Get Free or Low-Cost Product Samples for Your Clients

Someone on a Facebook doula group recently asked for sources of free samples to give to clients. These products would also be great as giveaways at a baby or maternity fair. I compiled a list of items that were suggested on that group, from the Inspired Birth Pros Facebook Group, and elsewhere online. I have not personally contacted these companies to verify what programs they may have available to birth professionals. Please note some of these companies may not have programs any longer.

Before You Start Contacting Companies

Create a plan of action before contacting companies. Here are a few things to think about before requesting samples from companies:

  • An important point to consider before you even begin is to refer to your contract or terms of your affiliation with your certifying organization. See if there are any rules against offering or recommending specific products as a representative of the organization.
  • Think about whether the products you want to request are ones your clients/students would use. If you're not sure, ask your current clients what would be love to receive. They probably are experiencing information overload already, so you don't need to give them things they don't need. Of course, there may be products that they don't know will be useful, like lanolin or really good diaper rash creams, so use discretion when deciding what to give.
  • If you have children, think about products you love and recommend. Add them to the list of companies to contact.
  • If you don't have children, ask around and find out what products moms have loved, or find reviews in online forums and Facebook groups.
  • If you have a Facebook group or page for your target market, this would be a great topic to throw out and ask your audience. Pair your question with a photo to catch people's attention.
  • Although it's great to get free stuff, be mindful of what you ask for and order just what you need, especially for products that have expiration dates.
  • You may find that what your clients want is a variety of products to touch/feel (cloth diapers and supplies, nursing pads) or take for a test drive (slings). If you don't already have any that you use or love, you could assemble a library of sorts to introduce in classes or prenatal/postpartum visits. Some companies may offer individual samples rather than multiple items for giveaways, so you could start there. In addition, check out local thrift and consignment stores, Craigslist, garage sales and eBay to find other products to add to your collection. My clients especially appreciated slings they could try on and cloth diapers they could touch and feel before they made the investment and purchased their own.
  • If there are companies in your area that offer products or services for pregnant/new mamas that would be a good fit for your clients, don't be shy about approaching them either. You could also ask local yoga studios, prenatal fitness instructors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, herbalists, day spas or massage therapists if they offer discounts for new referrals or a free class. Think outside the box – you could also make some good local connections! The worst that could happen is they could say no. The best outcome is that you can introduce your clients/students to some wonderful new products/services, and you may gain another referral partner who tells their customers about YOU. You'd be adding value for your clients and making business connections in your community!
  • If YOU have a talent for creating something your clients would love to use, having something personally made by you is wonderful too!
  • Update 2/22/17 – The World Health Organization has a document called the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes that was created in 1981. The purpose of the code is to protect mothers and babies from marketing practices that could prevent mothers from meeting their own goals for breastfeeding. While this code is aimed particularly at governments and companies, it also calls for awareness and compliance by health care facilities and health care workers. For more information Kelly Mom has a post on the WHO code, along with a 2016 post that lists companies that are not in compliance. Some of the companies in that post are included in the following lists, so I just wanted to pass the information along so you can do your own research and decide whether to request product samples from these companies.

Free or Low-Cost Samples for Giveaways

Create gift bags for new clients or use these for giveaways at baby fairs or conventions you participate in. Companies may change policies at any time.

Samples to Use for Class Demos or Prenatals

Some companies may send out demo samples that you could have available for clients to try before they buy. You might use these in a class or at a prenatal or postpartum visit to demonstrate the proper way to use the products. You could also create a lending library if you have a variety of products (ie: slings and carriers).

How to Request Free Samples

Once you have your list of companies, look up the websites and see if there are any programs for freebies for health professionals. If you can't find anything, use the company's contact form and send an inquiry like this (feel free to copy and paste):

Sample Email

Hi! I am a birth doula/postpartum doula/childbirth educator/etc. in City/State (or, I run a non-profit doula organization…) and I help women [Explain what you do and who you serve]. My website is _______ if you'd like to know more about my services. I am a big fan of your products and would love to introduce them to my clients/students. [If you have a personal story about how the company's product helped you, be sure to share it!] Does your company have a program for birth professionals or a way I could request samples from you? Thanks so much!

Warm Regards,

Your Name

I wouldn't personally ask for free samples. The company will let you know if there's a fee for them and give you further instruction if they have a sample/demo product program.

Do you have a favorite company that you get samples from that isn't on this list, or do you know if one of the above companies does NOT have a program? Please add the information in the comments below and I will add to or delete companies from the list.

Looking for additional free resources for your birth business? Here's another blog post:

13 Resources for Free Childbirth Education Materials and Handouts

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