Anyone who might believe it takes anything less than determination to successfully run a business while raising a child has not met Donna Bliss.
When Donna was laid off from her job she found herself having to make a choice. For her, that choice was simple. Inspired by her daughter, My Miracle Baby was born. Since it launched in 2001, her business has seen steady growth. Over time it even evolved from sales to also include a small community forum where like-minded parents can discuss their own “miracle” stories.
What was the inspiration for My Miracle Baby?
"I gave birth to Jillian, my “miracle baby,” in 2001 after going through seemingly endless fertility treatments and suffering four miscarriages. Thrilled to finally be a new mother, I loved showering my daughter with clothes and gifts. When I was unexpectedly laid off from my job at Computer Associates, after being employed in software marketing for almost 20 years, I needed some income while I looked for another job. I began to sell the overabundance of Jillian’s baby clothes on eBay, but realized that eBay charged for items whether they were sold or not. I decided that with my marketing expertise and inherent entrepreneurial spirit, I could launch my 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 my ranch-style home. I steadily grew the business by working 12 hours a day, seven days a week. I work all night sometimes but, I am home for my daughter and that makes it all worth it."
How many products would you say are listed on your website on the average day?
"We offer 2,300 items total."
What seems to be the most popular among your customers?
"Our niche is personalized clothing and gifts. By far, personalized dresses, fancy pants, caps, hats, blankets, towels and robes are our best sellers. Right behind that are fancy party dresses and boys’ dressy suits."
Would we recognize some of the brands you have listed?
"Oh definitely! We sell Carter’s, Rare Editions, MudPie, Mullins Square, Bambini, Vitamins, Bonnie Jean, BT Kids, Baby Aspen, Melissa and Doug, Elegant Baby, etc."
Besides selling baby products, what else does My Miracle Baby offer?
"We encourage our customers to tell their stories, join in parenting discussion groups and network with other families. We have pages dedicated to “miracle baby stories.” 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."
How has it grown since it launched in February of 2001?
"The site has grown from $6,000 in sales to just shy of $300,000 this past year."
What goals would you like to achieve over the next year or so?
"We plan a major upgrade to the shopping cart to allow for a host of leading edge functions along with more attention paid to our niche sites like: Baby Costume Store.com; Baptism Baby.com; and Princess Baby Store.com."
Did you have any previous experience that you were able to apply while starting or running your business?
"Yes, 20 years of corporate marketing experience along with several years working retail was a strong background for this business."
For the stuff you didn’t know, where did you go to get your answers?
"I am learning every day. In this business, I’ve made every mistake known to woman-kind. I still make mistakes. But I try not to ever make the same mistake twice. The online groups I belong to like HBWM.com; mom pack.com and LI Entrepreneurs.com have been instrumental in providing me answers for things I need help with."
What has your business taught you?
"Hard work and dedication does pay off. I might not ever get rich doing this but I definitely earn a living and can be there for my family. After all, isn’t that what it is all about?"