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Life & Work with Erica Gladden

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Gladden.

Hi Erica, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My desire to be much more than the average working American has been brewing in me for as long as I can remember. On car rides on my way to work a 9-5, I can hardly remember the route I took because I was too busy daydreaming about the future boss I was determined to become. I didn’t know at the time how, but I knew I wanted to do something fun and exciting to bring happy emotions out of people, and what better way to do that than seeing the face of your unborn child or finding out your Baby’s Gender. I absolutely love the excitement of surprises and I get to re-live this excitement over and over through Prenatal Cinemas. This journey hasn’t been an easy one but definitely fulfilling. While working as a Clerk at Staples Copy and Print Center, I looked into enrolling in a Vocational school to pursue a career as an Ultrasound Technician. At this time, I can remember hearing my peers complaining about not being able to find employment after graduating from a Trade School. I refused to let this be my reality and enrolled anyway, confident that I’d find a career. I couldn’t allow fear of failure to be the determining factor of my decision. After graduating, I started the job hunt, and it wasn’t easy. I kept a thick 3- ring binder of job listings printed from Yelp. My days were spent calling Doctors’ offices all over, even as far as Corona while staying in Downtown Los Angeles at the time. I even considered doing missionary work in a 3rd world country just to get some work experience on my resume. I faxed my resume to over 300 places and made follow up phone calls. Out of all 300 hundred locations, only three of them called me back for an interview and I failed to secure a position. These odds were enough to make anyone give up but my desire wouldn’t allow me to do so. I decided to take a different and more active approach.

Instead of just calling offices and sending over my resume, I started to physically visit 5-10 offices a day to introduce myself in person. The first office I visited was a 3D Ultrasound Office in Torrance, CA. I introduced myself to the owner and gave her my resume letting her know my work history as an intern and how motivated I was to be a Diagnostic Ultrasound technician. She didn’t want to hire me due to my lack of 3D experience, so I offered to work for free. That’s all it took and I had my foot in the door, my first job. It took me two weeks to learn how to do 3D Ultrasounds and I was then offered a paid position. The position paid way below the job market price but thanks to this experience, I was able to learn the ins and outs on how to run this type of business. It didn’t matter what I was paid, what I learned accounted for the difference. All I needed was my foot in the door and from there, I exceeded to increase my knowledge, skill and income, which would later be used to fund Prenatal Cinemas. I went on to volunteering for a Non-profit organization practicing diagnostic ultrasounds for pregnant women and shortly after offered a paid position. From there, I landed a job at practicing Level II ultrasounds for women with high-risk pregnancies. After months of establishing my career and increasing my income, it was time to turn my dreams into a reality. Before I could put a plan in motion, something amazing happened, I got pregnant! While I was pregnant, I had access to a 3D machine, because of my experience working at a 3D studio I had no desire in visiting one when I was pregnant. It wasn’t because I can get free 3D photos from my job, it was because both doctors’ offices and most 3D studios provided the same experience. It wasn’t any uniqueness to differentiate the differences between a doctor’s office from a 3D studio.

So, I decided to create a place that provided an experience other than just offer 3D Photos. I created the theatre around this idea, literally! I created a theater providing the Ultimate Cinematic Baby Bonding Experience through 3D Ultrasounds, nothing like your regular doctor’s visit or normal 3D studio. During my shifts, I began to take note of what expecting parents like/dislike and what is convenient for mommies. I was a mom too so I started to think of the place I would like to go and spend my money for 3D photos although I could get them for free. I can remember on several occasions so many dads would always joke saying “Where is the popcorn” or telling their older child “we are about to watch a movie” and from these ideas, Prenatal Cinemas was born. So, I begun to read and listen to audible books on how to write a business plan, how to be a boss, and on marketing. For months on end, I visualized my location, developed products and created a unique service that was going to bring smiles to faces of many families. I had a burning desire to see this through and my consistency, dedication and hard work is why I am able to share Prenatal Cinemas with the world. We all have the ability to channel determination to reach our goals; it’s just a matter of never giving up. Almost eight years later, here I am as a 31-year-old business owner of my very own start up 3D Business, Prenatal Cinemas Inc.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There was a point of time I couldn’t see past what was in front of me. After graduating from vocational school, it was very difficult to find employment. I had no experience and I wasn’t eligible to take the board exam to become a licensed Ultrasound Technician because the program I attended was not accredited. I would have to work for a year before I could even be eligible to sit for the exam, but no one would hire me unless I had the licenses. It felt like I would never land a position. I look back today and see how far I have come and remember to always push through difficult circumstances because hard work always pays off in the end.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I currently own and operate a 3D ultrasound theatre for expecting mommies and their loved ones. “Prenatal Cinemas” is an experience like no other. We provide a luxurious experience, somewhat like stepping into a movie premiere starring your little one inside your belly. Prenatal Cinemas provides the full movie experience. We have larger than life screens to see the baby’s adorable little face, comfy reclining chairs equipped with LED lights for mommy and her guests. We play soft music during the show and serve complimentary popcorn to enjoy while you watch the show. The pandemic has affected small and large businesses. At Prenatal Cinemas, we are still dedicated to giving mommies a unique experience while being safe. Families are limited to five guests, temperatures are taken at the door, masks must be worn at all times and we have stopped serving popcorn during this time. At Prenatal Cinemas, mommies have their choice of movie packages to see their little one, each providing a unique experience. Expectant moms and their families are encouraged to visit as early as 14 weeks for a gender reveal and as far long as 29 weeks to see their baby in 4D. Our gender reveal shows are filled with anticipation and excitement while families discover their baby’s gender through the bust of a Pink or Blue confetto from our Confetti cannons or Confetti Balloons. Prenatal Cinemas is known for creating the Ultimate Cinematic Baby Bonding experience.

What does success mean to you?
I define success by setting goals and continuing to hit the target. Success is when you set out to do something and no matter how hard the goal is to obtain, you continue to push through work hard and do whatever it takes. Success has many levels and layers and for me, never ending. Success should be infinite to the Entrepreneur.

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Prenatal Cinemas INC

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