Hot! Katrena Shirley, DreemiePreemie

DreemiePreemie of Olathe, Kansas offers baby bundles to document first milestones in a preemie or neonatal intensive care unit baby’s life.

‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business: My niece was a premature baby and three friends also had preemies in two years. Then, my daughter was in intensive care for the first eight days of her life.

Ideal customer: Parents of at risk or preemie babies.

First customer: They found me on my web-site.

Measuring Success: I measure success by the feedback from parents about how my site is making a huge difference in their lives.  How moms who can’t hold their babies feel more “normal” by filling out the baby book/scrapbook pages on my site.

Biggest Struggle: Expenses.  I applied and got the 2011 Huggies MomInspired Grant of $15,000. That was huge.

Surprise!: How wonderful it feels to make something thrive — from scratch.

Promoting Business:  My website has done it all. All of my sales from 2008 to this January, when we started taking on retail stores, have been through my web-site and word of mouth from parents of preemies to other parents.

Two things I wish I would’ve known: How to work one step at a time, while thinking 10 steps ahead.

What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?:  Babies struggling, babies going home, the miracles who in 20 years will read their Dreemie Preemie pages.

Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: Yes, it’s hard being stay at home mom and a business owner when you’re starting from the ground up.

Pricing: Calculate how best to make your cost low, without sacrificing quality.

The absolute best part of owning my business is: the freedom to do it right.

If I had to start over again, I would: have learned to write web-site code myself.

I never imagined: time management would be so difficult.

If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “You will never succeed if you don’t first try.”

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