Keeping it real

12 Nov 2012

Author: Brad Howarth

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It was Mia Freedman’s desire to connect more directly with her audience that saw the former women’s magazine editor make the leap to blogging five years ago. Now Mamamia.com.au, which she started in her lounge room, receives 600,000 visitors each day and employs a team of 20 in its Sydney headquarters.
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By her own admission, the path to online success for Mamamia has been a hard slog. Between managing the site and her three young children, Freedman jokes that she hasn’t slept in five years.

“I was devoting 12 hours a day, seven days a week to this project that was making absolutely no money,” Freedman says.

The turning point came at the end of her third year when her husband, Jason Lavigne, came on board as Chief Executive Officer. Lavigne’s presence added business experience to Freedman’s publishing expertise and Mamamia began to bloom.

The site is now the leading independent women’s website in Australia. In May, Freedman signed a deal to launch an Australian version of NBC Universal’s global women’s website iVillage, and has recently added an online shop that sells clothing, cosmetics and other women’s items from more than 100 suppliers.

Unlike the magazines that Freedman left behind, her audience is growing, and is also highly engaged.

“We get about 10,000 comments a week, and that’s up by 100 per cent compared with a year ago,” Freedman says. “What Mamamia is about is authenticity, and that has struck a refreshing, unique chord in the media landscape.”