A Business Built on a Good Night’s Sleep
Starting a business is an endeavor frequently associated with long, sleepless nights, but Denise Stern created her company around the promise of restful slumber. An overnight infant care provider founded in 2010, Let Mommy Sleep salves a common pain point for new moms and dads: sleep deprivation. The company’s experienced baby nurses care for newborns so parents can rest up for the busy days ahead.
To celebrate National Women’s Small Business Month in October, we spoke with Denise about her own experiences as an entrepreneur and business owner. Excerpts from our interview with Denise are as follows. For more on the growing number of women-owned businesses, see this infographic.
On creating Let Mommy Sleep (LMS)….
“Let Mommy Sleep provides overnight care to families transitioning from hospital to home with their newborns. Our registered nurses and other clinically trained caregivers provide evidence-based education to parents and nurturing care to babies. Many parents in this generation do not have family support because Grandma and Grandpa are still in the workforce themselves, and these same parents are often up against the clock of little or no maternity/paternity leave. Topping these factors off with the shortest hospital stays in history and parents' many questions about caring for their newborn, overnight care becomes a vital service to keep new families healthy and happy.”
On giving back….
“After seeing the profound effect LMS can have on families, it quickly became apparent that we had to find a way to offer the service for free to those who may not be able to afford it, so I founded Mission Sleep (www.missionsleep.org). Mission Sleep provides free overnight care to military mothers whose babies arrive when their partners are deployed, wounded, or deceased. The non-profit is a part of our company we cherish greatly.”
On being a female entrepreneur…
“I do feel that on the whole women can undervalue themselves in the business realm. Because we truly want to connect with people and generally want others to like us, we may miss out on opportunities to fight for our product or worth. When I was just starting out a few years ago I had a meeting with a very prominent CEO to discuss a possible partnership. I was a nervous wreck having been out of the business world for a few years and my husband took me by the shoulders and said, ‘You need to realize you hold the same title as he.’ That resonated with me. Now I give this advice to other women: Know your value and don't be afraid of it.”
On the growing number of women-owned small businesses…
“I want to clap when I see the 20% increase in small business ownership among women! Not just because [the statistic is about] women but because it is such a testament to the American spirit! In these challenging economic times, many women who planned to be stay-at-home moms turn to entrepreneurism because they need to find creative ways to care for their families and contribute monetarily. The fact that these women are doing both by starting their own businesses is a true testament to Americans' resourcefulness, resilience and work ethic.”
On National Women’s Small Business Month…
“This National Women's Small Business Month is the biggest ever and it has to be because more moms than ever are entrepreneurs. Let Mommy Sleep is thrilled to be part of business history. I hope that 2014 brings even more expansion for growing small businesses through partnerships with other like-minded companies. This is a win/win for the companies and their audiences. Referring to other excellent businesses when asked is an invaluable part of customer service, so I hope to see even more strong partnerships form for the good of all small businesses and the customers that support us. And, of course, I want to see expansion for women-owned businesses. For Let Mommy Sleep this means launching our nationwide franchising efforts in January and bringing our service and our non-profit, Mission Sleep, to families across America.”
Denise Stern, founder of Let Mommy Sleep, with her family.