Business Community Health & Wellness

Business Spotlight: Perfectly Preemie provides outfits for the tiniest humans

Posted on July 24th, 2023 By:

Dressing a newborn in their first outfit is a milestone experience for new parents. But when the newborn is premature, that first outfit is really special.

Cressie Baerg, owner of the Gig Harbor business Perfectly Preemie, has been making that memorable moment happen for parents of premature babies all over the country. The company, which sells the apparel through its website, will celebrate its 30th anniversary in September.

The smallest customers

Sophia Sanchez, who grew up in Gig Harbor, delivered her baby Massimo at UW Medical Center Montlake 13 weeks early. A neonatal intensive care unit nurse told her about Perfectly Preemie. 

“My baby only weighs 2 pounds, 10 ounces and he has a long way to go,” she said. “My initial due date was Sept. 11, so he should be home around then. I have bought about 10 items so far from Perfectly Preemie. Max’s nurse Emily told us about them. She knew I wanted to dress him, and she did research on her day off.”

Massimo, who was born 13 weeks early, wearing a Perfectly Preemie outfit. Photo courtesy of Sophia Sanchez.

Dressing her baby is important to Sanchez. She said most women get to have a different labor and delivery experience than she and her husband John have had with their baby.

“Being able to dress my baby when they are so small makes such a difference,” she said. “I think what they (Perfectly Preemie) are doing is amazing. As I meet more people I will absolutely recommend them every time.”

Premature infants need special clothing

Perfectly Preemie designs have changed over the years, but the need has remained for tiny clothing. Baerg said that it all started when a fellow church member delivered a premature baby.

“I always sewed, and I guess I always had an entrepreneurial desire, and it was the right time for the right thing.”

Baerg consulted with neonatal intensive care nurses at Tacoma General Hospital for her first designs. It was important to accommodate the size of the babies, as well as the wires and tubes needed to connect them to various hospital apparatus.

“They measured the baby, and I went to the NICU, and I gave them some stuff to try. The shoulder opening was important.”

Cressie Baerg, founder of Perfectly Preemie.

Tacoma General was her first customer, but soon she was filling a need for parents looking for tiny outfits for their babies. She opened a storefront in Sumner when her children were young, but said it was difficult to manage that store, and her family.

She decided to bring her operation home, and instead worked out of her garage. Baerg recently bought out a competitor, and now owns Preemie Store as well. 

Her first designs used snaps as closures at the side and shoulder. That’s evolved to fasteners with a velcro called Sleek & Thin, a soft, non-scratchy material. The velcro makes dressing and undressing the baby even easier.

“We were the first manufacturer to try it,” she said.

A labor of love 

Just as her designs have evolved, her brand has also. With the Internet came a whole new world of customers. Finding preemie clothing was once difficult, but is now as easy as an Internet keyword search.

While it isn’t a product that typically has a repeat customer, or anyone longing for it, Baerg said that producing tiny baby clothes has been a labor of love for her. She has grown the business to include products for micro preemie (1-2.5 pounds), Teeny (2-4 pounds) and Preemie (3-6 pounds) as well as a line of clothing for babies who are ready to go home called, Take-Me-Home (5-8 pounds) in a few of the styles. 

For nearly 30 years, Perfectly Preemie brand clothing has been manufactured locally, and Baerg said she has been proud that her product is made in the USA. She designs the patterns for the various styles of clothing, hats, headbands and socks, cuts the fabric in her garage studio, and contracts with area seamstresses to finish the products. Most are local, she said, with the farthest one living in Portland, Oregon. 

For the first time she has partnered with a company in China for their soft, bamboo textile that she wanted for her NICU gown designs. She still designs the patterns, but with the help of her daughter, she said she has digitized the patterns so they can be cut at the source. 

“It just makes sense,” she said. “In the future, I might use Peruvian cotton. It’s getting difficult to find the materials that I need.”

Family business

Perfectly Preemie is a family company. Her daughters help out — Melissa with order fulfillment and customer service, and Emilee with production. Baerg’s husband Kevin helps with bookkeeping and the website. 

When she maybe someday decides to retire, she hopes that her daughters will carry on with the business. 

“There’s not millions of dollars in it,” Baerg said of her business, “but it’s a passion, and I love it.”

Perfectly Preemie


Phone number: 505-433-1958

Email: [email protected]

Address: Perfectly Preemie is online-only and does not operate a storefront. Its mailing address is 2904 108th ST NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332