Andrea Shandri 2018-02-06T00:43:49+00:00

Hi – I’m Andrea Shandri, owner of Iowa Doula Agency, wife, and mom. My journey as the agency’s founder and owner seems so interesting to me, most notably because I never intended to where up where I am. Full of twists and turns, I can see God’s hand work in every aspect of my path from photographer, to doula, to agency owner.

After attending Iowa State for adult education, I really enjoyed the project management foundational experience I gained. I had no idea what a doula was back in grad school but when my husband and I were ready to welcome our first daughter into the world, I learned about natural birth, the options available to me, and the support a doula could give. I hired a delightful one for Lauren’s birth and quickly learned that’s what I had wanted to do. Seven years earlier, my dream of being an OB had waned after seeing all the chemistry one had to take.

After my birth experience, I solidified my desire to become a doula. At the same time, I also started a very elementary journey into photography. On dual paths, I learned business skills, design and photoshop skills, and how to serve clients. Eventually, these would coalesce into my ability to lower overhead costs by designing my own marketing, gaining more formative business building structural tools like web design, and the importance of serving families while their on their own birth and postpartum journey.

My doula practice and photography business found success early; I quickly became a full-time doula (4-5 clients per month) which helped me gain a varied amount of experience. I also honed my photography skills to help solidify my brand and what style I personally enjoyed. As life progressed and we added more little girls to our family, my life schedule also changed. It was harder to attend births due to childcare and I really missed being home on the weekends.

I started asking myself how I could change my business structure to allow me the benefits of staying close to the birth world while adding more flexibility. I knew it would take a few years to fully transition, but I put in the necessary work to build the unique form of Iowa Doula Agency. Different than any other business structure in the state and region, I soon discovered I had struck a beautiful triad between doulas, clients, and the medical community.

The business continues to grow, as do I. I continue to research and develop strategies to continually improve the satisfaction of both clients and doulas; I am so proud of what we all have accomplished and I’m excited to see where we head in years to come.

I’ve been married to my husband Dustin since 2008; we have three girls (Lauren, Quinn, Eve) who continually amaze us with their love of God and family.  We live in Urbandale and attend The Mission Church where we serve faithfully.

Among my to-do bucket-list items are to:

  • Visit all continents except Antarctica (Europe 2007, India 2015, Africa 2018, North America (always))
  • Visit all 50 states (35 to go…haha)
  • Learn to be content (augh)
  • Grow the agency big enough to sell
  • Retire comfortably by 60
  • Successfully raise all three girls and have them live within 30 minutes of me at all times
  • Learn to play the piano proficiently
  • Run a half-marathon
  • Swim in the pacific ocean
  • See as many Wonders of the World as possible
  • Buy a cabin on a lake
  • Catch a baby

Among my already-done bucket-list items are:

  • Go on a hot air balloon ride (twice!)
  • Hike {a part of} the Himalayas
  • Get my Master’s degree
  • Become debt free
  • Learn photography