Creating Community with a Baby Expo with Natalie Fay: Podcast Episode #217
Kristin Revere chats with Natalie Fay of 9in9out and Sound Sleepers by Natalie Fay about the importance of creating a community and how to do so with a baby expo.
Hello, hello. This is Kristin Revere with Ask the Doulas, and I am so excited to chat with my friend Natalie Fay. Natalie Fay is a certified sleep consultant through the Center for Pediatric Sleep Management and a member of the International Pediatric Sleep Association. As founder of Sound Sleepers by Natalie Fay, Natalie works with a diverse array of families to cultivate healthy sleep habits for their children and households as a whole.
Hi, Kristin! It’s so good to be here!
So happy to have you! Now, we first met through a training, a baby registry training. So it’s really fantastic to expand our relationship by working on your amazing baby expo, 9in9out.
Yes. Thanks for the great introduction! I’m Natalie, and I am a certified pediatric sleep consultant, and I do own my own sleep business where I work with children and families to get sleep where they’d like it in their home. But also, I have another hat that I wear, and me and my co-founder, Jackie Cook, have launched a new and expecting parent expo called 9in9out that we have birthed by just being in the postpartum space ourselves as professionals and realizing that there are so many gaps in services that our clients are expressing to us. But there are so many professionals like us that we know of that we can refer to. So we thought it’d be great to kind of take a new spin on the classic baby expo and make it less about all the stuff and more about helpful resources and kind of helping to shift the narrative about new parenthood anyway in the US.
And that’s what I loved about your model when I learned about your expo that took place in Wisconsin through Be Her Village and saw all the publicity. With the core focus at Gold Coast being on the newborn care, especially overnights, I do feel like there is so much more focus on, say, birth doulas and pregnancy prep but not as much on the postnatal preparation and postnatal resources. So I begged both you and Jackie to bring your expo to Grand Rapids.
Yeah, and you know, we were really happy to do so. It was really encouraging. We had our first event here in Madison, Wisconsin where we both live, and it was such a well-received, brand new experience for people that kind of came and didn’t quite know exactly what it was about, because we were brand new. But after being able to walk through and meet face to face with people that are in their community that they could connect with and kind of form a postpartum care team for themselves – it was really encouraging. And we also had some special sessions throughout the day where people could look forward to learning about a topic that they were interested in, led by local experts. And that was really cool, too. Just having that community was a great thing for Madison, and we’re excited to be able to take it to a couple new cities, and we hope to just keep growing.
I love it! Fill our audience in about your 2024 schedule and the cities that you’ll be in and how they can get connected.
Absolutely. For 2024, we have locked in four dates, three cities. So the first one will be taking place on Long Island, and that one is on March 24th, 2024. And then we will be in Madison on April 14th, 2024. And then Grand Rapids on May 5th, 2024. And then in the fall of 2024, we haven’t locked in a date, but we’re going to run a second event here in Madison.
Amazing. And that’s nice because pregnancy is such a temporary phase, and early parenting, and so you’re able to meet the needs at different times of the year in your own local market.
Yes. And kind of just to hone in on the name, 9in9out, we kind of hope to encompass the prenatal, pregnancy, and about the first year postpartum. So any sort of professional or resource that would be helpful for someone in those categories is who you’d find at one of our events.
And I love that, again, you have speakers. People can visit exhibitors, and there’s also the networking for the professionals in the birth and baby space.
Yeah, so our audience is kind of twofold. We’re trying to build community in general for everyone involved, but community for the professionals themselves, too. We offer a networking breakfast before the event. And then also community for the parents that attend. So it’s really neat to see that kind of all meld together.
Love it. And you do have a premiere sponsor for all of the locations. Do you want to chat a bit about that?
Sure. For all of our locations, we offer a tiered level of sponsorship. So putting on this event is lot of effort, and it’s really wonderful to have so many eager professionals that want to join us at the level that feels right for them. So for each city, we have not only premiere sponsors, but we also are partnering with a local nonprofit for attendees to be able to donate to that nonprofit when they purchase their event ticket. That’s something that’s important to us is to give back to a cause that it’s the community that we are actually going to.
Excellent. And Be Her Village is a sponsor for each of your cities. In fact, Long Island is kind of their home city, at least Kaitlin’s.
Yes. Be Her Village, for those that don’t know, is a really great resource for both parents and professionals. We have such a synergistic relationship with them that our event is basically like the in-person expression of their online baby registry. So we’ve partnered with them as the premiere sponsor in every city. Each attendee and also each birth professional are able to get registered with them at a nice discount, and you’re actually to able go through the event and scan a QR code of provider’s table that you really seem to connect with, and you can add it to your Be Her Village registry right then and there, which is a really neat aspect of our events that our attendees have really enjoyed.
Exactly. And each of our businesses are part of the Be Her Village registry, so I’m a big fan.
Yeah, they’re wonderful.
So any other thoughts on why families should consider attending an expo like 9in9out?
Yeah. You know, this goes back to the mission that Jackie, my co-founder, and I talked about as we were forming the idea for 9in9out, and that is that a lot of times, the clients that we see come to us in a place of pain or great challenge, and they’ve gotten there because they hadn’t had the resources to support them with sleep or with pelvic floor health or anything in that prenatal or pregnancy or postpartum realm. So instead of waiting for it to get to a point that is so dire, we hope to kind of help people start changing the way they think and kind of be proactive about it and realize that there are so many wonderful small businesses and resources that can help them. And so coming to the event is a great way to meet with people face to face, not just read about them on a website, and chat with them in real time in your community and then maybe find out that it can be something that would really benefit your whole overall well-being, mental, physical, and spiritual health.
Yeah, and even for families who are in that pre-conception stage of talking about wanting to build a family, it would be a great way to see what your resources are and learn in advance versus a month before the due date, for example.
Yeah. So it’s great, and on all of our socials, we will posting kind of what for each event you can expect to see. So the vendors and the line-up of special sessions so you can kind of keep a pulse on if something sounds really interesting to you, to make sure to attend at that time. And we’ll be really transparent about that. I will say, too, it’s kind of meant to be sort of like a self-care day. So we have coffee and food available at the event, and there’s also really fun swag bags, so you can get a goodie bag, and then you can also enter to win some pretty awesome giveaways that our vendors generously donate. So that’s kind of a little perk of being there at an in-person event.
I love swag. It’s one of my favorite things about going to expos and conferences.
Awesome. So if you could share not only your social media channels but the website with our audience, that would be great.
We are on Facebook and Instagram, and it’s 9in_9out. And then our website is www.9inand9out.com.
Excellent. So Natalie, let’s get into a bit about your Sound Sleepers business. I’m curious how you decided to pursue being a sleep consultant as a career.
Yeah, so I became certified as a sleep consultant in 2020, and this was after a lot of career soul searching. I was actually in graduate school to become a child psychologist. I’ve always liked working with children and families. I know that’s where my passion lies. But that actual program and that career that I thought I wanted to do for many reasons turned out to not be what I wanted to do once I was actually in it. So I had a moment of a little bit of an identity crisis in my career path where I thought I wanted to do something, and it turned out I didn’t. So after a lot of soul searching – also, I will say that I had a history of being a professional nanny, so working with families in that way. I realized that what I really like to do is work with very young children, especially babies. I’m also really good at helping parents have their children sleep, and I didn’t realize that you could actually do that professionally. And once I found that out, it’s almost like I just felt it in my body, that that’s what I’m supposed to do. So I became formally certified. It was really great to learn a lot of information and really good research that has been done on sleep for children. And then I became certified and launched my business, and now I support families. I do one on one support. I’ll also give talks to small groups. I’ve done it in my community and the local preschool. I’ve even had the chiropractor have me kind of give them some content, and they provided that to their pediatric families. So it’s been really great. I definitely still have that hat on, as well.
Love it. So how can our listeners find you if they’re interested in having you speak virtually or in person, depending on location, or of course work with you?
Yeah. My business is called Sound Sleepers by Natalie Fay. My website is soundsleepersbynataliefay.com. And then I’m also on Instagram and Facebook, and that is @soundsleepers. You can reach out to me via DM. On my website, I also have a contact form. So whether you’re a client, interested, or interested in business collaboration, you can reach me that way.
And of course, our listeners can find you at 9in9out next year in multiple cities.
Yes. So if you’re near any of those cities and are interested in attending as a new parent, or if you are interested in maybe being a business involved by giving a talk or being a vendor or a sponsor, just please go ahead and reach out, and we’d be happy to share with you a little bit more about how that would work.
Excellent. Any final tips for our listeners, Natalie?
Our message that we’re trying to give out into the world is that things are better done in community. So no one is alone, and there’s a lot of resources out there for new and expecting parents, so just make sure to look to your community. That’s kind of the message and what we’re trying to put forward with 9in9out.
Great advice. Well, thank you so much for your time, and I will see you next year.
Sounds great. Thank you, Kristin!