Family Creations and its Founders Julia Alkire and Stephanie Goldman-Levich have been featured in the September issue of ForbesWoman.
Entrepreneurial Success in Your 20s: Julia Alkire & Stephanie Goldman-Levich
Julia Alkire and Stephanie Goldman, now both 27, met in their early 20s at a California-based egg donation agency. Alkire specialized in recruiting healthy egg donors. Goldman worked with recipient parents who’d had difficulty conceiving on their own.
They shared a tiny office space and became close friends who vented workplace frustrations and dreamed of how things would be if they were in charge. Then in 2005, over lunch at a Taco Bell, the idea hit: Why not start their own company? Alkire pulled out a notepad and started outlining how their egg donation business would look.
They got help from Goldman’s father, a CPA, who invested in their company and persuaded a colleague to do the same. That $100,000 seed money was all they needed to launch Family Creations–a name they invented while taking a work break on playground swings.
For a month they met daily at a Los Angeles public library–because both women lived in small apartments without computers–to plan the launch.
After renting an office in Woodland Hills, a Los Angeles suburb, Goldman pitched the company to physicians, whose referrals connected them to potential recipient parents. Alkire conducted Web marketing to locate donors and screened for factors such as age and health. She weeded out about 75% of applicants to guarantee strong donors.
By 2008 they had 500 egg donors in their system, up from an initial 200, and revenues of $430,000. After only three years they’ve quadrupled their initial investment. Next year they plan to open a second office in San Francisco and also launch a surrogacy program for prospective mothers who can’t carry a pregnancy.
Such entrepreneurial success in one’s 20s has special challenges. At first Goldman worried that doctors wouldn’t take her seriously. But then she realized that her knowledge, confidence and conservative business attire worked in her favor.
Alkire had to get comfortable supervising employees who were considerably older than she–including a case manager in her 50s. She used to avoid revealing her age but now says proudly: “Yes, I am 27 and I own a successful company. It’s possible.”
The pair remain close (Alkire was a bridesmaid at Goldman’s July wedding) and lean on each other in what can be an emotional profession. “When we get a call from a parent saying they didn’t get pregnant, sometimes I’ve had to close the office door and cry,” says Alkire. “But when we get the call saying that they are pregnant, we jump up and down and celebrate with them.”
By: Jenna Goudreau
ARTICLE CAN ALSO BE VIEWED HERE: http://www.forbes.com/2009/09/28/fertility-infertility-egg-donation-forbes-woman-entrepreneurs-small-business.html