As a mother and founder of Well-Rounded Maternity birth center in Milwaukee, Wis., Coral Slavin measures success by the value her business provides to the community. After working with the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Slavin’s company secured funding and expanded services to new and expectant parents.
Free-standing birth centers like Well-Rounded Maternity provide another option to parents who do not want a hospital birth. “Not everyone is attracted to having their baby with a midwife at home,” Slavin says. “Some feel more comfortable in another environment. That’s what birth centers offer—sort of a middle ground, for people who feel comfortable with an out-of-hospital birth, but not in their home.”
The center opened in 2004, but Slavin struggled with getting support for the first alternative childbirth center in Milwau
kee. As a result, profitability suffered. Unwilling to give up, Slavin enlisted the help of the Wisconsin SBDC at UW-Milwaukee.
“There was a point at about five years that I thought we were going to have to close the business, and that’s when having the SBDC as a resource really, really helped me,” Slavin says.
SBDC Consultant Laura Schmitz walked Slavin through business planning and strategies for increasing revenue and reducing costs. Applying those strategies, Slavin secured a business loan and diversified her services. She added a retail shop that sells maternity and infant supplies and expanded services to include workshops, yoga, and support groups.
In 2014, Slavin purchased a gutted building in Bay View and completed a huge renovation, doubling the workspace and adding employees.
“I just can’t endorse the SBDC enough!” Slavin says. “Although I have had a lot of tremendous support from the community and family and friends to get this business going, I really feel like I wouldn’t be here today without all of Laura and the center’s assistance.”
See more at the Well-Rounded Maternity website.
Learn more about the Wisconsin SBDC at UW-Milwaukee.
See more client success stories.