When Diana Hosterman and Theresa Forte met for the first time in July 2012, their kindred connection was instantaneous.
During that meeting, Hosterman, 32, opened up about how she’d lost her first child four months earlier.
At her baby shower in March 2012, Hosterman went into labor. Her daughter, Hope, was stillborn at 30 weeks because of a rare heart defect, truncus arteriosus, in which the heart has only one large blood vessel coming out of it instead of two.
Hosterman was devastated by the loss and wanted to do something to preserve Hope’s memory.
So she and Forte, both second-grade teachers, started Tiny and Delightful, a company that sews hearts and designs onto baby onesies and headbands. The business then donates $1 per order to the American Heart Association in memory of Hope.
“Sometimes you have to share your story,” Hosterman said. “That’s what I want to do through these onesies.”
But first the two needed to learn how to sew.
Forte, 29, had a seamstress create onesies that she’d give as gifts to her family and friends at baby showers. And Hosterman thought hospitals didn’t have anything special like that for babies who were delivered early.
“I was there in the hospital and wasn’t prepared and on top of it,” Hosterman said. “We missed out on having those special things, like a little first outfit.”
So during summer 2013, they decided to dive in, Forte said. They learned how to sew, created a Facebook page and sold 50 onesies, which range from $18 to $24. Their first year, they donated $50 to the AHA.
Each onesie sold paid for supplies for the next one. They each only made $400 that first year after expenses and dontations.
“It’s a labor of love. It really is,” Forte said.
In July, Tiny and Delightful became a limited liability company, and the business partners added an Etsy shop and created an Instagram account. Within four months, they’ve sold nearly the same amount as their first year. Orders have come from as far as the West Coast.
The business takes up a lot of their time outside of teaching second-graders.
“I pretty much eat, sleep, teach and sew onesies,” Forte said. Each onesie takes about an hour to make. “If I get an order, I literally do it that night so that I can turn it around.”
Forte and Hosterman hope to eventually sew hearts onto onesies donated by others – or extra handsewn onesies if they have time – to give to local hospitals.
“Maybe donating our onesies at the hospital will give them something cute to have on, or for parents, to give them that spark of life that we get when we make them,” Hosterman said.
Hosterman, who now has a 3-month-old daughter named Joy, is proud to remember Hope through the onesies.
“That’s most important to me, not the money and the sales, it’s helping others,” she said.