LIHU‘E — With the goal of supporting other moms and caregivers, Casey Fitchett of Hanama‘ulu started a mom’s club, Mama Bear Mafia, in hopes of providing a safe support group, where moms, aunties, and other women can feel appreciated and start their self-care journey through invite-only Sip & Shop events.
“We are a community of women who support, challenge, inspire and show up for each other,” Fitchett said. “United by friendship, our children’s activities, common interests, and common friends. I wanted to do something to take care of the caretakers.”
After a mom has kids, she may find it hard to remember who she is. Fitchett explains why.
“We were all someone before we were moms,” Fitchett said. “It’s natural to lose yourself when we are married, divorced, single-parenting, raising our children, and juggling everything that fills our lives.”
The Mafia’s purpose is to remind moms, aunties, and other women to do something for themselves despite the chaos, the challenges, and the task lists, she said.
“To place value on cultivating our friendships, whether old or new,” Fitchett said. “To do that thing that makes your heart sing, that feeds your soul and makes you laugh.
Fitchett said she has partnered with organizations and businesses to create a safe space for moms and to reward moms and other women for all that they do to sustain their marriages, raise their children, succeed in their careers, manage their households, and all that they do over and beyond that goes unnoticed or under-appreciated.
Through special events, activities, and connections with other “mamas” in the community, Fitchett hopes to inspire other “mamas” to create their own groups.
“MBM wants to encourage mamas to build their own gangs of mamas, and to also come together to build a larger community of mamas through MBM,” Fitchett said.
Although Fitchett has been working on her support group for a couple of years, she held her first Sip & Shop event earlier this month at a venue in Old Kapa‘a Town, with two shopping-time slots to rotate shoppers in and out to be COVID-19 compliant.
Andrea Armstrong, Amy Hale, Stephanie Struble, and Kristen Kimball attended the first invite-only, exclusive Sip & Shop.
“MBM’s Sip & Shop event was in VIP style. It’s now my new favorite thing,” said Armstrong.
“Such a fun evening,” Struble said. “What an amazing way to support small businesses while enjoying VIP shopping and connecting with other hard-working entrepreneurs and mamas. I can’t wait for the next one.”
Kimball echoed Struble’s thoughts.
“The MBM clothing launch was a perfect partner to their first Sip & Shop experience,” Kimball said. “What a fun night out for moms to eat, drink, and get the VIP treatment with other mamas.”
“It was great to have a night out while supporting local businesses and each other. The VIP treatment was awesome, and sometimes us moms don’t get that often. Can’t wait for the next one. So much fun,” Hale said.
Fitchett said that, from the beginning, MBM has wanted to support local businesses and, at the same time, reward mamas by creating a space that hosted an activity or event just for them.
“Sip & Shop is a shopping program where we partner with local retailers,” Fitchett said. “They provide a special shopping discount and MBM provides the rest — exclusive invitees with the intent to shop, cocktails, and appetizers.”
Putting the plan in motion
After a successful meeting with business owner Heather Singleton at her retail boutique Rock Salt Plum Hawai‘i and print store Aloha State T-Shirt Company in Old Kapa‘a Town, Fitchett began the event’s planning process and her new MBM clothing line.
Besides discounts, moms had the chance to shop through MBM’s logo wear at the event. Attendees were also able to shop at Rock Salt Plum Hawai‘i and receive discounts.
All of her offerings featured locally-made products, and a lot of them are actually local Hawai‘i mama businesses.
Singleton said this event was the most successful project she partnered with in regards to the number of sales in one day.
Fitchett agrees with Singleton, and said the sales of the evening will go directly back to the business that hosts the MBM Sip & Shop.
“The MBM T-shirt sales are also absorbed back into MBM to pay for the Sip & Shop event goodies,” Fitchett said. “We would like to build this program so we can create and support other programs that give back to mamas.”
Fitchett is searching for any businesses interested in collaborating with her group’s future events.
“We are currently organizing a community event for the less-fortunate for the holidays, and looking to partner with sponsors to provide a dinner as well as provide for needed items for the homeless and for those transitioning into housing,” Fitchett said.
Stephanie Shinno, features, education, business, and community reporter can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.