Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Chelsea Winfield. I’m 26 years old. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a small town called Sequim, Washington. I moved to India when I was 20 and lived there 3 years on and off. I met my husband at the Taj Mahal (no I’m not kidding) and we currently are in the process of adopting our first child from India. As well as running Amma’s Umma, I work as a Program Director for A Family For Every Orphan, a non-profit out of Seattle. My husband and I split our time between Washington and India and have a heart for the 150+ million orphans throughout the world. I love reading, calligraphy, mehandi and spending time with my family.
What exactly is Amma’s Umma?
Amma’s Umma is an ethical boutique that seeks to create impact through every item customers can buy. We have curated our product selection from over 30 brands that themselves are aspiring to make a difference. We currenty carry women’s clothing, accessories, bags, jewelry, home decor, stationery, journals and a small selection of children’s gifts. We then donate 50% of our profits to global adoption efforts that are otherwise very difficult to fundraise for.
What inspired you to start Amma’s Umma?
I’ve always been an entrepreneur. When I would come home from India I would bring lovelies that I had found in the markets and sell them to pay for my next flight back. Seeing the response to the items I would pick out was really encouraging and it became a local expectation and I was selling out fast. Fast forward and I watched a documentary about the true cost of our shopping decisions. We have a unique power to destroy or dignify with every purchase we make. What’s the use of fundraising for a great cause if the items you’re selling are making moms put their children in orphanages because they’re hardly making it. Sourcing products ethically and donating towards adoptions is what we exist to do. We want customers to know without a doubt that their purchases are only creating a positive ripple.
How did you come up with the name?
Amma’s Umma means Mother’s Kiss. These were two of the first words I learned while I was living in South India. It has always been the name of my blog, but when I decided to officially open our online boutique, followers insisted that I keep Amma’s Umma as the name of the shop. We believe every child deserves a loving home and we hope that’s reflected in our name.
What is your favorite part about running Amma’s Umma?
I can easily say that I love every part of running Amma’s Umma, though post office runs are getting a bit arduous. I don’t pull a salary from the business right now. The hope is to get it to a place where Amma’s Umma is sustainably giving money to adoptions and replenishing stock before I start pulling a salary, so I’ve been working “for free” for that last year. You can’t do something for free unless you are truly passionate about it. I love the treasure hunt of finding product my customers will love, I thoroughly enjoy web design, I love creating campaigns and graphics for social media, I love researching to stay on top of industry trends, I love hosting events, and I LOVE donating at the end of the day to a cause I believe in.
What is your least favorite part about running Amma’s Umma?
Waiting in line at the post office and breaking down cardboard boxes.
Your purchases give back and fund adoptions, can you tell us about that?
Yes! This is WHY we exist. I’ve been in the global orphan care field for 5 years now. I’ve fundraised more than I would wish on any human being. Since the start I’ve wanted to create a sustainable way to bring in funds for the projects I’m passionate about. Amma’s Umma does just that. We fund projects that don’t have click appeal. We fund social workers salaries, to help adoptions move along. We fund older, aged out orphans reunifications with biological families or their school fees so they can stay home. We fund domestic adoptions in developing countries. We’ve also started a program where any family adopting can host a fundraiser through Amma’s Umma.
Is there a favorite product?
Oh that is so hard! My current favorite product is our Dreams Weekender, fair trade from Guatemala. I’m a bag girl. Some girls like shoes.. nails…dresses. I love bags. We get quarterly shipments of one of a kind bags from Guatemala and I honestly can’t believe this one hasn’t sold. The colors are so rich and dreamy. https://www.ammasumma.org/product-page/dreams-weekender-small
Customers favorites are the following :
How do you spread the word about your company?
We started as just an online store for the first 6 months. We have a beautiful website that we promote through facebook and instagram. Now we have a brick and mortar location downtown but our online presence continues to be our bread and butter. We love finding communities of like-minded individuals through social media and that has been key to spreading the word about Amma’s Umma.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
People look at Amma’s Umma and they think, “Wow, overnight success.” What they don’t see or don’t remember, are the years of mini projects and otherwise “failed” launches. I tried dozens of business ideas before I finally settled into Amma’s Umma. But I don’t look at those mini projects or trials as failures. Every idea I had and tried, taught me something that I’m using today. Amma’s Umma was a 10 year idea from birth to TRUE conception. That’s a lot incubation. So don’t be discouraged if your project doesn’t get off and running right away.
Also – do yourself a favor and hire a bookkeeper. Almost every business I’ve worked for had no real handle on their numbers/growth. I use Steadfast Bookkeeping and I love them. If you don’t understand your numbers, you can’t really grow. It’s a sacrifice and an investment but it will save you so much stress and set you on the right path for growth.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? ☺
Hustle and Heart Will Set You Apart. Something irks the world around you when you have a great idea and start working towards it. People you never expected to, will try to tear you down or discourage you. Keep your eyes set on your dream. Hustle and Heart WILL set you apart and they’ll just be sad they missed out on being an encourager to something wonderful.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
We have an awesome community on FB of intentional shoppers called ‘ Shop + Create Impact ‘ and we would to have you join us. https://www.facebook.com/groups/ammasumma/
For first news on sales, it’s best to join our email list.
For first news on new products, watch our instagram stories : ammasumma
Bookmark www.ammasumma.com for all your shopping needs 🙂
I am happy to answer any questions about adoption. It’s too often just “something we had thought about”, meanwhile they are real children suffering without families and the hope for a future. Adoption is not simple or easy. It’s very difficult. As a rule of thumb, if it isn’t hard, it isn’t worth the difficult. These children are worth any difficult.