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Montana-based Mamalode Brings Parenting Respite to the World, with Skype

For many moms (and dads alike), “me-time” is rare and precious. With that in mind, a small business in Montana has created a place online where parents can escape throughout the day to find a slice of community and connection. And with the help of Skype, their rural surroundings are no barrier to business.

Founder Elke Govertsen and publisher Dori Gilels are two of the mamas behind Mamalode, an online parenting magazine that serves readers across the globe. Mamalode started out in 2009 as a free, local print publication, which now delivers thousands of magazines to paid subscribers in all 50 states and 10 other countries.

As Mamalode’s audience grew so did the demand, so the team expanded to the web and iPad. When a popular post received so much traffic that it almost shut down the website, they knew some changes were in order.

This past Mother’s Day, mamalode.com received some pampering and TLC itself with the launch of a complete redesign that came about with some help from Skype. Aside from an initial face-to-face meeting, the working relationship between Mamalode and the web design team at Digital Wax Works was facilitated entirely by voice and video calls. Traveling from office to office would have demanded a six-hour, round trip drive, whereas Skype enabled frequent and instant brainstorming sessions and timely design sign-offs.

Mamalode pic

“It’s a fabulous way to work with partners and other businesses,” says Gilels. “The ability to use voice and video features gives us a lot of flexibility in how we want to connect.”

Most of the collaboration during the six-month redesign took place using one-on-one calls, group chats, and screen sharing.

“The time and money saved by using Skype on this project has really had a big impact on a small company like ours.”

Skype has also come in handy for Mamalode’s internal team. “We sometimes use it when we’re in the same neighborhood,” Gilels laughs. “The workday juggle of meetings, travel, screen time, and family obligations can make it difficult to always be in the same room.”

The company uses Skype to stay in touch with its own employees and to conduct business with writers, advisors, and colleagues across the U.S.

A think tank organized by Mamalode earlier this year included participants from California and Utah who were literally able to join them at the same table via Skype. Gilels brought a large monitor into the meeting room, where a group that included the founding designers of Wired magazine participated in the conversation from the comfort of their homes.

“It was invaluable to get their thoughts, insights, and time without asking them to fly to Montana,” she says.

Clearly, a rural address is no hindrance to business owners like Gilels. In fact, tens of millions of Americans live and work in rural areas, armed with today’s technologies to open up opportunities in faraway regions, and to enhance collaboration with their teams, partners, funders, and customers.

“We love Skype,” Gilels quips. “We can live in a part of the country where bears roam freely while building a business that creates connections for moms everywhere. We think that’s pretty cool.”

Want to learn more about Mamalode? Watch their video on how it all started.

Are you based in a rural area but doing business all over the country? Tell us how you make it all happen, in the comments.

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