Busy moms know that the few minutes you wait in the school pickup line can be some of the only quiet ones you have all day. That’s the idea behind THE PICKUP LINE, a new newsletter and podcast that quickly recaps the day’s news and shares fun stories for moms on-the-go (and isn’t that every mom?). Beth Kneebone, Patti Barrett and Heather McBride all worked in traditional journalism jobs (both national magazines and television) before joining forces on this rapidly growing media outlet. “We all grew up in an era where news media was largely a one-way communication. I love that this is no longer the case because we now have the chance to engage with our subscribers,” says Heather. With 10 kids between them (ranging in ages 5 to 16), these New Jersey-based moms know something about multitasking and prioritizing, and are helping other moms do the same.
How would you describe your business?
Beth: The Pickup Line is a daily newsletter for busy moms featuring short recaps of the day’s big stories—hard news & lifestyle all in one place. We land in our subscribers’ in-boxes as they “shift into park” at school and activity pickup time—when they actually have a few minutes to catch up.
Such a great idea! What was your inspiration?
Beth: We’ve all spent many hours on school and sports pickup lines watching moms, scroll, scroll, scroll, through their phones searching for news and info while they wait. After watching this day in and day out, we thought wouldn’t it be great if we could make it easier for busy women like us to get today’s info all in one place? And, even better—deliver it during their short window of “free time” in the middle of the afternoon craziness.
You were friends first. What’s your working relationship like?
Heather: All three of us are energetic and motivated, which means that we’re in constant communication every morning, tossing ideas back and forth as we build the day’s issue. We all have had morning pitch meetings of sorts in our past jobs, so being able to do this on our own terms, with good friends no less, is such a gift. And it goes without saying that family comes first. We have and always will step up for one another when the inevitable mini-crisis pops up with one of our ten collective kids!
What do you love most about your job?
Beth: I get to do what I love with people I love. Writing and marketing are two of my favorite things to do and the fact that I get to do them every day with people I enjoy spending time with and truly respect is awesome. It’s also incredibly rewarding to start a business from scratch and see it grow. Owning my own business and working from home gives me the flexibility to be able to still be involved in the day-to-day life of my family life. I was the PTO president at my youngest daughter’s school last year and have signed on to do it again at my eldest’s school next year.
Patti: Writing news summaries! I was a tv reporter — so following the news and now, getting to summarize it for busy moms is so satisfying! We know how hard it can be to stay “connected” to what’s going on in the world beyond your house, your work and your family. We love pulling stories our subscribers and helping them stay in “the know!” I also love the network of moms we’re getting to know — like you ladies at The Local Moms Network!
Heather: I have always had a passion for breaking down a complicated story so that everyone can understand it. Being able to do that every day really does feel like a privilege. I love to write!
Do you have any challenges that have come up?
Beth: It’s kind of a double-edged sword. That same flexibility that I adore also means that, at times, it can be hard to focus on what needs to be done when your day-to-day life is going on around you. There’s so much more we do beyond publishing every day, and, when the kids are home and work still has to be done, it can be challenging.
Heather: The hardest part — and I’ve read that this is common among startups — is learning as you go and making mistakes! But that’s where you have the safety net of working with supportive friends.
What’s next for THE PICKUP LINE?
Patti: We are focused on growing our subscriber-base right now. We are also planning to launch a YouTube show soon! There is so much room for expansion and growth—we have lots of big plans.
Chatham, New Jersey Area Recommendations from The Pickup Line Moms
Eat with kids
Bottle Hill Tavern and The Chatham Sandwich Shop
Eat without kids
Serenade on Main Street
Have a date night
NYC—Take an Uber, go somewhere delicious, have fun and be back in NJ in 40 minutes. Best of both worlds!
Enjoy a spa day
Woodhouse Day Spa in Summit
Short Hills Mall
Have a cup of coffee
T.M. Ward. Then right next to T.M. Ward is Quartet, which sells gifts, clothes, accessories, and home decor.
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Photos by Jennifer Lavelle Photography.