Two Toronto mothers with seven young children between them, including a newborn, and a set of twins each, both left their corporate jobs to pursue an entrepreneurial business venture: clubmom.
Clubmom’s flagship product, the clubmom shop-and-save card, began as a loyalty program in 2012, giving Toronto-area moms access to discounts at retailers and services across the GTA.
When done well, loyalty programs can keep customers coming back for repeat purchases, potentially turning a passerby customer into a loyal brand advocate.
“I always knew I wanted it to be more,” founder Tal Srulovicz said of clubmom.
“The business started as an innovative fundraiser at my kids’ school. The idea was to have a card that moms could use and that could be sold at different charities, schools, and hospitals, with participating schools receiving $10 back for every $30 card they sold. The name ‘clubmom’ captured all things ‘mom’ and would allow me to grow the business to more than just the card.”
Discounts range from 10 to 30 per cent, and the card has grown to include more than 200 vendors, including Canada’s Wonderland, Second Cup, Yogurty’s, Yogen Fruz, OLLY shoes, Higher Ground, What-A-Bagel, fashion retailer Thyme Maternity, and Canadian children’s clothing company Hatley.
Srulovicz and her partner, Stephanie Kleiman, met online.
“The business was growing very quickly, and Tal was looking for a partner, so she posted an ad online,” Kleiman said. “Our chemistry was great. I am a marketing person and complimented Tal’s background as a lawyer with fundraising and non-profit experience.”
With a business plan in place, Srulovicz and Kleiman set up the clubmom.ca website as an online destination for mothers to get sound advice and practical tips on how to shop and save money every day. Moms can also tap into the 20-plus expert panel of bloggers who provide original content each week on issues such as parenting, health, fitness, sex, relationships and entertainment.
“I set out to put together a team of bloggers with varied expertise. We wanted to be different than other bloggers out there targeting moms – we wanted to include professionals and experts to add content versus just mommy stories,” said Kleiman.
Clubmom has grown to 10,000 active users of its card program, and its website attracts 20,000 views per month.
“What makes us unique is that our vendors are hand-picked. We spend a lot of time networking with other moms, speaking to them about whom they want to see on board. At this point, we’re getting vendor referrals from our member base about who they want us to approach,” said Srulovicz.
“We are the demographic. We are targeting people like us: moms. Moms are our business and they talk a lot – whether in person or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. We have been fortunate with our more than 200 businesses that are promoting us to their clients. We have bright pink stickers in the windows of our participating vendors. Through our school fundraising, we have been able to reach out to moms via school newsletters to help us build the brand,” Kleiman added.
Clubmom’s focus in 2014 is to grow.
“Our goal for this year is to hit 300 vendors, and we want to expand the blog. We’re constantly adding bloggers, not just in the GTA, but also across Canada. We hope to build a presence in cities across Canada and grow nationally.
“We are currently re-launching the website to read as more of a magazine style, so that content is more forward and accessible,” said Srulovicz.
The shop-and-save loyalty card can be purchased for $30 on the website and is also available through charitable organizations, community fundraisers, most Jewish day schools, the Toronto District School Board and many private schools.