Image courtesy Rachel Blumenthal
Interview

Rachel Blumenthal

08.13.15

It’s impossible to know what motherhood will be like until there is a baby in your arms. All the prep and research and worrying is tough to abate, and with so much information, often conflicting information, it can make the “right” decisions pre-baby even harder to commit to. Enter Cricket’s Circle – the brainchild of Rachel Blumenthal – THE ultimate pre and post baby lifestyle blog. When pregnant with my first child, I too, experienced prep overload. So. Much. Information. It was completely overwhelming, and because I didn’t know how to break down and apply perfectly what I was reading and turn it into the perfect nursery or the perfect packed hospital bag – I felt like this reflected my innate mommy-sense. When a friend recommended Cricket’s Circle as a resource I quickly discovered everything I had been longing for throughout my pregnancy. Cricket’s Circle is a beautifully designed, elegant blog that delivers content in a concise and helpful way. Rachel and her team have achieved a hard-to-earn trust between the writing and their readers. Due to Rachel’s vision and guidance, Cricket’s Circle is like the close, non-judgmental, experienced friend every woman should have throughout their pregnancy and early childhood years of raising their baby.

Interview

What inspired the launch of Cricket’s Circle? Was it before or after you had your first child?

After over 30+ hours of researching, cross referencing and annoying too many friends, I knew there had to be a better way to figure out what I needed for my baby. I also knew I wasn’t the only one having that experience and the more people I shared my frustration with, the more confident I became in the potential of the idea being a business opportunity. I was determined to simplify the lives of new and expectant women by doing the work for them and giving them the confidence to make better buying decisions for their baby. I came up with the idea for a one-stop shopping resource while I was pregnant with Griffin, my first child, but the planning and launch didn’t occur until after he was born.

Did you anticipate the enormous positive feedback?

I had a gut feeling Cricket’s Circle would be the solution pregnant women and new moms were looking for but you never know. The response since launch has been overwhelmingly appreciative, effusive and authentic. It’s been so validating to hear women’s stories and specific instances of how Cricket’s Circle has helped them. It’s fun to hear that we’ve become a daily resource for them, not only for product recommendations and easing the registry process, but also for content that tells it to them straight – just like hearing from a friend. It’s been incredibly exciting to be a part of such a pivotal life stage for these women and my hope is that we’ll continue to be an essential destination for her both now and in the future.

How large is your team?

We are a team of 7.

The way you synthesize information makes preparing for baby so much easier. Who does this research? Is your team constantly testing products?

Cricket’s Circle comprises a core team of parents and editors, and an extended network of parents around the country. It’s our real-life experiences with these strollers, straw cups, and nipple pads (yep, that’s a thing!) that dictate what makes the cut. Our “inner circle” of parents curates the best products in each category on Cricket’s Circle. Spanning ages and locations, they’re urban and suburban, parents to one, two, three or more — so Cricket’s Circle receives diverse opinions. A must-have product for one parent may be a nonessential to another, which is why users are asked to take a quiz to help us understand the lifestyles of each user before we recommend items.

Obviously, the blog’s role in a new mother’s life is equivalent to a well informed, experienced friend. How do you work to establish the trust between your readers and your content?

We approach writing our stories as we would approach talking to a friend. If it’s not concise, direct and honest, why bother. It’s this authenticity, the lack of sugar-coating while also not being a fear-monger that cuts to the chase and holds her hand through all of these exciting, confusing and overwhelming stages.

Do you anticipate developing an in-house product line?

Absolutely. After testing as many products as we have, we have endless opinions (!) and know where there are opportunities in the market.

What are the top five products or equipment a new mother should own?

Medela Freestyle Pump – It got me through 9 months, several countries and more strange places of pumping than I ever care to remember and the Snugabell hands-free pumping bra (essential for anyone pumping).

Fisher Price Little Lamb Swing – This is THE ONLY swing babies like (though your chic mid century living room, not so much). Buy the ugliest one you can find – the brighter the colors, the happier your baby.

Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress – Your baby will log countless hours sleeping in her crib (well, fingers crossed!), so you want to be sure the mattress isn’t giving off toxic fumes. We love this one for its dual-stage option (use for baby and toddler) and high quality. Plus it’s lightweight, so changing sheets is actually not annoying.

Britax B-Agile – We love this lightweight deluxe stroller for its versatility – durable for everyday use and super easy to collapse and maneuver for travel.

The Miracle Blanket – the simplest, most amazing swaddle for every little Houdini.

Have you discovered a game-changing product throughout this process?

UpSpring’s Milkscreen which are litmus strips to test your milk after drinking, 7AM Enfant’s WarmMuffs for the cold months, UppaBaby’s new Vista stroller and basically anything Fisher Price. My daughter Gemma is obsessed with the Fisher Price Rainforest Friends Jumparoolately.

In your experience interacting with new moms, and pregnant women – are there concerns or questions you hear over and over?

Every mom or pregnant woman just wants to be the best they can be for their baby. Generally we’re all freaked out about not being prepared or doing something wrong but ultimately we underestimate our gut mommy sense which is huge.

What’s next for the blog? How will you continue to grow?

We’re excited to grow our community of expecting and new moms – and continue to get their feedback, making Cricket’s Circle the number one resource for baby prep and beyond. We’re focused on creating as much content specific to each of the milestones our members are experiencing with their children. Beyond this, we’re exploring some fresh brand partnerships. More on that to come later this year!

Do you have an average day? What’s it like?

These days my morning starts super early – I pump while I check email before the kids wake up. Griffin is usually up first, he’s extra snuggly when he first wakes up and we lie on the couch and watch tv until Gemma gets up. Then Neil and I struggle to get Griffin dressed, fed and covered in sunscreen before he’s off to camp while keeping Gemma happy – she’s very social (yes, at 2 months old!) and actually demands we talk to her which can become challenging in the chaos of the morning routine.

Once Griffin is off to camp our nanny arrives so I can get ready for work. Then my day is loaded with internal and external meetings – with pumping sessions in between every three hours (my 2nd job these days!). I try to do a bar class at Physique 3 days a week and Tuesdays are date night!

Are you and your family doing anything fun this summer?

In the summer, we love to spend as much time as we can at the beach. Gemma was born in early June, so we spent the second week of her life out at the beach together as a family. Now that I’m back to work, we are at the beach Friday-Sunday. Weekends are all about family time and seeing friends. We have an open door policy with our friends and pool hop at each other’s houses when we’re not at the beach. As city people, it’s pretty special to see how something as simple as sand, grass and a garden hose can make a child happy. Griffin recently got his first play electric police car that he gets to drive around the backyard – I can basically get him to do anything in exchange for the fear of losing his car. Anyone who says they don’t bribe their kids is lying!

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