Stephanie D. Johnson, Bed Rest Concierge
Bed Rest Concierge of Plano, Texas, is a maternity concierge service that provides inspiration, encouragement and support to expectant mother’s on bed rest.
‘Ah ha’ moment that led to launching this business: I was on one of my last stints on hospital bed rest and I just decided, I have to make the bed rest journey for women like me. I knew I didn’t want to go back to corporate America and I was committed to making my own way and wanted to be a big part of my daughters life. I was so excited to have her in my life, so I had to do something to support her and pay our bills.
Ideal Customer: Working moms to be, 25-45 expanding their family or being a first time mom.
First Customer: After partnering with OB/Gyn’s and meeting with hospitals to announce that I was in business, my first client was a referral from a hospital. I couldn’t ask for more than that.
Measuring Success: Success to me was transitioning my idea into a thriving, viable business one year later. Success to me means people get what I’m offering, they understand my concept and understand the need and the value of the services that we provide. Acceptance by the mothers, hospitals and doctors I partner with gives my company validation and encouragement.
Biggest Struggle: I had to really block out opinions and thoughts that other people had for my business. I learned to really rely on myself and truly trust my gut. At the end of the day it is my company, my brand and my vision.
Surprise!: All of the things that I have to know. In corporate you get to focus on a job or a task. In business, you have to know everything. I don’t have to be an expert on all of it, but I have to know the ins and outs of every single aspect of my business.
Promoting Business: Targeting my mom’s groups, being present in the community, focusing on building a foundation and building a strong brand that is recognizable and trusted. With my service being so personal, I had to make sure that people liked us and trusted us since we deal with women during a vulnerable time in their lives.
Two things I wish I would’ve known: Just because someone tells you they know how to do something doesn’t mean they actually know how to do it. Check references for everyone that you work with.
What keeps you up at night (business-wise!)?: Networking, researching, learning and staying motivated to keep going. Reading about other women in business and learning from their stories. Brainstorming and planning is done in the wee hours of the night when it’s quiet and I can just write and focus on my business. I always have new business ideas at night. When I can turn off the world and turn on my business mind, I just go.
Ever tempted to throw in the towel and just get a job?: I was offered a job in March — and I said absolutely not. My vision and my dream is to own, run and expand a successful, profitable company — not go back to a cushy corporate job that pays well, that I just do eight hours of spreadsheets and go home. I want to make a difference in the lives of women, not have a job. The way that I make a difference is enhancing their pregnancy journey. I can’t do that unless I follow through and live the passion that I feel every time I think of the women I serve.
Moving Forward: We are expanding through franchising in the next six months, and actively seeking hospital partnerships.
Pricing, Getting It Right: Never try to get customers by offering the lowest price. Offer women a great service that they don’t mind spending their money on. Prada doesn’t really care if women think their shoes are too expensive: if she wants to wear a beautiful, branded, great-looking Prada shoes, a woman will pay for it. If you create an awesome product or a valuable service, the price won’t matter: women will want to own whatever you have.
A Few Good Tips: Maternity it big business, don’t let people think that you are a niche. Pregnancy will always be in style. Use your instincts as a mother to do business with a mother. Don’t use a corporate approach.
The absolute best part of owning my business is: I get to empower women and change their lives through my company.
If I had to start over again, I would have: done everything the same way.
I never imagined: websites would would be so difficult.
If standing on a rooftop facing crowds of aspiring or struggling small business owners, I would shout: “It’s your time. Take your shot.”