5 months pregnant and very happy about it, not much to complain about. Everything was going ok (famous last words). I was out walking with my partner in the Lake District, we loved it up there, and pre Harry (my son) we went there as much as possible. Walking all year, and lots of camping in the summer. This particular day was one of those beautifully cold crisp days. Also with plenty of snow on the ground and a clear blue sky and the sun shining. I don’t think it gets much better than that in the Lake District, it was simply stunning.
I really shouldn’t complain, but the only niggle was the fact my jacket just wouldn’t zip up. Also, my walking trousers were really starting to dig-in and get quite uncomfortable.
The Search For Outdoor Maternity Wear
I got home from our walk and starting searching for outdoor maternity wear. Specifically, a maternity waterproof jacket and maternity walking trousers. If it was time to invest in a maternity jacket, it had to be waterproof. There was just no point in getting anything else. Not just for the Lake District, but for popping into town, smaller local walks, or just going out at lunchtime from work.
Anyone who has been to the Lake District, or even anywhere north of Birmingham will know that it rains fairly frequently. Even in the summer, so a decent waterproof maternity jacket is essential, and if getting out walking, so are the waterproof walking trousers!
Researching Outdoor Maternity Wear
I couldn’t believe it, almost an hour sat in front of the computer, and not a single waterproof maternity jacket available. There were however a lot of other women in the same position asking similar questions. Where can I find a waterproof maternity jacket? I’m going on a walking holiday and where can I find some maternity walking trousers. Then the helpful tips and advice… like the one below with the cleverly devised hair bobble. You have to wear a long top though to cover the fact you can’t fasten your trousers! Plus a few other DIY tips for customising your own clothes!
Was this really true? There was nothing available? Had I found a gap in the market?
Running a Business In Maternity Wear
I had always wanted to run my own business, but I didn’t ever think I would have that idea that was completely unique that no one else was doing, but now I had…
I researched, researched and researched, and found that there was only one other company in the world. So it seemed, based in California, that designed and manufactured outdoor maternity wear for pregnant women who still wanted to stay active throughout pregnancy. Why should women stop doing what they enjoy, its not an illness, and we’re not in the 1900s anymore? Having an active pregnancy is actively encouraged, and has many benefits for mummy-to-be and baby bump too!
It was then I knew that this was it, I had to do my homework, but I was going to start the next outdoor maternity wear company in the UK. But maybe at 5 months pregnant, this might not be the ideal time…..
Is It Just A Pipe Dream
I was getting settled into my new role, Marketing Manager for an oil distributor. The commute was around 5 minutes, and life started to feel like it was starting to get a bit more settled.
The role was nothing like my past role though, it was a newly created position, and because of that, there wasn’t really a structure or anything to come into. I tried to get absorbed in the business, learn all I could about it, the industry, and customers. The only problem was, I was coming up with ideas and a marketing plan, but it kind of fell on deaf ears. I just wasn’t that busy and the work I did have to do was quite mundane. Of course, which was a bad thing for me. I just started thinking about my business idea again!
Researching The Marketplace
I started the research process again, looking into outdoor maternity wear. Things had started to progress in that market. However, there still wasn’t anything available that was too similar to what I was thinking of doing. I wanted to create the range to a high standard and to similar technical specifications as your outdoor favorites. But with a bump in mind as I didn’t want any compromise. There were a couple of maternity jackets available, but the material wasn’t completely waterproof. Ir wasn’t breathable either or just didn’t have any features to them. It wasn’t a proper waterproof maternity jacket. The maternity trousers situation wasn’t much better. There was one pair of showerproof maternity trousers available, but again, they looked pretty heavyweight. Oh, and of course they weren’t designed to a good specification.
I started researching fabrics, designers, and manufacturers, but with no experience of materials, designing, or manufacturing clothes. Realizing I had an awful lot to learn!
I knew I also needed some evidence to prove to others, and myself, that my great idea would work. Then I put together a questionnaire on Survey Monkey, (a free online survey tool), and set out to get as many responses as possible.
My research highlighted what I was hoping for;
- The majority of women still carried on with the activities they did pre-pregnancy. I.E. walking the dog, hiking, weekends camping. Also getting out with toddlers they may have
- A lot struggled to find anything suitable to wear. Especially when it came to a waterproof maternity jacket, and suitable maternity trousers
- Many ‘made-do’ either borrowing something from a partner or bought something in a bigger size. Neither option was flattering, and a jacket in a larger size couldn’t be worn again.
My idea had been validated, now to get on with the research, it was going to be a long slog, but something I was eager to do and looking forward to getting started.
So it began and I started manufacturing my active Maternity Cloths. The Waterproof Maternity Jacket, Maternity Fleece, and Maternity walking Trousers.