We’re lucky to have incredible birth resources in the Seacoast area. When I met Emma Dolan of Emma Dolan Birth Doula, I knew she was someone special. She is warm, kind, wicked smart, and I wish every mother could have Emma by her side during the birth of her child.
What better way to introduce Emma than by showcasing her amazing business branding session that we did recently!? I asked her a few questions so that you could get to know her and her mission. (Oh, and, if you’re not already, please join my Facebook Community to watch our LIVE Interview)
Emma and I sat down to chat about her mission and business story. I edited some of her responses for clarity but mostly left her responses as they were so that you could read her story. Enjoy!
Meet Emma Dolan Birth Doula | Dover, NH, and the Seacoast
1) Can you share about your business and who you serve?
My business is being a birth doula and a childbirth educator. I teach for Wentworth Douglass Hospital. As a doula, I provide non-medical support for people during pregnancy, labor, and birth primarily. That includes informational, emotional, and physical support. In terms of my business, as any small business owner, I wear many hats.
My day-to-day is consistent with prenatal meetings, interviews with potential clients, sending out contracts, sending out meetings, postpartum visits, and being on call. A lot of my life is being available for people. I also attend births for my clients when they’re in labor and at the hospital and sometimes that can be many hours. In terms of the people I serve, I serve anyone who reaches out and wants a doula.
The biggest category of clients I have are people who are looking for support for labor and birth, maybe because they have a specific idea of what they want out of their experience and others because they are particularly anxious about their labor and birth experience and they want someone who is able to walk them through and be next to them.
I’m also affiliated with Wentworth Douglass Hospital as a doula and support people who receive a scholarship to access doula support through the hospital. Through that program, I’m working with people who otherwise wouldn’t have doula support and really need it and could really use it. I love that aspect of my client base.
Emma Dolan Birth Doula’s Brand Story
2) What inspired you to start your business?
I’ve known about doulas forever and my mom had a doula for my sister’s birth and my birth. And so I grew up knowing about them which is really lucky. The summer between high school and college I became interested in birth work and just thinking more about it and realizing that was even an avenue that someone could go down in terms of a career path. I did a little doula training the winter of my freshman year of college just to see how it felt to think more about it and I loved it.
Throughout college, I did my undergrad at Mount Holyoke and I was studying anthropology and completed college certificates in culture, health, and science so public health, big picture conversations, and I absolutely loved it.
In my senior year of college, I wrote a thesis where I interviewed people about their cesarean birth stories and analyzed them in the bigger context of anthropological writings on birth and cesarean delivery which was amazing. When I graduated I was a little burnt out on academia and wanted to go into the practical side of things which is when I did my workshop to become a doula and got certified and started my business in June of 2019.
3) What’s the mission and vision of your business?
I want to empower families to “birth with intention.” That’s my mission for my clients. My goal when I work with someone is to have them be informed and educated and help them with asking questions so as they’re making choices throughout their pregnancy, labor, and birth they feel powerful, in control and when their experience is over they can look back on it with a positive memory.
That’s my goal for people. I want anyone who needs doula care to have access to doula care. That’s why I’m honored to be a part of that scholarship program at Wentworth Douglass so that people who need the care can get the care. I think everyone should have a doula.
Doulas aren’t just for people who want a natural birth experience. Doulas are helpful for all types of births, all types of intentions, and all types of outcomes and plans. We’re there and we should be there for all of them. Don’t be deterred if you can’t wait to get an epidural; you can still have a doula. I will still do my most for you.
4) What’s your biggest lesson learned on your entrepreneurial journey so far?
One thing that makes me unique as a doula local to where I am is that I’m young and don’t have my own children. I’ve grown my business alongside growing myself. I don’t know how to separate what I’ve learned out of my business versus what I’ve learned just being 22-25 years old. It’s really a lesson to just believe in myself and trust the process. There are a lot of days where I just had to do nothing to get to where I am. There’s a lot of planting seeds, watering them, and waiting for things to grow and that waiting is excruciating, but it paid off so well. For me it’s built strength and my inner compass of doing what is right and that it’ll work out.
Small Business Branding Session Tips
5) Any tips for preparing for your branding session?
My work is hard to photograph because I can’t exactly take photos with someone who is in labor. I needed to find ways to portray what I do during our branding session. Jennie and I chatted beforehand and brainstormed some ideas so that I felt confident and ready to go into my shoot. She had some great ideas and made me feel at ease.
I was so excited to shoot with Jennie as she came to my parent’s house because I wanted the photos to have a homey, comfy look instead of a studio look. They turned out amazing!
6) How did your branding photos help your business grow?
I rebranded about a month before the photos so I was excited to take my business to the next level. To take control and hire someone to do my branding was a huge step. I had only one headshot from when I started out so to have more than one photo was luxurious and having so many good ones from Jennie took my business to the next level. Having photos on social media that matched the photos on my website is great.
During my branding session, we did a mixture of professional photos, action shots, and candid shots. Jennie was able to capture where I was and share that with people who were interested in me as their doula. My business has taken off significantly since then and I think the branding and the photos had a piece of that. The percentage of times I get hired from an interview is much higher than it was even a year ago.
I think that’s because when people see me online and I look a certain way and they reach out to me and I am that same way then they hire me. There’s continuity. These photos really portray who I am so there are no surprises when people meet me in person.
8) Do you have a tip for someone who is just getting started out as a doula?
Be clear about why you are in this work and what you want out of it and how much you are willing to give it to get there. But be patient and make connections with your community. Other doulas are absolutely the people you want in your corner. It’s not competitive. There are not enough doulas in the world if everyone wants a doula. By banding together and getting the name of doula care out there it will benefit all of you equally.
So build your community. Doulas are your friends. In terms of business, the work pays off, and knowing that if you’re not doing 8 hours of work a day, you are doing enough and if you’re getting what you want out of it then that’s your business and your choice.
7) How can readers support you?
If you had a doula at your birth, talk about it! Talk about your positive birth experience because people only hear about the negative ones. You can find me on my Instagram and Facebook. You’re welcome to follow along and learn more even if you are not an expecting parent! If you have any questions for me or wish to learn more about how a doula can support your birth experience, please visit my website.
Why Have Business Branding Photos
Thank you for reading Emma’s story! Isn’t she amazing? I feel so lucky that I get to know businesses like hers through my photography business. If you’re interested in telling your story online, let’s chat about your branding session. Send me a message here.