North Side Mom 'Bumps' Up Mommy Resources
What started as a fitness event geared toward mommies-to-be has grown into a club that literally addresses every aspect of motherhood, from the best baby gear to fashion advice. But Bump Club and Beyond has benefits even its founder never saw coming.
Lindsay Pinchuk had no idea in March 2010 that impacting so many mothers and their families was just a hop, skip and a bump away.
The Bucktown entrepreneur started Bump Club and Beyond—formerly known as Bump Club Chicago—while pregnant with her now 2-year-old daughter. She expanded the venture in January 2011 to Austin, TX; and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN; enhancing a network that, in many ways, already had an unmeasurable reach.
"It can be kind of isolating as an expectant mother if you don't know anyone else who's pregnant or a mom," Pinchuk said Monday, while seated in a cozy Lincoln Park coffee shop. "… The whole reason I did this was to meet other expectant moms."
Bump Club started with a prenatal workout class and morphed into what it is today—one of the largest social event companies in Chicago, Austin and Minneapolis-St. Paul. It offers dozens of events each month that work to reach mothers and connect them to others facing similar life challenges and celebrations.
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Pinchuk estimates that as many as 20,000 people in the U.S. interact regularly with the Bump Club brand, whether by attending events and expert panels or reaching out virtually. The company is dedicated to exposing moms and moms-to-be with the best products, resources, experts and peers, according to its mission statement.
After that first fitness event, "it all kind of snowballed," Pinchuk said, noting that she left her advertising job at Good Housekeeping magazine to pursue what she knew in her heart was a necessary resource for she and other moms-to-be. Since then, Bump Club has flourished along with her family and social circles.
"I always said that I would grow my business with my baby," she said. "At one point, she had a biting problem, so I brought in an expert who talked about disciplinary issues. … She used to be a champion eater and then when she stopped being that way, I had a nutritionist come in and talk to moms about feeding their babies. Now, I'm hosting toddler events."
Programs offered at Bump Club are cyclical, just like pregnancy and "mommyhood," Pinchuk said. For example, just because she's no longer pregnant doesn't mean expectant mother events cease to exist.
"We've never lost our original programs and our original events," she said. "We just add to them as the needs change. … I listen to my moms, I listen to their needs and I respond by offering programs and events that will reach and best serve them."
Among those hooked by Pinchuk's innovative programming is River North resident Theresa Rutherford. The 32-year-old mother of two met one of her closest friends more than two years ago while pregnant with her first child, she said.
"We were due around the same time," she said. "We both had boys and then we both got pregnant again and had girls. … I feel thankful for Lindsay almost every day because I know that Bump Club started off as a small social events company. Now it's so big, but Lindsay herself is the same. She's still looking out for all of our best interests."
Rutherford noted that the club has not only helped her facilitate long-lasting friendships for herself, but for her children, too. It's that trickle effect that has made the business venture so rewarding, Pinchuk said, recalling a recent baby naming party she attended.
"There were about 20 of these moms sitting together who met in Bump Club and all their kids were playing together," she said, gleaming. "Then you look around and the husbands are talking and forming those friendships. It's really funny."
Creating breakout groups within the Bump Club community is what it's all about, she said, and events are open to all mothers who are interested. They can opt to join a VIP group of moms, attend programs "a la carte" or engage virtually, such as subscribing to a plethora of blogs or interacting with the group's Facebook page.
Leslie Weigandt, of Lake View, does it all, she says. As a "super mom" in Bump Club, she volunteers to help with area events and even hosts her own.
"It's incredible to see how big the group is in Chicago," she said. "The hospital has all kinds of classes, too, but there's just something about these Bump Club events that make it seem more fun and exciting. It's probably because there are so many other people going through the same thing."
Pinchuk prides the club on bringing the best experts in the country to talk to her moms, she said. Her advice to expectant or new moms?
"Get out of the house," she said. "I encourage my moms to get out at least once a day because you can get really lonely. Use the resources that we've created for you. … I love seeing moms together, whether they met at Bump Club or not. Truly, you need that."
For more information about Bump Club and Beyond, check out the group's website or Facebook page. The club is hosting the "Biggest Coolest Bazaar" Dec. 6, which, in addition to creating connections among moms, is aimed at benefitting two charities close to Pinchuk's heart—More Than Milk and Share Our Spare.