Like many first-time moms, Michelle Donahue-Arpas was so excited with her
pregnancy that she vowed to find opportunities to work at home. Above
anything else, when baby Trisha was born, she wanted to be with her rather
than return to her career as a social worker.
Looking for opportunities online, she came across the idea of selling
gift boxes composed of infant development products. On July 2, 1998, she
started GeniusBabies.com (http://www.geniusbabies.com
With little cash and limited technical expertise, Michelle defied the
odds and built GenuisBabies.com as a premier online baby boutique,
featuring developmental and educational baby products, toys and gifts,
prenatal through pre-K.
There is so much to learn from reading Michelle's story - from dealing
with web designers to patience in working out deals with manufacturers.
She shows that the route to success in e-commerce is no different from
that of a traditional business: hard work and determination are still
How Did Your
As they say, "necessity is the mother of invention." And it
is! From the moment I learned that I was pregnant; I knew that I wanted to
stay at home and take care of my baby. I did not want to return to work
full-time as a Social Work Supervisor, yet I wanted to provide a
supplemental income to our household.
I absolutely wanted to stay home. Every time I thought about leaving
home and putting this infant in some caregiver's arms, the more I wanted
to stay at home.
I was online all the time looking for jobs, posting on the different
job boards for things that I can work from home. However, I discovered
that there is not a great amount of legitimate work-at-home opportunities.
I even responded to those work-at-home ads advertised at the back of a
baby magazine, only to find that those were scams.
How did you come up
with this idea?
I was expecting my first child, and I was very interested in prenatal
and infant stimulation - particularly utero learning and classical music
effects in baby development. I was spending a great deal of time
researching pregnancy, prenatal care and baby development on the Internet.
I was on an expecting moms board and they were talking about "Oh,
I'm using classical music for stimulation for my baby." Then the
light bulb went on that I combine my two passions: the desire to stay home
with my baby, and my interest and belief in infant development and
During that time, I was living in Atlanta and the Governor started a
program distributing classical music CDs to all the babies born in Atlanta
hospitals. It caused quite a stir, but it gave the idea of prenatal and
infant stimulation more promotion. It was great timing for me, as there
was a lot of buzz on how important the first twelve months to three years
of a baby's development.
I began looking at different infant stimulation and pre-natal products.
I started thinking of those junky baby gift baskets - and there is nothing
worthwhile in them, just little tubes of lotion and powder -- that people
pay about $60 to send to family and friends. Everyone in my family
received them every time they had a baby, so we had tons of those. People
spent good money to send them, and they were things that they couldn't
I thought I could combine some things that would be beneficial to a
baby, preferably those that could have long lasting positive effects. My
idea was to put together classical music CD, infants still video - there
were some in the market that had just come out that I love like Baby
Einstein, and Baby Mozart - and they are wonderful. Then throw in an
infant development toy. I made them more affordable, starting with $19.95
The entire business started with those gift packages. There were 5 for
babies and 5 for fun birthday gifts. The products increased as the
| 1 |
2 | 3
| 4 | next