Mothers United

by | Jan 15, 2020 | Alumni Profiles, Fall/Winter 2019-20

Ashlee Gadd ’08 was one year into motherhood when she started looking for places to publish stories about the joys and chaos she was experiencing. Instead, she launched personal essay site Coffee + Crumbs in 2014. “My desire to create Coffee + Crumbs came from my longing for a safe haven online for women to able to write real, heartfelt, honest pieces of what it’s really like to be a mother,” said Gadd, who now has three children and more than 18,000 Instagram followers who share her parenting journey. Within two months, three essays went viral, bringing 2.8 million page views. The popularity of Coffee + Crumbs allowed the former corporate marketer to transform a volunteer-run blog into a business and community forum that includes 17 independent contractors on her payroll, as well as podcasts, newsletters and Exhale, a virtual monthly membership group for women meant to inspire creativity. A book, The Magic of Motherhood (Zondervan, 2017), features essays published by Coffee + Crumbs. Gadd sees her role, in part, as connecting mothers. “Motherhood can be sometimes a lonely or isolating experience,” she said. “Once we open ourselves up to being honest about those experiences, that’s where we can find a lot of healing, compassion, friendship and empathy.”