kid_phoneIt doesn’t matter that humans have been procreating for some 200,000 years with relative success. In the months leading up to childbirth, expecting parents are still stricken with fear over whether they’ll somehow screw it up.

Part of that fear, I’m told, is related to the sheer volume of stuff that babies require. There are strollers, and breast pumps, crib liners, bottles, and complicated papoose-like carrying contraptions. New parents spend an average of $5000 in one year getting ready for a baby.

That’s what happened to Allyson and Jack Downey in the run-up to the birth of their first child. They found themselves asking friends for advice on every purchase, from breast pumps to teething rings, until eventually a friend sent over an elaborate excel spreadsheet outlining the products one very organized friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend had used.

That experience resulted in a different kind of baby — a startup. They formed WeeSpring, a community for parents focused entirely on products. The company is nearing graduation from Techstars NY’s next class of startups.

The most critical part of WeeSpring’s reviews is that they are social — new and expecting parents can not only see what a community of users has said about a product, they can see what their friends have said about it. If you sign up and don’t have any friends on WeeSpring, you can either invite friends to sign up, or the site recommends a user or family at a similar stage to yours to connect to. The point is to provide people guidance when navigating the vast sea of available baby products.

After just six months WeeSpring has 30,000 product ratings. The majority of the products listed have more ratings than Diapers.com and ByeByeBaby, Allyson Downey, the company’s CEO, says.

Currently WeeSpring isn’t selling anything — the company earns a small amount of money via affiliate linking to Amazon products. Eventually the plan will be to syndicate their review content with brands and then add a shopping cart. However, fostering a community is first and foremost. If reviews drive conversions up by four to five times, they are even more effective when the reviews are social, Downey says. WeeSpring won’t focus on the shopping cart functionality until the community is in place, because the site needs to be seen as a social place to share advice with friends first and foremost.

WeeSpring had seen a steady 35 percent of its traffic from mobile, even without a mobile-optimized site. Downey says the launch of a responsive, mobile-friendly site is a big step forward in that regard. “My philosophy was that if I couldn’t do it at 3am, one-handed while nursing a newborn, it just wasn’t going to happen,” she says of her days as a new parent.

[Image via Weespring]

  1. New and expecting parents spend thousands of dollars on products they've never used before, from brands they've never heard of.

    Everyone knows social referrals are powerful -- but to parents making high-stakes decisions for their families, they're a necessity. And for baby and kids' brands, social referrals are the most cost-effective way to reach their customer in the very short window when they're making purchasing decisions.

    weeSpring makes shopping easy for mom and dad by showing them the products that their friends love... not just on weeSpring.com, but on brands' and retailers' sites.