When you're lucky, what you love to do for fun is also your career – which is the happy truth of Amy Bellgardt's life as founder of Mom Spark, an online community for moms that includes recipes, product reviews, arts, crafts, travel, and design. Founded in 2008 as a personal project, Mom Spark has since grown into a large, vibrant community of fun-loving work-at-home/stay-at-home moms and is a recent addition to the Say Media network.
We caught up with Amy right after she returned from a Red Carpet Hollywood Premiere of the Iron Man 3 to find out what's catching her eye this season, how she likes to work with brands – and how her site led to her becoming an executive producer of her own indie film.
For those that are new to your site, what are some great posts to start with? Mom Spark includes a wide range of categories that includes food, fashion, travel, DIY and more. Right now, our most popular posts are DIY Craft: Bright Colorful Mason Jars with Mod Podge Tutorial, No-Brainer Recipe: Strawberry Cheesecake Squares and Fashion Friday: Nail Wrap Style. As you can see, Mom Spark has a little bit of everything that moms can enjoy!
Was there one post or a series of posts that put Mom Spark on the map? Our No-Brainer Recipes, easy recipes that require only a few ingredients, have been popular throughout the years, so I would say that put Mom Spark on the map. My goal for the No-Brainer Recipes was to provide busy moms with simple recipes that could be put together with little effort at home and the reception has been amazing.
What are your most popular crafts or DIYs? We have recently put together a popular series of Shoe Makeovers that take ordinary shoes and transforms them into something special. This series has also been recently recognized by All You magazine!
What opportunities has your site opened up for you that wouldn't have happened otherwise? Too many too count! Mom Spark has allowed me to travel on several press trips all over the country, including a visit to the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens, Coca-Cola Headquarters and even on the Red Carpet in Hollywood! I have also received several brand partnerships over the years, as well as national exposure in various publications.
You have a great eye for products and design finds. What's catching your eye for the summer? Color! I see bright colors for this summer’s fashion trend, including neon hues. Color blocking is also a fun trend I am seeing in fashion magazines, so I plan on experimenting with that as well. Just a few years ago, I was scared of wearing color, but I am ready to embrace it!
You've turned your site into a serious business. What do you credit as your secret? My secret is that there is no secret! The answer is simple - hard work and passion. I wake up each morning excited and honored to work on my site. My days do not feel like work because I love doing it. I always strive to make the quality of my work better, which keeps pushing my site to the next level.
I also have to credit networking. In my 5 years of blogging, I have continued to network with bloggers and brands at conferences, press events and local gatherings. As with any business, networking has also provided several opportunities that has added to Mom Spark’s success.
What other moms are your soulmates in style? What other online sites do you enjoy? Where do I begin? One of my good friends, Crissy Page, has a beautiful and inspiring site, DearCrissy.com, with stellar photography and content. One of my writers, Desiree Fawn from So Fawned, has modern, unique style that adds a special flavor to Mom Spark, so I have to include her as well. I am also a huge fan of Free People’s blog, Bldg 25, for design, decor and fashion inspiration.
Where do you get your inspiration for posts that will appeal to other mothers? I get most of my inspiration from my daily life. Whether it be a recipe I pulled off successfully at home, a trip to a new state or country, a visit to the thrift shop, or a new addition to my wardrobe, inspiration lives everywhere, you just have to stop and look around.
How do you like to work with brands? What have been some of your favorite brand projects and why? Most of my partnerships with brands include sponsored stories, traditional advertising, Twitter parties and social media strategy. One of my favorite brand projects was a partnership with Duncan Hines that included a giveaway to the Duncan Hines Test Kitchens for one of my readers and me! To have the chance to meet one of my readers in real life at such a unique, fun event is extremely special. I loved Duncan Hines’ out-of-the-box idea for the campaign.
What's something your readers would be surprised to learn about you? Something about me that my readers may be shocked to know is that I am also an Executive Producer for the independent full feature film, Army of Frankensteins, that my husband is currently producing. As one of two Executive Producers, I am providing funding for the film, all as a result of my blogging income!
Follow Amy and Mom Spark on Twitter @MomSpark.