In 2013, Elle Walker turned to the internet for advice on how to handle a plane trip with her newborn daughter. She grew frustrated that she wasn’t able to find visually driven, reliable content to read and digest before her baby woke up from naptime. “[Moms] don’t have a lot of time, but we need this information and the camaraderie,” Walker says.
She reconnected with her former Stanford classmate Meg Resnikoff and another mom friend Connie Kin. Playdates at Walker’s house doubled as brainstorming meetings, and in June 2013, the trio launched their YouTube channel with four videos, including an introduction, broccoli soup how-to, restaurant survival bag and baby gender reveal. “When we told people we were going to create video content for moms, they didn’t believe in the concept,” Walker says. “Then we started getting positive comments and that gave us confidence and validation to keep moving forward.”
As the videos started gaining traction, the unthinkable happened. In November 2013, Kin—whose radiant personality in What’s Up Moms’ song parodies and “Mommy Hauls” helped her gain a loyal following—passed away unexpectedly from childbirth complications. She left behind her husband, Andrew, a 3-year-old son, newborn daughter and millions of devoted What’s Up Moms fans.
But with the full support of Kin’s husband, Walker and Resnikoff relaunched the channel with partner Brooke Mahan (already a guest host on the channel) and the team started producing videos three times a week. In 2014, the team scored their first big win: a Kohler-sponsored branded video. “Getting six million views on this and being praised for it in Ad Age made us confident that we were creating something unique in a valuable niche,” Resnikoff says. “At that point, we felt that if we committed to this, we could build something really big.”
Now, with 1.1 million YouTube subscribers and more than 35 million monthly video views, the What’s Up Moms team recently signed with talent agency CAA and are moving toward daily video content. No matter how big they get, Resnikoff says their mission remains the same: “We want to do whatever we can to make women’s jobs as moms easier and give a smile or laugh because we know they need that.”
Life in balance
“As moms we want to try to do everything and be everywhere, but in the end something always suffers,” Resnikoff says. “To me, you can ‘have it all,’ just not all at once. We’ve learned the importance of asking for help and picking great partners, from supportive husbands to coworkers.”
All in the family
“My kids went through a phase where they didn’t want to participate, and that was reflected in our content,” Resnikoff says. “But my 6-year-old daughter now wants to be in every cooking video. It’s a rare and unique situation to have your kids want to be involved in what you’re doing.”
“A lot of our ideas stem from personal experiences,” Walker says. “We see Facebook as a platform to connect with other moms to see if these concepts are relatable and things the audience cares about. The topics we cover evolve and mature with this feedback.”
The sisterhood of motherhood
“The videos have evolved to be more about moms as a whole rather than us as individuals. Our ongoing goal is to work with more moms, whether it’s working moms, stay-at-home moms or ethnically diverse moms,” Resnikoff says. “We’ve always wanted to represent and showcase as many moms as we can and make this a community-driven platform.”