Congratulations! This is a beginning. – New York Times


Sid Singh, 36, was joking with a friend that everyone he knew seemed to have given birth to their third baby while bringing something completely different into the world. He left his consulting job to start a financial coaching company. It occurred to him that he could throw a baby shower for his new endeavor.

“It’s a big change for someone in their 30s to quit their job and start life again,” said Brooklyn resident Mr. Singh. “It’s probably one of the most important things you can do.”

In November, long before he had investors, a public relations budget, or an influx of clients for the company he called Ready.Steady.Money, Mr. Singh brought together about 30 of his friends at an open-air Italian restaurant in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg area. He explained his vision on pizza and beer and asked for support. The event went so well that it took another shower in April on a Williamsburg rooftop with gold dollar sign-shaped balloons and multiple toasts over rose bottles.

“Some of my friends were like, ‘Send me your deck,’ or ‘I know people who would be great for this,'” she said. “I also had about 15 friends who signed up for the program.”

Across the United States, especially in New York City, entrepreneurs, formerly expectant mothers, are making a baby shower their own, an event usually reserved for mothers. The idea is that if starting a business is as extensive (and expensive!) as having a baby, why not build the same kind of social support?

Some business showers include games, decorations, and catering. Some founders even ask for gifts by providing links to trade registry websites that are also becoming popular. Business showers are often different from launch parties because they happen at the very early stages of a startup, sometimes when the business is just starting out as an idea.

“I would say the beauty of a business shower is that it’s a new concept and you can do whatever you want from it,” said its founder, Dulma Altan. Makelane, a master class for female founders. It offers a free virtual kit called Beginner Stork to help people plan business showers. Over 1,300 downloads in 2021.

Some guests don’t like this idea of ​​”work showers”. But investors appear. Having enough strength to throw yourself a party is a promising sign.

“Investors appreciate someone who does everything to build your company and tries to be combative,” Altan said. “It shows that you are resourceful. It shows that you can rally people around your brand.”

“I hope it shows,” said Mr. Singh, “that I have a sense of humor and can think a little more creatively around traditional entrepreneurial ideas.”

Female founders, in particular, are attracted to the idea of ​​a business shower as it helps them officially celebrate something that isn’t a lifecycle event.

“We no longer live in a world where the biggest turning points for a woman are getting married and having a baby,” said Altan. “We’re late to talk about how we celebrate women.”

Indeed, 36-year-old Caitlin Kelly from New York was starting her new business. Live + Co, a company that uses technology to help businesses interact with the media more effectively when they find out she’s pregnant.

“I remember when I first started telling people I was pregnant, I’ve never been so congratulated for anything in my life,” she said. “I know people come from a place full of love and excitement, but for me it was like starting the business.”

Not wanting him to stop celebrating one growing effort for another, his mentor suggested that he combine the baby shower with a party for his business. Ms. Kelly wrote on the invitations: “It’s just business, baby.”

The incident took place on a Saturday in May. A small group of family and friends are invited to the first half of the festivity, which resembles a more traditional baby shower, with a gift opening and a competition to predict when baby will arrive. Customers, investors and employees attended the big party held in the evening. While a bartender served cocktails and wine, caterers were circling mini steak fries and avocado toast. Ms. Kelly gave a speech about the business.

“I don’t want anyone in my company to feel like my baby is a separate part of my life and I don’t want to share it with them,” Ms Kelly said. “People understand that life is complicated. Everyone has a lot of work.”

For other founders, having a business shower is a much-needed opportunity to ask for gifts.

Thkisha Sanogo, 41, now remembers how helpful it was to receive gifts before the birth of her three children aged 9, 11 and 13. “There are so many decisions you have to make and things you have to buy, it’s very difficult,” he said. “But if you know your family and friends are there to support you, that makes it easier.”

So when it was released in 2019 MyTAASK, an office management software company just got a full baby shower at the co-working space. There were homemade gumbo, games like “guess my company’s slogan” and a maven of honor that helped decorate the room in the company’s colors.

There was also a gift registry.

use business Gift Registration, Sanogo, a resident of New York, a website she launched in 2019 registered the products she needed to get started. Received subscriptions to Calendly, event planning software, and gift cards for Staples. Others paid registration fees for conferences they hoped to attend, such as Atlanta Black Tech Week, or contributed to the cost of airfares for meetings. “I have about $10,000 worth of gifts,” he said.

He also received a $5,000 cash gift. “With that, I went back to the investors and said, ‘I’ve already been able to raise that much money,’ and raised another $5,000. Do you intend to support us?”

Founder Zuley Clarke, also in New York, said the Business Gift Registry grew 25 percent in the second quarter of the year. “It’s hard for founders to ask people for help, but I see more people willing to do it,” he said.

The founders who took this step faced some opposition.

“Some people didn’t understand why I had a track record for my business,” Ms. Sanogo said. “Some saw it as a charity. They believed I had to be tough and take the load on myself.”

“I said to these people, ‘I appreciate your open mind,'” she said. “But I will say that I received a much warmer welcome than a negative one.”

Mr. Singh got some confused answers. “Some people thought I was throwing a baby shower for someone,” she said. “Others thought I was going to have a baby with someone.”

He laughed but explained to his friends why he was doing this. “People need to understand that I basically dedicate my whole life to this,” he said. “I’m taking the biggest risk I can take.”


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