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Novi Mom’s Idea for a Small Business Sticks

Four years ago Carly Dorogi was searching for an easy way to record her children’s milestones. Now, 300,000 customers agree her idea has sticking power.

Carly Dorogi's business, Sticky Bellies, has 300,000 customers. She attributes some of its success to customer service. The business is growing, but she's the only one who answers emails. (Screenshot: WXYZ video)
Carly Dorogi's business, Sticky Bellies, has 300,000 customers. She attributes some of its success to customer service. The business is growing, but she's the only one who answers emails. (Screenshot: WXYZ video)

Successful businesses don’t need storefronts. Sometimes a spare room upstairs is enough.

That’s the case with Carly Dorogi of Novi, the founder and chief executive of Sticky Bellies.

That’s not what happens to children’s bellies when they eat spaghetti with their shirts off. But it might be what gets applied the first time the little tykes tet all the spaghetti in their mouth.

WXYZ, Channel 7, explains:

Dorogi, the mother of two, has developed a simple way for parents to document their children’s milestones. It’s as simple as peel, stick and snap, according to Dorogi’s web site.

The stickers – which share information about the child’s age, the particular milestone, the holiday or event and other important scrapbook information – attach easiy and can be removed and reused.

Dorogi said that when she was a child, her mother always made special outfits to mark special occasions. Dorogi says she’s not the seamstress her mother is, but when her daughter Mila was born, she wanted a special way to mark milestones.

“I can’t even sew a button on a shirt, so making these elaborate shirts wasn’t an option,” she told WXYZ.  “I said to my husband, ‘I wish there was a way that it could be temporary, put it on her shirt and take it off; it’s just a two second picture.’ And he said ‘why don’t you do it?’ ”

She accepted the challenge. And it turns out that she wasn’t the only parent looking for a simple way to record milestones as they happen.

Four years later, she has about 300,000 customers and 10 employees, including six national sales reps. Her product has been featured in Parents Magazine and US Weekly, among other publications.

Her homegrown company was successful enough that Dorogi quit her job as a teacher Bloomfield Hills, The Observer & Eccentric reports. Sticky Bellies cost $10 for a pack of 13 and are sold at about 800 baby shops and boutiques around the country. They’re also available on the web site.

That’s big business, but Dorogi’s approach is downhome and local.

“I attribute the success of the product a little bit to the customer engagement,” she says. “When a customer emails me, first of all, I’m the only one that answers those emails. I want them to know they’re talking to the CEO, and that I’m a mom like them.

“A mom who knows that while the time goes by fast, documenting it can help keep the memories alive for a lifetime.”

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