Made with Moonfruit: mater mea, as featured in the Huffington Post

With 14 issues under its belt and a substantial online presence (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, ), you might be surprised by the fact that online magazine mater mea didn’t exist just six months ago.

The site, which celebrates mothers of colour, was founded by New Yorkers Deborah Choi and Anthonia Akitunde, whose in-depth features are illustrated by the striking portraits of professional photographer and artist J. Quazi King.

Since this summer, the profile of the site has only risen and mater mea is now featured monthly in The Huffington Post’s Black Voices section – we got in touch to find out more about the inspiration behind its success.

Where did the idea for mater mea come from?

When looking at the ‘mommy’ blogosphere, we saw two noticeable gaps: a lack of focus on high-quality storytelling and a paucity of diverse representations of motherhood.

Deborah thought a blog addressing these two gaps would be, to quote a Facebook message she sent Anthonia in March, “killer.” Anthonia agreed.

After finding a talented photographer in J. Quazi King, we went about finding moms to feature on our launch site on Mother’s Day: Karen Tappin, the founder of Karen’s Body Beautiful, a line of natural hair care and body products; Alicia Hall Moran, a Broadway actress and singer; and Veronica Valentine of CIRCA, a leading buyer of fine jewellery.

Mater Mea

Lisa Johnson – Willingham Lisa Johnson-Willingham and her children Quincy (nine) and Noah (six).

What does mater mea aim to do?

mater mea presents a holistic view of modern motherhood using pictures and text. The moms we feature talk to us about their parenting philosophies as well as their careers, partnerships, and life stories in a very intimate setting: at home with their children.

We strive to make our content aspirational, inspirational, and instructional. Strong storytelling is at the heart of everything mater mea does, from the intimate photos of moms with their children to the feature-length profiles that accompany them. The photos and text work in tandem to create a full picture of these women who are not only mothers, but working professionals as well.

We hope our readers – whether they are moms, expecting, or not planning on having kids anytime soon – can be inspired and gain support from these fascinating women’s stories. By embracing the differences in each of our moms, we’re showing our readers that mothers come from all different walks of life.

Mengly Hernandez

Mengly Hernandez Mengly Hernandez and her 13-year-old son Ousame.

What have been your biggest successes?

Though we’ve been around for a relatively short period – six months – each day seems to bring more news to be excited about, such as new high-profile moms to feature or positive feedback from fans on our content and the site’s design. However, we’d have to say our biggest accomplishment to date would be our partnership with the Huffington Post’s Black Voices section. Every month the site’s editors choose a mater mea mom to feature on the Huffington Post. The partnership has driven thousands of viewers to the site, allowing us to extend our reach and find new and larger audiences.

How has being able to create and manage your own website benefited you?

From the start, we knew we wanted mater mea to have a highly original, elevated, and immersive reading and viewing experience. We wanted both our profiles and photography to take centre stage, and for us that meant a custom site solution. When we launched we weren’t at the stage to make the development investments to execute on our vision, so we sought a platform that would enable us to manage that creation in-house. Moonfruit provides the blank canvas for us to create and iterate on the fly.

Do you have any tips for other business owners setting up Moonfruit sites?

Instead of thinking about how websites normally look, think about what you want to achieve with a website. Then build something that enhances and complements that! Moonfruit’s platform really enables anyone to create a beautiful, useful, and engaging website with the only limitation being one’s imagination.

Visit the mater mea website.

Rebecca Stevens
Freelance Writer. Likes films, food, and funnies.

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