Girlfriends Helping Girlfriends
Interview with Melanie Notkin
Girlfriends Helping Girlfriends is an All The Singles Girlfriend series that shines a virtual spotlight on amazing women who have been supporting women and girls over a period of time.
For so many of our All The Single Girlfriend community there is a very, special role that we play that is often over looked or simply taken for granted by much of our culture especially in the western world. We are called: ThIa. Tía. Faster. Moster. Teta. Täti. Tante. Emtë. Teze. Ciocia. Tia. Aunt. Auntie.
Melanie Notkin knew first hand the the precious joy and value of being an aunt. In 2008, she launched an online community, Savvy Aunties, to bring awareness and celebrate the value of the modern aunt. From that platform Melanie went on to create an influential lifestyle brand that resulted in something even more powerful .. an exciting global movement.
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Savvy Auntie Melanie Notkin!
atsGf/Toby: Let’s begin our interview with something inspirational and personal .. your favorite quote.
Melanie Notkin: Babies are born from the womb. Maternity is born from the soul. There are many ways to mother. I wrote that as a mantra to myself and to the women of the Savvy Auntourage, most of whom are not mothers.
atsGf/Toby: You bring up a good point there are many ways to nurture. During the course of our lives we have many identities At this point in your life, who are you beyond your professional resume?
Melanie Notkin: I’m a 43 year old woman who always aspired to have love, marriage and children. Not yet having achieved those, I’m in the process of redefining my life and my legacy.
atsFg/Toby: What is your favorite “Girlfriend” activity?
Melanie Notkin: Spontaneous drinks in an area of New York City I haven’t explored quite enough!
atsGf/Toby: Next time I’m in New York let’s discover a funky new place for tinis together! Savvy Auntie has helped many women realized that in a world which focuses on moms we aunties are fabulous and important in the special relationships we have with our nieces and nephews. How did you come up with the idea of a community for aunts?
Melanie Notkin: Being an aunt myself, I realized that there were no modern resources for the cosmopolitan aunt. When I thought to establish the first lifestyle brand for aunts five years ago, I felt like everything out there for aunts were designed for “old aunt Sadie with twelve cats” and did not represent the nearly 50 percent of American women who did not (yet) have kids of their own. I decided this tribe of fabulous, yet overlooked, women deserved resources and community like parents have so that we could become savvier aunts and godmothers to the children we love. Now beyond the Website is a national bestselling book, an Auntourage on Facebook, and even a national celebration of aunts called Auntie’s Day® the fourth Sunday in July.
atsGf/Toby: When women reach the big 4-0 birthday, we enter what should be an exciting next chapter in our lives. However, often the world (in terms of advertisers, younger people and frequently men) begins to pull a curtain around us and we become invisible. We’re still as vibrant, savvy, sexy as we were the day before .. perhaps even more so! However, sometimes we buy into it. How do you not be “invisible?”
Melanie Notkin: Well it’s certainly part of my mission at Savvy Auntie. It’s not that all women over 40 are invisible. Certainly mothers, young and older, are represented in commercials, TV shows, and Hollywood magazine baby-bump cover stories. But childless women – one in five women in their early forties – are overlooked and unacknowledged.
Not only do we give so generously to children not-our-own, but we’re often a pretty accomplished set. Two of us sit on the Supreme Court! There’s Oprah Winfrey! Elizabeth Gilbert! Ellen DeGeneres! I hope my efforts help shine a light on women who may not be mothers for whatever valid reason, but who are likely accomplishing enormous things in their lifetimes – and beyond through their legacies.
atsGf/Toby: Those are amazing women who are not only are generous but they took risks. When you color outside of the lines you may discover great success. At other times you might skin your knee. Please share one of your stories of a time when you went outside your comfort zone and the lessons that you learned.
Melanie Notkin: I hope I do that daily.
You cannot create change by continually doing the same thing day after day. The greatest lesson I’ve learned it to simply keep going.
atsGf/Toby: What’s next on your Savvy Aunties adventure?
Melanie Notkin: The fourth annual Auntie’s Day is Sunday, July 22nd! In the meantime, I’m working on some big opportunities to take this brand even further. Talk about coloring outside the lines! It’s thrilling. I having the time of my life!
atsGf/Toby: To wrap this up .. the virtual floor is all yours. What would you tell our community of amazing women?
Melanie Notkin: I felt that becoming 40 gave me the license and courage to become the woman I was always meant to be. Through living life to my potential, I’ve met and come to know some extraordinary women. The most authentic ones have become close friends. Those girlfriends are invaluable to my ability to keep going with passion and strength. They are part of the power in my potential. I am very grateful.
Continue the conversation with Melanie!
Photo credit: Ana Schechter