Metro mom Caitlin Kelley has always had a passion for shopping. It was something about finding a good deal that kept the flame for her favorite pastime ignited.
Along with shopping, Kelley found joy in lending a helping hand to those who needed assistance. From her work with Infant Crisis Services, to her own experiences of receiving help as a mother attempting to raise her son, the idea of being able to help out and leave the world better than she found it has grown into a full-blown business endeavor.
“I’m all about inspiring,” she said.
“As a mom, I know what it is to feel alone sometimes, and I know that it’s hard, but motherhood is the best thing in the whole wide world.”
Gleaning from her tireless energy as a mom, Kelley put her love of a great deal and helping others to use in a new online company, MommaCounts.com.
Launched on Cyber Monday, the shopping season’s web-based equivalent to the mob-inducing sales of Black Friday, MommaCounts marries the sales of local businesses with the benefits of nonprofit organizations throughout Oklahoma. It creates a union that offers shoppers a way to find deals, all the while giving back to the community.
While there is a wide breadth of companies featured on the site, each deal is specifically tailored to benefit the diverse needs of mothers and their families.
To date, businesses featured include Cool Greens, an eatery that serves fresh, made-to-order dishes; Lil Dudes and Divas, a modern baby and children’s boutique; The Riley Group, a service company that runs customers’ errands; and StorkLand, a store that offers items like baby furniture, children’s toys and maternity apparel.
In this setup, participating businesses get to choose their own deal, a feature that was of high importance to Kelley, she said.
“I’m not a big rule follower,” she said.
“I love how we can customize the deal to whoever we are featuring in a way that we can be beneficial for the business, but also provide something great for the moms.”
Deals are released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and are only good for two days (save the Friday deal, which is good through the weekend).
On the other side of the deal, a percentage of the purchases made via MommaCounts is donated to smaller, local nonprofits, which are individually featured for a month on the site. From links to the group’s website, to event publicity, to encouragement of site visitors to volunteer or support the organizations, MommaCounts places the featured nonprofit in a position to receive more exposure and community involvement.
During December, the site features Positive Tomorrows, a private, nonprofit school that focuses on education for homeless children in the community and breaking the cycle of poverty.
The school is not only an institution of growth and development, but one of empowerment and celebration of Oklahoma’s youth that are often forgotten, said Susan Agel, president of Positive Tomorrows.
“In spite of all the trauma in their life, they are children at heart,” Agel said. “These are kids who, at the very deepest level, are children just like any other kid, but they just have so much more to get over.”