modi, sat down with a Bobbie investor who we all know and love— Laura Dern. The award-winning actress and mother of two opened up about feeding her children baby formula, why money isn’t a dirty word, how she wants to empower the next generation of mothers to become investors — and how Bobbie’s The MotherLode is setting a new precedent for them to do just that.
Laura Modi: We get the two Laura’s together. I’m so excited to chat with you today!
Laura Dern, you have become truly one of the biggest inspirations, not just from the work and professional side, but on the personal side. You are like Mother Earth in every way. Like truly, me becoming a mom, just being able to turn to the way you’ve done things is a huge inspiration. I’ve often referred to you as a force without being forceful, both professionally and personally.
Laura Dern: That was beautiful. Thank you.
Laura Modi: For those who don’t know, Laura is an investor in Bobbie and is guiding us as we think about what we’re doing to remove the stigma, in regards to our product, and about money, moms, and the program we rolled out, The MotherLode.
Laura Dern: Woo hoo!
Women investing in women
Laura Modi: Tell me from your own words, why are you an investor in Bobbie?
Laura Dern: How we nourish and feed and care for our newborn baby is such an overwhelming and protective experience; and one that most of us are not educated on until the day they arrive. For me, for both children and for different reasons, I ended up needing to turn to supplemental formula. One was for a health issue, and in one case, having been fortunate enough to nurse my daughter, there was a period of time that she wanted more milk and I needed to get it for her. I was literally shopping for milk, which was an amazing and sad experience here in the U.S., and I learned very quickly about the options that were available in Europe and how we did not have the same standards here in the U.S. nutritionally or even just in terms of product itself.
I am just heartbroken that Bobbie was not around at that time! So I’m really thrilled and grateful to you, Laura, that I get to be part of this mission to help other mothers be empowered with something incredibly safe and an amazing, beautiful product for their babies.
My mother only recently talked to me about the grief and stigma of shame that she still carries about not having nursed me and being told on the day I was born, “Oh, you can’t nurse. Your body isn’t set up for nursing,” which no one even explained was because of how I was latching on.
She still, I mean, now in her eighties, says she cries sometimes about the fact that she didn’t push against the doctors and try to nurse, and how sad she was that a product like Bobbie wasn’t around then. So it’s been very healing for she and I thanks to my relationship with you guys.
Laura Modi: Laura, you had formula. Look at how you turned out. Seriously.
What is The Motherlode?
Laura Modi: First off, when you think about MotherLode, how is this different to everything else out there? When you first heard about it, what were your thoughts?
Laura Dern: I was beside myself with excitement. As you remember, in the first call we had to discuss The MotherLode, I was euphoric. We’d been having conversations about money and about how dirty a word money is in culture. You’ve brought up the fact that I said it seems like money is a harder word to talk about than sex. It’s more of a taboo.
As a female, growing up in my family, growing up in my industry around other females, the conversation of money was off the table. And investing? Forget about it. So the fact that this is this gorgeous female-inspired and -run company for moms, that you would open up this round to say to moms, “Help us build this and get equity from it. Let’s build this together,” was just magic to me. I think it’s incredible.
Moms have the buying power
Laura Dern: Moms don’t know the power they have on social media. But moms are driving these companies, moms have massively built and supported Amazon. Moms are a huge component to viewership on streaming services. Moms go to the movies. Moms are a massive consumer. So how gorgeous that you guys are now helping support and teach women and moms, how to feel empowered, how to be investors, how to — on any scale that they’re investing — to feel that they have equity in something. And that it’s healthy for the planet and healthy for our children.
Laura Modi: One of the things that really bothered me as I started to get into this world was it felt like an old boys’ club — the jargon, the lingo. If you didn’t understand what a P/E ratio was, you should just not get into this world. How do we break that down? And how do we make access and knowledge easier for moms to be able to enter?
Laura Dern: It is a time of companies needing to look at who’s building their company, what their boardroom looks like, all the way to who their investors are, and who has access to their product. [Bobbie is] considering this in every area. And I pray that with this mission— we, the collective, every one of you who’s invested— that we are sending a message to other companies, and that’s really exciting.
Women have taken a back seat to their financial independence
Laura Dern: We know as women, and as moms, and particularly in underrepresented communities, this last year has just added to the trauma of trying to feel like you could get a leg up to ever support your family. So let’s give back to moms who’ve had to take a back seat to their own dreams or their financial independence and say, “We’re a company that’s all about you prioritizing your children’s safety, health, and wellbeing. When you invest in us, we’re investing in you. We want to give you the space to be leaders in your own home.” You’re making choices that are harder. You’re making choices that are deeply complicated. You should have equity in the choice of being a mother, not like, “Oh, she’s choosing to be a mom. So she’s not going to have a career.” It’s like, the career should be motherhood.
Laura Modi: Yes. We need to redefine, as we always say, I’m a working mom, maybe let’s flip it.
I’m a MOM working. Like, why doesn’t mom come first?
Laura Dern: I love it. Absolutely.
Laura Modi: Ladies, gentlemen. You heard it here first. This is a social justice issue. Laura Dern has said this is a social justice issue, and it’s so true.
Women want to invest in companies they use, they believe in, they’re behind
Laura Modi: We launched The MotherLode and within three hours it was fully subscribed. I think it was validation for the fact that women don’t just want to invest in anything. They want to invest in companies that they use, they believe in, they’re behind. And because ultimately, just like you said, investing is not just about the dollars you put in. Brands today will live and die based on their users, their consumers, the public, and what they’re doing to support the growth of that business. And they should return value in it. I mean, it is a new way of running a company.
Laura Dern: And you launching this with that three-hour success story should be messaging to other companies and other brands that this is the way to go. We were raised to believe there was going to be one seat at the table for a woman. There was a lot of scarcity and terror, and women were not a team of helping lift each other up. We have to take responsibility for that too. Right? With that story of men saying, “Okay, maybe we’ll let one of you have power,” there became this scramble of competition in so many industries, in all workplace environments. And now women have learned when we crack that door open, they’re going to have to let us all in.
Laura Modi: Let us in.
Women and financial independence
Laura Modi: Let’s talk about financial independence. You were quoted saying that there is more shame talking about money than there is about sex. And that is a bold statement, Laura.
Laura Dern: And it’s true!
Laura Modi: So what are the hard questions? What makes it dirty? And actually even better, what advice should we be giving women and moms to not see it as a dirty word?
Laura Dern: And for our daughters as we’re raising them. Money is a dirty word. Ambitious is a dirty word. Power is a dirty word. Smart has been a dirty word. We know that from political campaigns. It has been incredibly hard for women to not be stereotyped with these words as though they are negatives and something we don’t want in positions of power. That is the massive shift.
I remember when I had done my first movie and now I had to have a tax return and I didn’t understand anything. You watch the money come in, you watch the money go out. If you’re lucky, you have a tiny bit left. I was a new mom and no one ever talked about college trust funds and if grandparents want to give money, and even if it’s a few hundred dollars, lock it away and it can grow over those 18 years.
No one’s talking to moms
Laura Dern: Women with lots of money were never talked to about money. Women with a tiny bit of money felt too embarrassed to ask, “Should I take a hundred dollars and invest it safely in an account that can grow over time for my son when he’s 21 and wants to go to law school or be able to buy a car and travel to work?” No one ever had these discussions. So it’s time.
How to shake the stigma on women and investing
Laura Modi: Similar to shaking the stigma on formula feeding, to shake the stigma on anything, you need to talk about it and you need to be open about it.
I’m going to close with three power questions and get your reaction to them. So first off, besides Bobbie of course, what other industry or product would you see an opportunity to invest in?
Laura Dern: The most seamless for everyone and without question, which would include Bobbie, for women and mothers, is the future of the planet. Green energy, sustainability, companies that prioritize the health and wellbeing of our people and our planet.
I’ve been learning about companies that are doing extraordinary things in the area of alternative farming, alternative fuel, how we get our food. We as moms are the largest consumer of food.
Laura Modi: I’m fortunate to sit on the board of a nonprofit, Eat REAL, that is supporting school food, because believe it or not, the school food system is the largest fast food chain in this country. If we don’t change what kids are eating in schools, it is going to impact their health for the rest of their life.
Okay, next question. Do you believe that movies have a role to play in changing the stigma around women and money?
Laura Dern: 100%. Many voices in film, writers and filmmakers, men and women, are considering the conversation. So that’s very exciting. We’re already seeing that sea change now that women writer-directors have the opportunity to make their own movies. One I was privileged to be part of last year, which was the remake of Little Women, Greta Gerwig in her adaptation looked at the film and beautifully created a narrative that was all about women and independence and money in publishing. Louisa May Alcott is an incredible example of that — as the film reveals — in being brilliant enough to deal with her publishers, to not take money upfront when she needed it desperately, but to keep her publishing rights.
The power of women’s voices
Laura Modi: If there was one habit that you would advise moms to start today in order to begin their journey to financial independence, what is that one habit?
Laura Dern: I think educating ourselves together, on the power of our voices through consumerism and social media, and using our voices, starting the conversation on social media and with other friends. We have so much more power than anyone has told us. It’s using it.
Laura Modi: Moms can create the movement and hopefully we’ve helped spur it along.
Laura Dern: Laura, you our inspiration and our leader on this. So thank you for the bravery that it takes to share your own journey with nursing, formula, becoming a mom. And all the vulnerability that it takes to then say, “I want to help others. I want to make this easy for others, and I want to help them build not only their children’s health and safety, but also their own financial independence.” That’s so bad ass and exciting,
Laura Modi: Let’s go make these moms a lot of money then.
Laura Dern: Let’s do it.
Celebrating investors of The Motherlode
Laura Modi: What would you like to say to those who joined The Motherlode and have invested in our brand?
Laura Dern: Congratulations! Fellow investor moms, we are now officially investors in Bobbie. We are The Motherlode. I am so excited, I can hear that closing bell, you are officially an investor in your own financial future. And you’ve done it by caring so deeply about your child’s health and well being. I am so excited to share this moment with you. Let’s make other companies be as considerate and as empowering as Bobbie!