Mansi Zaveri: “The Parenting & Baby Care Category Doesn’t Really Have Any Legacy Media”
The global digital space, today, is all about the survival of the fittest. And in India, it’s a race to the finish. Either you capture a loyal audience or you’re out of the game. So in the unfiltered world of the internet, how do you make your mark? How do you make sure your platform garners the following it rightfully deserves?
Well, these women we feature in our Women In Digital series this month can teach you a thing or two about that. Having founded and established popular content platforms with high traction, these smart, sassy, digital natives are putting India on the global map. If you want a piece of the digital pie, we suggest you take notes.
After having spent 10 years in the corporate world, Mansi Zaveri, a mother of 2 young girls, decided to fill a gap in the Indian parenting and baby care market by launching Kids Stop Press, a one-stop guide for urban mothers who are just trying to do one thing — the best for their children.
With a first mover’s advantage of sorts, Mansi quickly overcame obstacles like brand suspicion about the digital medium to build a brand that has a loyal and engaged community of over a million users today. She chats with Hauterfly on what made her take the plunge and how she stays motivated every day.
Walk us through your career trajectory, and what led you to start a digital media company.
I am a marketing and communications professional with over 10 years of experience in the corporate world. After doing an MBA in marketing, I worked in industries like advertising and branding, retail, lifestyle, and now finally in digital media. My last assignment was as the Head of Marketing & Communications for French Connection UK (FCUK) in India. What seemed like the most attractive job to many ceased to excite me after the initial years, where I realised that in the corporate setup designations change but roles remain the same.
I had my first child while at FCUK, and when I travelled with her extensively across the globe, I spotted the gap in the Indian market where all the platforms we were consuming for parenting and baby care were quite foreign to us. That was the starting point. Kids Stop Press was conceived in June 2011, two years after my first child was born.
As a first-time mother, there are just so many questions/doubts/anxieties that we go through in an attempt to provide the best to our children. We are always in a dilemma about whether what we are doing is right or wrong. Being a full-time working mom back then, I had limited access to what moms would discuss on what is good, bad, tried-and-tested with children, but what I did have was access to technology.
On an average, urban Indian parents between the age of 24–40 spend 70% of their time in front of a screen, be it an iPad, computer, or smartphone. So why is information not accessible to us in that format? That’s when I started thinking about how I could combine both. A lot of information is available, but it is so scattered that I wanted a one-stop guide to raising kids and having fun while doing it.
India as a market is so diverse, culturally, socially, and physically, that it paved way for an idea. In my journey to discover the best for my child, I also understood that the only person whose opinion matters to me when I am deciding something for my child is another mother. Unless I hear the experiences from another mother, I probably won’t trust it. Kids Stop Press was founded with a vision to create a unifying digital platform for the discerning Indian parent, who was looking at global resources to raise kids in India to help them simplify parenting.
Tell us a little bit about what makes your company special/different.
KSP simplifies parenting with its multi-pronged approach of connecting parents through various touch points in their lives, across digital platforms and at every milestone in their parenting journey. We create unique marquee properties, such as the first family subscription business with KSPCODE.com, the first radio station for kids, KSP Awards — the only one awarding excellence in parenting and baby care — an online book club for kids, and curated summer planners and camp guides.
Kids Stop Press has had the biggest advantage of building trust in the parenting community and building a consumer-focussed business. Our biggest strength lies in the fact that we provide a curated experience to our readers, versus a mass-produced list, with first-hand reviews of all things new. We share real moms’ challenges and journeys, and that has helped our readers tremendously, and helped us with over 35% repeat users.
At what point in your journey did you realise you had something special on your hands?
There wasn’t any one moment when I realised this, but I knew Kids Stop Press was helping many parents in many ways, and that joy of sharing was something that always pushed me to work harder.
The other moment was when I had my team reach out saying they wanted to work with me because Kids Stop Press made such a difference to their lives that they wanted to belong to that force.
Starting a company is no easy feat. What’s been the most rewarding part of the process?
It’s definitely not easy, but when you see the happy faces at work and how an all-women team — some working remotely — can combine forces and work together as one, it’s exhilarating. It’s great to know that we can pull off any project that we dream of, including the Kids Stop Press Awards — where we received a whopping 60,000 entries for our awards, and put up a fabulous show — and I think it’s all worth it.
Where do you think you’ve had your biggest struggles, and how have you overcome them?
I think my only struggle is with time. As an entrepreneur managing a team that is constantly growing, we just have 24 hours in a day and there is always so much to do. If only there were a way to change that.
Also, initially, it was hard to get brands/clients to understand the power of digital. We have quite literally built this category. Right from educating the brands, devising their digital strategies, to now seeing exclusive budgets allocated for digital alone — it’s been a fabulous journey.
Any challenges you face as a digital company versus a legacy media publication? How do you think you score over legacy media?
In the early years, yes, we had a hard time explaining and educating brands about the power of the digital medium, but that has changed significantly. Additionally, the parenting and baby care category doesn’t really have any legacy media, so to speak. So Kids Stop Press, in many ways, has an open turf and advantage of innovating all the time, and creating landmark properties.
What, in your opinion, is the best thing about being a digital company?
It’s got to be the speed of implementation and the power of reaching so many lives at one go. I also enjoy the suspense that comes with many stories that we share. It’s an unpredictable business, and you don’t know how the parenting universe is going to react to a story.
Lessons you’ve learned along the way that hold you in good stead today?
Stay humble, nimble, disciplined, and persistent.
If you had to go back and start over, is there anything you would do differently?
Build the team I have today much earlier.
What else can we expect from your website in the future? Where do you go from here?
Kids Stop Press is all about innovation and we are looking at making it a seamless experience for Indian parents across the globe. I want to keep adding more to this enormous brand that we have created, and really redefine the parenting universe. 2017 will be a key year for us and you will have to wait and watch!