Story and photo by Daniel Friedman
It’s not often that a business owner can test run a business and then come back to it eight years later. Daryl Collier of Chandler did just that with her business, Beautiful Mommy.
In 2003 Collier started taking pictures of new mothers with their babies a day or two after the birth. The idea for the business came after Collier looked at pictures of herself with her newborn son Aaron, and wished she had put on some makeup to hide the dark circles under her eyes. Labor is exhausting and “you have those pictures of yourself forever,” she says.
Depending on the package you order, Beautiful Mommy sends a makeup artist and/or hair stylist and photographer to the hospital room or to a new mom’s home to “make the mother feel and look like she did before the labor,” says Collier. She thinks moms will appreciate the touch-ups years later when photos still grace a wall or Facebook page.
Back in 2003 her children, Samantha and Aaron, were 1 and 3 years old and the juggling of toddlers and a business just wasn’t working out, though the business “did phenomenally well” Collier says. Then her husband, Chris, got a job in the White Mountains, where they moved for a few years. Now that Aaron is 12 and Samantha is 9, Collier has more time to devote to the business. “The time is now,” she says. Beautiful Mommy has been back in business for four months.
Collier worked in the cosmetics industry for years and did some makeup for commercial advertising shoots, so she knows the business. She has had a home office since 1994, so she knows how to organize her work environment and schedule to set parameters for efficiency. Her children have grown up with her working from home and they know the office is off limits.
On occasion when they were young, she had to lock herself in the bathroom or garage to keep loud children at bay as she talked with clients on the phone. “You don’t want screaming children in the background,” Collier says. Now the kids are an asset. Samantha, for example, helps out with administrative tasks like labeling client folders.
Collier has no problem switching between business and household chores. She can easily have a business call and then unload the dishwasher. She also likes being able to work poolside. When she worked in an actual office she found it to be more of a social environment than an efficient business environment; she prefers to work in her quiet home, away from distractions of the workplace.
As with any business, finding customers is the big hurdle to success. Baby showers are a profitable avenue because it is easy for a few people to go in for a gift and grandparents like to get a photo of the newborn with the new mom. Ninety percent of the Beautiful Mommy makeup/photo packages are gifts.
Because babies are born on their own schedules, Collier’s stylists and photographers are never sure exactly when they will spring into action. They will go to Valley hospitals for the photo shoot, though most take place at the mothers’ homes because hospital stays these days are generally short.
Read more about Beautiful Mommy.
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