Well...It has been a rough couple months, but I am still around! February 2nd, I was ready to open a new Family Center in Longview. I had the place, was moved in, and had received some products ready sell. I had been working on my business plan and ideas for almost a year. I had vendors ready and most were shipping products to me. Then...it happened.
I had a very large order placed with Medela. As many of you know, Medela is a forerunner for pregnancy and breastfeeding. They have many products, ranging from nursing bras, to breastpumps, to breastfeeding accessories. Well, I had been pre-approved in 2012 to begin the application and place my first qualifying order. So, in January 2013, I placed my qualifying order and was waiting on my shipment, just before the center opening. Well, about a week before opening, I called my rep. to see what the status of my order was and I could not reach her. Then a few more unanswered calls and unanswered emails, and I became frustrated and called customer service. They told me that they did not see my order and they were not accepting new retail orders. I just about hyperventilated! I proceeded with an emergency call to my rep, explaining my panic. She then called me...maybe because I was crying on her voicemail.
According to her, because of the Affordable Care Act that was passed in late 2012, many insurances were unable to see the fine lines until it became effective in January. Once they were able to look into it, they realized that breastfeeding services and many supplies were now free and covered under insurance policies. Great news for the nursing mama, but not for me. Because of this new law and these free items, manufacturers of these breastfeeding supply companies were the last to know and weren't given enough notice to increase production of their products, thus leaving them in short supply. This resulted in limited products at current retail stores, causing not enough products to be available for new retailers, and there lies the problem.
Not only did they just cancel the breastpumps in my order, but they cancelled the whole order. Mind you, this was an order for a few thousand dollars, including over 50 products for my center. So why did I have to put the kabosh on the whole thing? Well, these products were the meat and bones for the product sales of my business plan. I could have started with other companies that produced similar products, but they too were in the same boat as Medela. No other company carries the vast amount of supplies that I needed either, and the application process can take up to a month. I would have had to make new accounts with many manufactures to come up with the supplies that Medela would have had for me.
Unfortunately, I could not afford to keep sales up with just a few products for a month or so while I waited for approvals for new acquisitions. Half of my business was the center portion, with classes and events, but the other half was for sales of products. If I only made 1/4 of the sales, I couldn't pay bills. Classes were planned to grow gradually over the next few months, but I didn't anticipate full classes for 3-4 months. Already, I am now down several thousand dollars that I put into the initial startup. I could not financially keep it afloat without all the sales also. I covered the finances with my own personal account. In essence, I am broke, out of a business, and out of a job.
Why am I telling you this? I want you to all know that I tried coming up with other options for our community. Did I fail? I don't know that for sure, but I do have hope to keep growing the passion in our community for family growth and development. I love being a resource for everyone. I treasure your pregnancies, your births, your babies, and your family. I would love to try again, but would need to pay up some bills before I get back on the bike.
I do have some products that I could not send back, so they are for sale. I carry: My Brest Friend, Earth Mama Angel Baby, Aden & Anais, Pretty Pushers, and Ceasara. You can help by purchasing from me and also getting my name out there for all your pregnant and nursing mama friends. I am back to life without a full time job for my family, so any referrals would be greatly appreciated:)
Thank you Longview/Kelso.