With the cost of living continuing to rise, Ally Loprete and Kelly Shand want to make sure the money paid to a business goes into the right pocket.
The Stevenson Ranch residents have started a online business directory (www.ourmilkmoney.com) that lists hundreds of business owners across the country who are all self-employed parents.
As self-employed parents themselves, the founders believe that while their idea is a new concept still taking shape, it offers numerous benefits to not other working parents, but also to the everyday consumer.
How it works
Our Milk Money was launched at the end of March after months of planning between Loprete and Shand. (The two got the idea after organizing a playdate for their kids.)
The directory currently has around 1,500 listings and represents nearly 80 industries, ranging from party planning services to clothing stores. Businesses from all over America and even Canada are posted.
Locally, nearly 30 businesses run by self-employed parents in the Santa Clarita Valley are listed.
In order for a business to be listed, its owners need to pay $25, which Loprete said goes toward funding the Web site.
The founders hope that at some point, every self-employed parent’s business will be available for users to browse.
“I want it to be a household name,” said Shand, a mother of two with another baby on the way. “I see it as a Craigslist for parents.”
After users find the businesses they are looking for, they are able to read a brief description of the services offered and can connect to the business person via the company’s Web site or e-mail.
Because every business listed supports its owner’s family, users can find out more about the families behind the business as they learn about what the “milk money” goes toward.
Why ‘Our Milk Money?’
Loprete said a service like Our Milk Money is necessary, especially with the cost of living on the increase.
“It takes two incomes to support a family,” said Loprete, who is the mother of a 2-year-old son.
With so many people feeling like they are “slaves to their jobs,” Loprete said, working and having a family becomes difficult.
“It’s just a very stressful situation for many people,” she said.
With that, Loprete said Our Milk Money gives families a way to understand where their dollar actually goes.
Shand added that the site is beneficial for parents, too.
“It gives parents some hope that other people care and know what they’re going through,” she said, adding the site also gives them a voice.
Shand said supporting a self-employed parent makes her feel different than when she goes to big-box stores.
“When I go to a mega store, it doesn’t feel personal, I just don’t know where my money is going,” she said, adding that she wants consumers to feel good about the purchases they make.
Self-employed parent Sandra Beck has listed her two businesses on Our Milk Money.
“It is a way for work-at-home parents to network with other work-at-home parents and share services,” said Beck, who owns Motherhood Incorporated and a real estate Web library.
The Acton resident said the difference for a consumer browsing the Web site is that he or she supports an “alternative lifestyle” when making a purchases.
“A parent’s directory is vital because there’s no other way to know which kind of service is a parent-at-home business versus a traditional (business),” she said. “It allows the consumer to make a choice.”