Donna Bliss is applying 20 years of marketing expertise, honed at
software companies such as Computer Associates and Keane, to build My
Miracle Baby.com, a year-old Nesconset-based retailer that sells
discounted clothing for the newborn-to-age-8 crowd.
Bliss, who underwent years of fertility treatments and suffered
several miscarriages, named the company in honor of her daughter,
Jillian Nicole, now 2.
Bliss buys the merchandise from wholesalers and liquidators that
sell last year's overstock from Kohl's, Sears and JC Penney. Featured
on the site are play clothes, high-end boutique clothes and "preloved,"
gently used items. Also available are keepsakes, baby gift baskets and
"I started selling fancy clothes on eBay. Twenty pieces of clothing
got scarfed up. There were bidding wars," Bliss says.
But on eBay, Bliss paid to post items regardless of whether they
sold. Her own Web site, she decided, would be more cost efficient.
She takes measures to optimize the Web site so that surfers keying
in "baby clothing" find My Miracle Baby.com listed, hopefully, within
the top five sites.
Customer satisfaction is a top priority. "If I make a goof, I'll
tell them to keep the item and send them a $10 gift certificate. It's
a $10 investment in keeping a customer," Bliss says.
To build brand awareness, Bliss sells items at street fairs and
distributes coupons through "MomPacks" - clear-envelope packets filled
with samples and freebies that are distributed to the clients of
businesses run by participating mothers nationwide. It gives business
owners like Bliss exposure to clients she wouldn't ordinarily access.
"There's an enormous learning curve in running a business," Bliss
says. But she's risen to the challenge, handling matters such as
credit-card fraud and customers who say they never received
merchandise, even when Bliss sent them packages with delivery
confirmation. Her advice? "Move on in both cases."
She also learned not to buy merchandise unless she can obtain 36 of
the same item. Otherwise, the process is too labor intensive, Bliss
Bliss employs three part-timers to help run the company. Last year,
she reached $60,000 in revenues; this year she expects $150,000. "My
goal is to double. In a year, we'll just be hitting our stride."