The Austin Doula Collective: Small Austin Business Making a DifferencePosted: October 7, 2015
As the owner of a small local business, there is nothing that I love more than to see a new business grow. That is why I enjoy writing about their successes and talking with the owners to see how they have translated their visions into viable businesses. This month I talked with one of the co-owners of The Austin Doula Collective, Sarah Stasica, a business that offers support services to women and their families during one of the most exciting times of their lives.
What is the Austin Doula Collective?
Austin Doula Collective is a group of individual birth and postpartum doulas who offer support to families during pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.
Why did you become a doula?
I was drawn to doula work because of my passion for the birth of a baby as well as the birth of a family. There is nothing more beautiful, amazing and miraculous as seeing a new little person come into the world. I know that women are strong and I love to help them connect with that strength in labor and early parenting.
In addition to co-founding the Austin Doula Collective, Sarah is also a volunteer with Giving Austin Labor Support (GALS). because she believes that every woman deserves to have loving support during labor regardless of income level.
Why did you start the company?
I started the collective because I wanted to build a supportive community for myself and other doulas interested in joining. This work is amazing and beautiful but it is also intense and can be hard. It is really important for doulas to have a community they can turn to when they need to find loving support. I feel that the doulas in our collective support each other just as we support our clients. I also wanted to start this collective because business is what I already knew. My degree is in finance and I spent nine years out of college working in the financial industry before starting my own small business.
How do you see the business growing over the next few years?
I see the business growing by adding more doulas so that we can support more families in Austin. We intentionally are growing very slowly because we want to make sure that our doulas all share the same philosophy of loving support for both clients and each other. We believe in supporting women and their families without bringing judgment to their choices. We believe that each woman’s birth is individual and there is no wrong way for a woman to birth her baby.
Have you used any promotional products? If so, has it been successful for your business?
Yes, we do use promotional products. We wear Austin Doula Collective shirts to the births we attend which we feel looks more professional while also making our collective more visible. We also give each of our clients an Austin Doula Collective onesie when their baby is born. We have also ordered our business cards from Armadillo and plan to order postcards this fall to spread the word about our collective.
Any advice that you would like to give to anyone thinking about becoming a doula?
Yes, I think that if they feel drawn to the work they should look into different doula training options. I did my training through Doula Training International (DTI) and I really loved their mentoring program. You do five intense days of training and then you are in a nine month mentorship program where you are assigned an experienced mentor and you also have your training class to communicate with. I would say that the lifestyle can be challenging because of being on call so much and missing out on things because babies come when they are ready so you may miss a holiday with your family. I believe the future of doula work is in shared call, it just makes this work more sustainable. I partner with Janixa Ramos, the other co-founder of the collective, so that we are a prenatal team for our clients and whichever one of us is on call will attend the labor and do the postpartum visit. This set up allows us to fully support our clients but also take care of ourselves and give our lives a bit more predictability. Finally, I would say that I feel so lucky each time I can be there to support a woman and then see her child come into the world. There is nothing more beautiful than birth, both the birth of the child but also the birth of the woman into a mother.