Donna Bliss, Founder and President, MyMiracle Baby.com
Donna Bliss gave birth to the child she calls her "miracle baby," Jillian, in 2001 after going through seemingly endless fertility treatments and suffering four miscarriages. Thrilled to be a new mother, the Nesconset resident loved showering her daughter with clothes and gifts. "I was spending money on everything [for the baby]," she admits. When Donna was unexpectedly laid off from her job at Computer Associates, after being employed in software marketing for almost 20 years, she needed some income while she looked for another job. Donna came up with the idea of selling the overabundance of Jillian's baby clothes on eBay, but when she realized that eBay charged for items whether they were sold or not, she decided that with her expertise in marketing and her inherent entrepreneurial spirit, she could launch her own children's clothing store online.
My Miracle Baby.com (MMB) was born in 2001 with a small inventory of baby clothes in the huge finished basement of her ranch-style home. Donna steadily grew her business by working 12 hours a day, seven days a week. "I work all night," Donna says. "But, I can stay home for Jillian. I'm her class mother. I get to do all of that."
As I walked through Donna's warehouse, I saw a space filled to the rafters with thousands of beautiful new party dresses, play clothes, pajamas and other items, from preemie sizes to 6x. MMB now has stocks 2,500 items and employs three full-time staff members. MMB sells children's clothing, expectant mother and newborn baby gifts, christening apparel, baby shower favors and toys, including the popular toy line by Melissa and Doug. Many of the items they sell can be personalized, a feature Donna says is extremely popular.
MMB has an affiliation with 20 mothers across the country, four from LI, who sell their unique handmade items through the MMB website, including hand-painted creations, hair bows and boutique outfits. "It's another [sales] outlet for all of us," she explains. "I give them the means to sell their things", and she also provides drop-ship service to 40 other retailers. Donna is cognizant of the importance of promoting her site and with the use of search engine optimization, a Google search for "baby clothing" lists MMB in the top three results. As she puts it, "If you stop for a second in this business you won't make it. I just have to keep moving."
Donna says that with a loyal customer base of more than 10,000-including celebrities such as Kelly Ripa and Rosie O'Donnell-much of her success is attributed to the fact that if there's a problem with an order, customers can get somebody on the phone. She also rewards her customers who take the time to give her feedback with a $20 gift certificate for "going through the trouble of letting me know their experience."
Not content to have just a retail website, she wanted to connect with other mothers who have gone through similar experiences. Donna encourages clients to tell their stories, join in parenting discussion groups and network with other families. She says that there are now more than 100 verified personal stories posted on the site. What started out as a place to buy kids' clothes has become a forum where new families can share their personal stories of their child's birth. As Donna says, they can "become a part of the miracle baby network of parents, siblings, grandparents and those who adore life's little miracles." For more information, go to www.mymiraclebaby.com, or call 1-800-342-2509.
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