Denise Albert and Melissa Musen Gerstein, THE MOMS, have turned motherhood into a thriving business venture that reaches millions of parents each year. The MOMS have collaborated with Fuel Up to Play 60 – American Dairy Association with NFL & Real California Milk on Tuesday, October 14th, 3:30pm – 5:30pm in Santa Clara for a very special event for families. Experience an active drill with the San Francisco 49ers Training Camp, giveaways, fun activities, photo booths, after school snacks and drills with the 49er’s Training Camp! Plus one lucky family will win tickets to a 49er’s game. I caught up with one very busy mom, Denise Albert, to learn more about The MOMS.
Q. Tell me about The MOMS.
My partner, Melissa, and I started The MOMS in 2010 because we felt there was a conversation missing in the parent space. Our backgrounds are as television journalists and producers so we wanted to create a company in a profession that we are familiar with. We started with a newspaper, then a television show, and then the Sirius XM radio Stars program The MOMS with Denise & Melissa. The premise is to engage other parents in a conversation. We focus on empowering moms by featuring moms on our show who are doing great things. We’re really just spreading the powerful word of moms.
Q. You and Melissa each had successful careers in broadcast before getting together. How did you meet and what made you realize you wanted to collaborate together and create The MOMS?
First time we met, I was a producer at Good Morning America and interviewing candidates for a position. Melissa’s resume landed on my desk. At the time she was living in Toronto launching Canadian Idol and wanted to move back to the states. The second time we met, I was still with Good Morning America and Melissa was working at CNBC. When she moved back we connected, realized we had a similar idea and started working on it on the side for three years while we kept our day jobs.
Q. When did you know you wanted to let go of your day job and take a chance on making The MOMS work full time?
It wasn’t easy. I left Good Morning America after had my first son. I found it very difficult to try to be the kind of mom I wanted to be and continue my career with Good Morning America. After I left, my old boss was running a show with David Blaine so I went to run his company and produced his television show. Melissa and I continued working a few years until we were able to make The MOMS work full time. We were working two jobs: after coming home from a full day at the office, we would be with our kids, put the kids to sleep and back to work on The MOMS at night. That’s how we got started.
Q. Can you give me a little history of how it branched out into other business channels?
We had no business plan which is why we were able to make this work. It goes against everything that anyone who went to business school has learned. We have a lot of different pieces of what we do because we love what we do. When we get an idea we go for it. The MOMS is a lifestyle brand. We have the Sirius XM radio Stars program The MOMS with Denise & Melissa, a media company, our Mamarazzi® events hosting celebrity moms and dads in a unique town hall setting, television appearances, we have a new fashion line called Musen Albert, and show we call Strut, the fashionable Mom Show.
Q. What are the ongoing challenges you face in your business?
We have challenges every day because we are a start up. It’s just the two of us and we finally got a wonderful assistant. But the biggest challenges we face is that there is not enough people, not enough time, but the one thing Melissa and I have, that is so incredible that works, is we have each other. We are so lucky that we have the right partner. We both work hard, both have strengths and weaknesses and it balances out perfectly. When we have a challenge, we get through it together.
Q. You mention strengths and weaknesses. What are your strengths and weaknesses balancing one another?
It’s not really about strengths or weaknesses. We are different people socially, in our work lives and it works out perfect for us. We make appearances on many TV shows to discuss various parenting topics because we are known for how very different we are as parents. We write about it on our website called MOMmentary. We are very different people, Melissa is from a small town, I am from NY, she is madly in love with her husband, I couldn’t be happier divorced, the way we parent is very different.
Q. You said you are a better mom because you work. What does motherhood bring to your business and what does your business bring to motherhood?
It’s everything. I couldn’t do what I do without being a mom. I have to pinch myself how lucky I am. We pick our children up from school and get to be with them. We get to do what we love everyday which is what we worked so hard to build and not have to answer to anybody. I can’t believe how much my life has changed. Melissa and I work so well, together. Although we have a long way to go, we get to be moms and work without guilt.
Q. You write a column for the Huffington Post, had many television appearances, you’ve produced televisions shows, celebrity events coordinator, radio show presenter, and a mom. It’s hard to image one person doing all of this.
It’s who we are. There is still so many more things I want to do. I feel lucky that Melissa and I found each other and that we created something special. It’s not that hard for us. We worked 20 years building our careers and with rigorous hours. We pulled many late nights when we were covering a story. We still working extremely hard and long hours but were doing it on our time and that makes a big difference.
Q. Where do you envision The MOMS brand in the future?
We want to keep growing. We want it to be the best place for all moms to have a conversation and feel empowered. We love everything we do. We want to grow our Mamarazzi® events and include more people through social media. We dream of doing our own television show again but we don’t want to do it just because. We’ve had offers and turned them down. We want to choose the right project that aligns with our business and is true to who we are. We still think there is more for us to do in television, we just want the right opportunity.
Q. You grew up in a broadcasting family. Now that you work in the field, do your boys show any interest in what you do for their future?
One of the best things about what we do is we can bring our kids to everything. My older son is coming with me to our San Francisco event this Tuesday which he is really excited about. We just did a Mamarazzi® even with Jennifer Garner who was there as we screened her new movie, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” My kids were so excited to be there. My older son is 9 1/2 years old and is interested in every aspect of what we do. He’s the first person at every event asking questions, inquisitive, a natural, and has the reporter like me in him. My younger son is 6 years old and born with the family sports gene. He knows every single thing about forts and is not as interested in what I do.
Q. If you can go back in time, what advice would you give to the 10 year old Denise?
Everything always works out for the best. My grandfather used to say that. It’s true. Hard to see that when you are going through something but always works out.
Q. Who was your favorite person to interview?
They’re all so great. Jennifer Garner was so impressive to me. She walks into the room, she shook Melissa’s hand and said “Hi Melissa, so nice to meet you.” Then she did the same to me. Does she know who we are? Probably not, but she cared enough to find out our names, and that tells you something about a person. She’s very real.
Hugh Jackman is also one of my favorites. We’ve done three events with him and every time we do an event with him, he remembers us, he does his homework. He is one of the most sought after and talented actors and yet he takes time to learn about who he is going to be talking to and that to me is extraordinarily special.
Celebrities love our Mamarazzi® events because no one is there asking them who they slept with, are they getting divorced, or other gossipy questions. We’re just a bunch of moms wondering what they do with their kids. It’s the kind of conversation they are talking to their friends about. Real people simply asking how they are doing in a very real conversation. We’re very fortunate that Mamarazzi® events are going so well.
We are doing something different to what all others are doing.
Denise Albert and her partner, Melissa Musen Gerstein, The MOMS, are co-creators of a multi-platform lifestyle brand featured on TV, online, and now on radio nationwide. The MOMS are hosts of the Sirius XM radio Stars program The MOMS with Denise & Melissa., moderators of Mamarazzi®, have their own fashion line Albert and Musen, fashion show co-founders for Strut, The Fashionable Mom Show, hosted a half-hour TV show with NBC called Moms & the City and A Dad Named David, are regular contributors to The Huffington Post Parents, have appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America and Fox News Channel among many others. And first and foremost, they are moms!