A Ponte Vedra resident and mother has created a mindfulness-based journaling and memory-capturing app designed especially for mothers.
Launched on the App Store at the end of 2018 by Katrine Strickland, Soulments enables moms and other users to remember and reflect on the fleeting moments in their kids’ lives via the storage of photos, videos, quotes, milestones and more.
“It’s just one place to store all of life’s moments,” said Strickland, who lives in Nocatee with her husband and two children. “I like to say it’s a treasure box for life’s moments.”
The Soulments journey began for Strickland in 2016, when she decided to go out on her own and work as a freelance marketing and public relations specialist. Previously working for several years in a corporate marketing role at Advanced Disposal, Strickland was seeking more of a work-life balance as her kids continued to grow up. She realized that time was precious, and she wanted to be in charge of her own schedule so she could maximize her time with family.
Simultaneously, Strickland started mediating and learning about mindfulness. She found that “living with awareness and appreciation for the small and (big) things naturally breeds more grace and love,” as stated on her app’s website. In the midst of her mindfulness journey, the idea for Soulments came to Strickland.
She started talking with other moms and realized a common theme: The digital clutter is a real struggle for moms. Different people keep track of their child’s milestones in different ways, Strickland said, but it didn’t seem like anything was really working for them, including baby books in an increasingly digital world. And although popular, Strickland said social media lacks privacy.
After conducting market research and holding focus groups and experiments, Strickland contracted with a solo entrepreneur in 2017 to create the app. Unfortunately, though, Strickland ran into difficulties with that partnership, as delay after delay ultimately resulted in her ending the project.
With a year of lost time and no workable code, Strickland questioned if she should move forward with the app. She ultimately decided, however, that not knowing what could have been was worse than failing, so she dug deep and found all the grit she could muster to push on.
Strickland’s perseverance proved worthwhile, as she was accepted into Jacksonville’s startup festival, One Spark, in April 2018. She was one of 75 creators who were invited to attend, and of those 75, she was one of eight selected to participate in the event’s Spark Tank, which is intended to emulate the popular “Shark Tank” TV show. She pitched her idea and received helpful feedback and significant interest from attendees of the event.
Shortly thereafter, Strickland signed another statement of work with a development team out of Fort Lauderdale called the Trim Agency, which ultimately helped her build Soulments and launch the app at the end of December 2018.
“I think I’m most proud about creating something that will hopefully inspire people to reflect more on their life and remember and find joy in their memories,” Strickland said. “I think there’s happiness when we look back on our memories and what brought us joy. So creating a tool that makes that easy for people to do is what I’m most proud of. That potential to help people.”
In addition to storing photos, videos, quotes and milestones, Soulments features custom notifications and prompts. Strickland worked with a behavioral psychologist, who is familiar with mindfulness and gratitude journaling, to help create journaling prompts that can help people reflect. Prompts include questions such as, “What are three things that made you smile today?” and “How did you aim for grace and not perfection?” This practice, said Strickland, helps foster a sense of gratitude.
Soulments also offers parents and grandparents the opportunity to input their child or grandchild’s name and birthday. By doing so, the app will periodically send custom notifications based on that name and birthday.
“So again, it’s that reminder,” Strickland said. “I heard so many times from moms that they just forget to capture those things, so Soulments provides that kind of gentle nudge on the shoulder. What is Clare into these days? What is Ryan’s favorite book? So you can remember to plug that in so you don’t forget it, because we forget things, we have a lot on our minds. “
Strickland also stressed the privacy and security of the app, compared to social media, which she said people are starting to realize is not free due to advertising.
The Ponte Vedra resident also noted a feature of the app that is in development, called “Memory Books.” The tool will allow users to print their memories directly from the app into high-quality photo books.
Currently available on the App Store only, Soulments is free to download with unlimited Soulments entries and full feature capabilities for two months. After the two-month trial period, subscription is $3.99 per month or $37.99 per year. More information about the app can be found online at https://www.soulments.com/
“I just want Soulments to help people to create a life well-loved, to be able to have something to reflect back on,” Strickland said. “I think social media has become so much of the highlight reel and people want to post about their best moments.
“Soulments is the real reel,” Strickland continued. “The real-life moments. It’s for you. You don’t have to worry about coming up with a witty caption or the perfectly filtered photo. It’s real life, and its much more beautiful, I think.”