If you’ve ever watched your wife or partner choke down gigantic prenatal horse pills during pregnancy, then Evan DeMarco feels your pain. The founder and CEO of Mommy Water felt helpless watching his wife go through the uncomfortable daily ritual and thought, “there’s gotta be a better way.”
With a background in the nutrition industry, Evan had just the right experience to create something he hopes could forever change the way prenatals are taken. With an endorsement from the Northern California Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, Evan says it’s not just moms who are catching on. Dads searching for relief for their wives are already making up a large portion of sales.
Father to a six month old daughter and CEO, below is our full interview with Evan about why a dad got into the prenatal business, plus the origin, development, and passion behind Mommy Water.
As a dad, what inspired you to develop Mommy Water?
The inspiration for Mommy Water really came from watching my pregnant wife suffer through morning sickness and seeing that her prenatal horse pill made it even worse. Not really knowing what to do about that, was one of the most helpless feelings I have ever had. One night, in Kellie’s first trimester, she asked me if I could find a way to combine a glass of water and her prenatal vitamin. I thought she was joking but it got me thinking that there had to be a better delivery system for prenatal vitamins. More importantly, it got me thinking that I might be able to do something to help her, and other women like her, get through the morning sickness and possibly enjoy pregnancy a little more.
How did your professional background help in creating Mommy Water?
I have been in the sports and lifestyle nutrition business for many years, although my main focus was on creating sports nutrition products for high performance endurance athletes. Mommy Water was completely different and infinitely more challenging than anything I have ever worked on before. Creating a drinkable prenatal vitamin with all of the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy pregnancy was fairly simple considering the number of doctors who worked on the nutritional aspect of the drink, making it taste great was another challenge all together. We spent months and months testing different flavors trying to get something that we were proud and excited to offer.
What is Mommy Water, how is it different from products currently on the market?
We like to say around the office that Mommy Water is a prenatal made perfect. With all of the advancements in nutrition and supplementation over the last 20 years, prenatals are the one vitamin that has virtually stayed the same. Gummies have been a recent addition but they really haven’t changed the delivery method. A gummy still has to break down in your system before being absorbed, and that concentrated dose of iron can cause an upset stomach just as much as a pill.
Mommy Water is the first prenatal drink mix developed by Doctors and Nutritionists to address the many needs of the modern pregnancy. Mommy Water not only gives women all of the vitamins and minerals found in a traditional prenatal vitamin, but we have added choline for fetal brain development and to help combat “pregnancy brain”, fiber for pregnancy related constipation, electrolytes for hydration and a prescription size dose of pyridoxine for nausea. Most importantly, we made it taste great so that women can actually enjoy taking their prenatal vitamins, and since it’s consumed as a liquid, it absorbs much quicker so your baby gets more of the essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.
How has Mommy Water been received in the medical community and the mom community?
We couldn’t be happier with the response. Mommy Water is the only prenatal vitamin to receive an endorsement from a professional medical society. Our Chief Medical Officer and my business partner, Dr. Victor Chan, OB/GYN, worked directly with other OB’s, reproductive endocrinologists, infertility specialists and nutritionists to create a product that doctors are very excited about and feel very comfortable recommending to their patients.
The “mom community” has been an even greater surprise! The feedback has been truly overwhelming and our constant customer satisfaction is great validation that Mommy Water is helping women enjoy their pregnancies even more.
In a market targeted specifically to moms, what obstacles have you had to overcome as a dad in bringing Mommy Water to market?
That’s a great question. I think there have been two major issues that we have had to rethink in getting Mommy Water to market with the success it has enjoyed so far. The first mistake we made was to try a bottled product. In a focus group with pregnant women in varying stages of pregnancy, one woman who was 7 months pregnant asked me how she was supposed to get a case of 30 bottles from the store to her car, to her home and then find a place to keep that volume of product in her refrigerator. In addition, Moms are certainly more environmentally aware, which was strike two against our bottled product idea. That made us reformulate into a powdered drink mix. Not only is it much more convenient, as women can take a stick pack with them wherever they go, it’s a lot more environmentally friendly.
The second mistake we made was in shaping the marketing message. The second we found out my wife was expecting, our whole world changed. Intermixed with all of the joy and excitement, the preparation and the hope for the future, was this feeling of fear and insecurity. Compliments of Google, I found we instantly became afraid that everything we were doing would hurt the baby. The internet turns rational intelligent parents to be into paranoid, obsessive compulsive, data spewing worry warts. I feel like we moved away from our company ideals in the initial stages of marketing. We want to be there for women and men looking for answers to what’s best in their pregnancies. We want future parents to know they are not alone and that we understand those fears and insecurities. We have an amazing team of medical professionals with such a passion for helping families as they grow and we neglected to focus on that passion in some of our initial marketing. As the CEO of Mommy Water, and as a new father, I had to make the decision to steer our marketing back to the place where we could communicate that passion and understanding for what women go through while pregnant.
Are you seeing interest from husbands and dads in sharing Mommy Water with their spouses?
More so than I could have ever imagined. It seems that I wasn’t the only husband out there who felt helpless while my wife was suffering through certain aspects of pregnancy. More than half of all orders through our website are from men just looking to help out their wives. Until you hold your baby for the first time and feel that instant connection that only Dads can understand, our connection to the whole pregnancy comes in being supportive of our wives during the process. Mommy Water gives husbands and future fathers a way to help. We as guys like to fix things. I like to think of Mommy Water as just another tool in our toolbox.
As a father and founder/CEO of a business how do you manage your business requirements while still maintaining quality time with your family and baby?
That is easily my greatest challenge. As a business owner of a new company, every day is a new and exciting challenge. I have an amazing wife who has been so supportive of this business and that makes all the difference in the world. I also have an amazing team at Mommy Water that I can really count on.
I will say there has been a bit of a learning curve on how to communicate with a new baby, especially on things like schedules and responsibilities. I use to go to the gym 4-5 times a week as “me time.” Since Piper was born, I’ve been 4-5 times total, and although I have gladly traded those few extra pounds for the quality time with my daughter, I still wish there was time in the day to get everything done on my “to-do” list. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance a family and a company, two things that change almost moment to moment. Sometimes it feels like Piper grows in just the short amount of time it takes me to respond to emails or phone calls. Some days I get more work done and some days I spend more time with my family. One thing I know for sure; just about the time I think I get it all figured out, it all changes. I guess that’s one of the many joys of fatherhood.
Where is Mommy Water available?
Mommy Water is available online and at a number of retail locations across the country. To find one close to you or order online visit our website.
This interview is part of our ongoing series with leaders from companies involved in parenting products or issues. No goods or services were exchanged. Who would you like to hear from? Leave a suggestion in the comments below. No endorsement is implied.
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