Its been a while since a proper blog post, in between feeds and winding and trying to make various kiddos sleep a moment to type is quite rare these days. This is one post however that I cant put off any longer, because their products have made such a difference to me post-partum. In today’s Love Local Blog I feature the dynamic duo behind Mama Noo Maternity and Nursing Wear, and not a moment too soon with their winter range launching in 3 days.
I have the lifestyle maternity bra and it honestly is super comfortable. The cotton is soft and is not too tight at all. It has just enough stretch in it. There is nothing worse then a maternity bra that is too tight or “scratchy”, but the lifestyle bra has been fantastic. I love the fact that it is a sports bra style (there are various styles available), ideal for mums getting back into an exercise regime. I also received a pair of the delicate knickers. These are brilliant for your post-partum needs and are high waisted, which allows extra comfort especially if you have had a c-section. I actually wouldn’t take these to the hospital because I wouldn’t want to ruin them with those first few days after birth, I kept mine for when I was home and things were a little less messy 🙂 Either way a set of these and a bra would be the perfect gift for any mama to be!
Tell me more about yourselves and what you currently do?
Sisters by law, friends in awe. We are two sisters-in-law who became best friends through the journey of getting married and becoming stay-at-home mothers. I (Imne) live in Paarl with my husband and two little buttons (4y old boy and 20mnth old girl). Emsie lives in Stellenbosch with her husband and they have a boy (4y) and little girl(2y).
We love motherhood and try our best to embrace the joys, challenges and daily curve balls that life can throw. However, it is such a privilege to raise our children and be able to have our own business and work from home.
How did “Mama Noo” come about?
We love everything about breastfeeding and truly believe in all the rich benefits it holds. We breastfeed our children for at least 18-24 months. So, whilst on this adventure, we realized the complete lack of beautiful (but still functional and comfortable!) maternity underwear. We certainly did not want to flaunt the ones we then wore for months on end. We started out in October 2016 when our first imported bras arrived. It sold like hot cakes, and we realized the opportunity in our hands. Soon after we decided to start manufacturing locally. This allows us to tailor our products to mothers’ exact needs, and provide outstanding quality, whilst supporting ethical businesses in our own economy.
What did you study – was it in this field or something different?
Hahaha, not at all. In our previous lives (before children) Emsie is a qualified dietician and I’m a social worker and play therapist.
What was your first job and how did you progress to this?
We both worked for a couple of years in traditional 8-5 environments. Emsie had the natural business skills (developed by having her own dietetics practice), and I always had a knack for art and design and was eager to learn more. We both thrive on creativity applying it in a dynamic environment. The interest in textiles, patterns and fashion grew as we started to develop our own collection of maternity panties and nursing bras. Mama Noo is a great channel for us to utilise our creativity and business skills.
What have been the highlights of starting your own business?
There is something so special about developing your own brand when you believe in its value and difference it can make in mothers (and of course dads 😉 ). Developing our own maternity wear and seeing the result of all the late nights of work (working hours are usually from 21:00-01:00) culminate in one-to-one moments with our clients on a personal level is the heart of what we truly do and enjoy. It is rewarding to see a need in the market addressed through our products while improving our products and in the end generating income.
What’s the best part of your job?
We love seeing a mommy’s face light up when she has fit and felt our lingerie nursing bras or maternity panties and loves the fabric, comfort and support that they offer. We believe in our products and it’s a joy when our customers experience the value of it.
Flexible working hours and being able to work from home with the privilege to be with our children is a blessing.
What is the most challenging part?
We love being mothers and raising our kids from home, but with this privilege comes a few sacrifices as well. We work during the day when we find a gap and after hours which means work is often delayed and take a little longer to finish to accommodate our family life. We have had ups and downs and needed to climb a few mountains to be where we are today. Everyone in the clothing design business would know how technical a nursing bra is. It has taken us two years to design, test and develop our first Lifestyle Nursing bra that is supportive, sports friendly and gorgeous to wear. We are super proud and cannot wait for our next style to launch soon!
South Africa is still quite conservative when it comes to online shopping. Therefore, mom & baby expos and markets are still the way to go until. Expos can be very time consuming, extra hard work over weekends and time away from our family.
Describe a typical day in your life.
Haha, this can really be subject to change as we have our children with us the whole day without nannies. So our children are part of our business and we plan to accommodate them first…then our business 😉 But a typical day might look something like this:
06:00-08:00 Read and reply to emails regarding orders for stock, arrangements for fittings and discussions around our patterns and adjustments.
08:00- 12:00 Courier comes to collect parcels for clients. At least once a week we will have a fitting as well.
12:00 when our youngsters sleep we do some more admin. Sometimes we would get an au pair to help us out during the afternoon.
21:30-00:00 After tidying the home and spending some time with our husbands we would attend to customer queries, reply to emails, budget, prep for new orders to go out the following day.
What are the “secrets” to your success?
We believe in our product’s value and that we really address a need amongst pregnant and nursing moms of all types and sizes that look for comfortable, supportive and functional yet beautiful maternity lingerie.
How do you balance being a mummy and starting your own business.
We are on the journey of figuring it out. As a new online business there is so much that still needs to be developed and mastered. We are only two in the business and working from home (apart from our husbands and grandparents that have their own share as well in supporting us 😉 ).
So, it can be challenging when we are in work mode and when we switch off and just relax and give our full attention to our kids without distractions.
What is your dream for Mama Noo?
To be able to manufacture all our products locally and only sell our own garments.
To be in retail so that moms have a store to go and fit and feel our products.
To export to such an extent that anyone anywhere can be able to buy our products online.
Any tips for people wanting to take the leap and start their own business?
If you have a dream and the determination to fulfil it and know your “Why?”, the “How?” will come in the process and nothing will stop you.