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The Amazing Journey of Korena James

by Adam Howarth, Editor
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This article is the first in what will hopefully be a regular series looking at children and family life. We start with the amazing journey of Korena James. Korena had to undergo great hardship to become pregnant. Even when she finally managed it, little did she know it was just the start of an incredible odyssey.

Background

Korena James is a business owner and mother. She served with the Royal Navy for 27 years, rising to Warrant First Class Police Officer and then Flight Deck Officer.

Korena had always longed to have children, and back in 1995, unknowingly started on a heart-wrenching journey. Following a decade of IVF treatment with failed cycles, Korena had very few eggs left and felt it just might have been time to give up this long battle.

Becoming Pregnant

In July 2010, however, Korena flew to Athens following a recommendation. She had her first transfer and became pregnant. Nine months later, just as Korena was preparing for the moment she had waited 16 years for, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. With the imminent arrival, doctors delayed treatment until Levi was born a week later. Following a bilateral breast removal five days later, Korena finally enjoyed the moment she had dreamt of.

Levi’s christening

Some might think after finally having a beautiful, healthy baby boy after 16 years of trying and surviving cancer, enough would be enough. Not Korena. After coming off drugs for 12 months with her oncologist’s approval, another son, Jude, arrived in 2014. In October 2016, another trip to Athens created another pregnancy. However, this time she miscarried.

She had a private clinic visit to Birmingham for dilation and curettage in January 2017. Following this, she had a scan on of all days, Mother’s Day 28th March 2017, in preparation for flying out to Greece. To her absolute amazement, the staff there told her she was 20 weeks pregnant!

Theo is Born!

Theo was born at 28 weeks, weighing just over two pounds. After spending eight weeks in the special care baby unit (SCBU), Theo was finally allowed home weighing a little over four pounds. A year later, Xanthe, Korena’s first daughter, was born at 34 weeks, weighing five pounds.

With both babies, Korena experienced great difficulty in finding clothes to fit. Locally and nationally, there was almost nothing out there. With an estimated 60,000 babies born prematurely in the UK every year, Korena spotted an opportunity and Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique sprang into life.

The clothing range caters for babies from 1.5 pounds up to 8 pounds. They stock everything from sleepsuits, dresses, trouser-and-top sets to a selection of accessories. The clothing is available in a range of colours: from pinks and blues to yellows and whites. Korena carefully chooses each item, ensuring there are no limitations just because of the size.

We hope you’re enjoying our article entitled The Amazing Journey of Korena James. For more of our article about children and family, please click here.

Home Storage!

Following Korena’s children’s births at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd SCBU, this was initially the primary sales source. Korena offered a free delivery service to the unit. She stored a small selection of clothing in the back room at home and advertised the business through family, friends, and social media.

Korena’s passion and dedication created new avenues of opportunity and Mummy & Theo’s clothing range went on sale at a local high-street store. As the brand established itself, the demand for an online presence became apparent. Consequently, she created a Facebook store and Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique own dedicated e-commerce website. This accessibility took additional pressure off new mums trying to find and purchase a selection of clothing for their new premature arrival.

The North Wales press has noticed Korena’s story and the niche market Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique caters. She has also appeared on North Wales TV.

The Neonatal Charity Cuddles

The Parents Special Care Unit in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has now recognised Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique and Korena sits on the neonatal charity Cuddles committee.

Theo in hospital

Korena created Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique for parents, family, and friends of premature babies following her personal experience of having two premature babies. Starting a business based upon real-life experiences to benefit others in a similar position is inspirational and impressive. Korena having experienced first-hand what parents are going through provides a particularly unique selling point for the business.

Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique caters to a very niche market. As we’ve mentioned previously, an estimated 60,000 babies are born prematurely in the UK every year with 3,500 of those are in Wales. These numbers create a challenge as this is only five per cent of the UK market. It is a massive achievement for a small North Wales company with just one employee (Korena herself) already to have a market share within the sector.

With an ambitious and concise business plan, Korena is now focusing on achieving growth not just locally in Wales, but also nationally.

A Fantastic Response

Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique had their own little mission: to make it easy for families and loved ones to find appealing, practical and affordable clothes and gifts for premature babies of various sizes. The fantastic response from its customers and the show of support have been overwhelming.

The company’s sales for the first year have shown a stable increase with a demand for additional products and information. In the last month, Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique has increased its product range to include seatbelt covers and four-piece sets. Korena is also investing in a new e-commerce website to provide a fresh user experience and create a space for parents to share their stories.

Great Social Media Engagement

Korena has identified that the majority of sales are online. Consequently, Korena has worked hard to provide Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique items across several internet platforms.

Through offline and online networking, Mummy & Theo’s Little Baby Boutique has become a well-known online boutique in North Wales. On social media alone, Facebook reach has increased by 170% within the last 12 months and Twitter is achieving engagement from 147,000 users on average every week!

We hope you enjoyed our article entitled The Amazing Journey of Korena James. For more of our article about children and family, please click here.

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