As The Huffington Post gears up for an Australian launch this time next year, Australia’s own answer to personal narrative-driven media is beefing up.

Mia Freedman’s Mamamia is expanding its editorial team to Melbourne and has a new editor in Holly Wainwright, a former editor of OK! Magazine who’s been a regular writer for Mamamia since January this year.

Current editor Jamila Rizvi isn’t going anywhere, taking on the position of editor-in-chief of the Mamamia group of websites, which include the Australian version of American women’s media brand  iVillage and health and beauty portal The Glow.

Speaking to Crikey yesterday, Rizvi said her role would be to ensure that editorial techniques that worked well were rolled out across the group’s websites. The group plans to launch more websites as opportunities arise, she says.

Rizvi says she is confident Mamamia will continue its growth despite the competitive challenge of the impending though much-delayed launch of The Huffington Post.

“Women’s media is such a crowded space,” she said. “But we’ve got a loyal audience, and we’re so established in the Australian market.”

Mamamia’s traffic is up 800% in two years, Rizvi says, and reader engagement with the site is far higher than many of its competitors. The site hit 1.5 million unique browsers last week –- a record. Over the past two years new entrants like BuzzFeed, The Daily Mail and The Guardian have expanded into Australia. “But Mamamia has continued to grow,” Rizvi said.

On the Melbourne expansion, Rizvi says the website has hired two journalists, and managing editor Lucy Ormonde, who grew up in Melbourne, has relocated. Rizvi herself will commute between cities. “All our websites are national brands, and we need a presence in a number of cities,” Rizvi said. “We’re hoping to recreate our culture in Melbourne.”

Mamamia began seven years ago as the personal blog of former women’s magazine editor Mia Freedman but has since expanded to include a stable of writers and several offshoots (Freedman remains involved as owner and content director). Rizvi says a constant focus is developing and retaining the strong personal voices the site has become famous for. “Our readers should know our faces and know our writers … That’s very important to us. Because that’s what builds reader trust.”