Leticia Herrera, Founder of Wonderfully made Ultrasounds
When I started out in my career, my plan was originally to climb the corporate latter in a hospital. To do that, I had to have a certain number of hours of training, so I did an externship for ultrasound at our local hospital, and fell completely in love with the hospital medical environment. I’ve always felt a connection with Obstetrics and there’s just so many different studies you can do being an ultrasound technician. You can do an ultrasound on all parts of the body, of course, but obstetrics is usually what people relate ultrasound to. When I was in school, I learned all of the protocols for each scan, and I did have my favorites, but Obstetrics always kind of stuck out to me. I knew if I was going to be in the medical field, an OBGYN office was kind of where I would end up.
I stayed at the local hospital a little bit longer than most do, just because I loved the hands-on experience and everything about the medical side of the ultrasound. After I had my daughter, who is now six, I changed my career path, because I wanted to be a mom that was out there with my kids, attended field trips, dance recitals and all the things. Usually when you’re in the medical field, especially working in a hospital, you don’t always get to pick and choose your schedule. You’re working nights and you’re doing 12-hour shifts, so it gets a little crazy. Once I had my daughter, I got a job in a different field, which had nothing to do with ultrasound.
One day, I dabbled in a 3D / 4D ultrasound session at a local ultrasound studio where I lived at the time and learned how to do them. At the school I went to, they didn´t teach us 3D and 4D, so it’s kind of trade off on its own. I really enjoyed everything about it and I meet amazing clients. These moms were so excited to meet their babies, and to be able to share that experience with their family was just something that was so special. After a while, I decided to leave that space too and just be a full-time mom. I was fully in the deeps of motherhood and staying at home with my oldest at the time. At some point, my husband brought up the idea of opening out own ultrasound studio. I personally, for some reason, never thought about it before, let alone had I an idea of what it would mean to be a business owner.
The grand opening took place in December 2019, just a few months after COVID happened. We took this huge leap of faith, being completely new to this entrepreneurship world, just to be forced to close down for two months due to the lock down. I remember there was a lot of uncertainty and it was really scary. It was just me and I was working six days, every week, trying to get the business off the ground. Our business was new in our town and nobody knew who we were, what we did, or how special our trade really is. Trying to get a whole town to know that you’re there and what special moments you can create for these moms and families, was really a challenge. I grew up here and I’ve lived here my whole life and most everybody knows everybody.
People out here are very small business oriented and our community shows up for small businesses, which is pretty exciting to see, but we small business owners don’t have what these franchises have. We don’t have the extra staff, the extra money, and the budget to pull up billboards on every street, run commercials and ads and all of that stuff. So, it’s truly difficult to get people to know that you’re there when you’re a brand-new business. So I did what every small business owner would do for marketing: I jumped on the social media wagon. We´re on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok and try to reach our clientele there. I also looked into collaborating with doctors’ offices, local OBGYN and took my flyers to them. They are the ones that are seeing the mommies first when they find out that they’re pregnant.
Credit: Wonderfull Made Ultrasounds
Credit: Wonderfull Made Ultrasounds
The plan was originally that the moms could bring family and friends to the studio and share these moments, e.g. listen to the heartbeat of the baby or look at a beautiful 3D/4D picture on the big screen. But now there were all these rules and regulations that made it really challenging to still create a beautiful environment. Of course, we had to take proper precautions, but we are generally a very clean studio. I´m a little bit of a neat freak. So, we we’re constantly cleaning, sanitizing and made sure that our moms felt safe. In terms of capacity, we kept it very intimate and only allowed one family at a time in our studio. And we actually still do that, even though the rules aren’t as strict anymore. But we discovered that we really like the one-on-one intimate session with our clients, where they don’t feel rushed because somebody else is waiting in the lobby. They feel like they are in a living room just watching their baby wiggle around and smile with their family next to them.
And every baby cooperates differently. I wish I could say it was easy to get these beautiful pictures every time a mom comes in, but you know, the babies are in their own little world. And we’re over here, just trying to get their little face to smile or see their eyes and their nose and all their cute little facial features. We give the mom enough time to allow us to try our best. And if baby’s still not cooperating, we’ll step outside of the room, we let them bounce on a yoga ball, drink some water, or anything to try to get that baby to move. Then we come back in and we give it another try. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, we do allow moms to come back within two weeks of that first initial appointment to do a complimentary rescan, they don’t have to pay again for that second visit. A lot of parents even came back multiple times during their pregnancies or for a second time with a second pregnancy, which allows us to also grow that connection with the families. We’ve been open now three years and were able to see these families grow in such a short time.
We call our concept the fun side of ultrasound, I would say. We have a large room for our families where they can bring as many people as they want to see the baby. It’s an exciting experience, for sure, and definitely a lot different than a doctor’s office. Seeing the baby for the first time, listening to that heartbeat for the first time, and then, months later, they’re 35 weeks pregnant, and they’re coming in for a 3D/4D session and we can see the facial features of the baby, how they’re smiling, yawning, and doing all these cute things. We can also record highlight clips, e.g. baby smiles. It’s a perfect little 10 second clip that you can save and you can post on social media. We also do live stream for family or friends who are not able to attend that session in person.
I know a lot of people that don’t really associate COVID with a great experience. But for me, it’s a little different. I felt like my business really grew during that time, because it allowed a lot of my clients to look for other resources that allow the extra family time, since their doctor’s offices weren’t allowing family members to come in. Now we´re in our third year and have a full-time employee, she’s amazing. She holds it down at the studio for me during the week and I pretty much do everything behind the scenes. When I first opened, I was working six days a week, trying to get it off the ground and get people to know I was here. If they called, I wanted to be the one to answer the phone, because obviously I didn’t want them to go anywhere else. I was definitely that person, that was trying her hardest to be successful.
My oldest is six now, and my second one just 1,5. In true female entrepreneur manner, I´m also juggling between being a business owner as well as a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, and all of these roles that we play. It takes a toll and I’m definitely tired a lot of days. Nap time is a very important time for me; that´s when I try to make it a point to focus on things that I need for my studio. The baby gets rest, and I get some work in. My husband has also always been a huge support. My number one, and the one that created the idea of our little studio here. He is usually home on Fridays, which is very helpful so I´m able to do some things in the studio that do require attention from me to actually be there. Sometimes, I will have my girls with me here; washing linens, folding towels and cleaning and organizing things, but that´s just after hours. I don’t bring them with me when we have clients, because I like to stay as professional as possible. It´s no secret that I´m a mom myself, but I don’t like for our clients to feel like there’s too much going on. It gets busy when kids are around and I want them to know that this is about them, their kids and their babies.
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