Tag: maternity fashion

Love Local – Mama Noo Nursing Wear

Love Local – Mama Noo Nursing Wear

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.

Maternity Style – Dressing Up The Bump

Maternity Style – Dressing Up The Bump

Let’s talk maternity fashion. There’s something about being pregnant that gives me an extra boost of confidence (well up until the last 2 weeks were I just feel like a bloated Gorilla). I love “dressing up” my bump in dresses and keep my heels until the very last month. I think it’s the fact that I don’t need to give a damn about my “shape” or “body” as its busy creating a perfect little human and that in itself is beautiful.

I remember how shocked I was when I fell pregnant with Aadam, in 2013, at the lack of maternity wear commercially available. Major retailers like Woolworths and Edgars who previously held maternity lines were dropping them, and if they did still stock any it was available in maybe one shop, all the way across town. Luckily it was my first pregnancy, and I was small (well in comparison to now in any case), so I just upsized tunic style dresses and paired them with coats and heels ala The Duchess of Cambridge.

Fast forward a year to my pregnancy with Yusuf and we were living by the coast, during a different season, and I was now working from home. I didn’t have to worry about the “corporate” look and comfort was key, running around after a 14-month-old toddler while trying to maintain a sense of dignity. Leggings, track pants and long dresses were my staple uniform, but again nothing that I had to specifically go out and buy in terms of maternity.

This pregnancy has been different. 4 years later and baby number 3, I felt that I was showing from as early on as 7 weeks and I knew I would have to stock up on some corporate maternity essentials. Thank goodness I did, I’ve been living in them! Thankfully maternity fashion has developed quite a bit over the past 5 years. We have some incredible local South African brands available that are easy to order online or find in store. My go to this time has been Cherry Melon Maternity. Whilst I had one or two tops of theirs in previous years, I found that investing in the essentials this time around has saved me lots of hassle. Cherry Melon specialises in making women feel as beautiful and comfortable as possible during their pregnancy. They create feminine and trendy maternity-wear that complements your individual style throughout pregnancy, feeding and beyond.

Their sizing is easy, and you just follow your normal sizing style. Their designs are on trend and super comfortable, allowing you to go from wearing them in the first trimester, right the way through to delivery and I’m obsessed with some of their floral oriental style prints at the moment. Sadly, with this pregnancy I didn’t exercise at all, I was so incredibly nauseous for the first 4 months that I could bear to do my yoga or Pilates, and I struggled to pick it up again, however they have also just released a range of active wear for preggy mamas and I would have certainly got these as well. Next up i’ll be investing in some of their breastfeeding range, I need tops that are suitable for the office but easy to access for pumping 🙂

The one must have item I feel every preggy mama should invest in (apart from a maxi dress) is a good pair of maternity jeans. I have found Cherry Melons styles to be the most flattering, on trend and they grow comfortably with you. The back-bum section doesn’t hang all they way by your knees, like some of the other preggy brands.

Personally, I stocked up on the basics: 2 pairs of jeans (1 light, 1 dark), 1 pair of black work trousers, 1 pair of white trousers, 1 pair of leggings and then basic white and black cami’s and vests which I pair with blazers or Kimonos. I also got 3 or 4 Maxi dresses.

If you are feeling confused as to where to start, here are a couple of my pregnancy style tips:

  • Invest in the basics – Cami and Tank Vests, neutral coloured jeans, a good pair of leggings and a pair of black trousers will get you far. Get one great black dress, whether its long or short this will quickly become one of your most versatile style items. Dress it up for a night out or down with a denim jacket for a day look.
  • Accessories – Add cute little belts to show off your bump with maxi dresses or dress up a plain tee with a great throw or kimono.
  • Pair coats with dresses – If you are lucky enough for your pregnancy to fall into the cooler months, this trick keeps you looking slim, showing off the cutest part of your bump and hiding all lumps and bumps
  • Blazers are your best friend – especially if you are working in corporate! Again, by wearing an open blazer, you are slimming down and drawing attention the to cutest part of your bump. Its one of the oldest tricks in TV as well and how they hide pregnant bellies when filming.
  • A great pair of maternity jeans will do wonders, try to stick to a skinny or cropped pair to balance out your big bump.

You can purchase Cherry Melon directly through their online store or visit their standalone stores in Canal Walk, Cape Town; Menlyn Shopping Center in Pretoria or Cresta and the Mall of Africa in Johannesburg. They also stock through Zando.

*I received a few Cherry Melon pieces at the start of my pregnancy as a gift from the brand, but I had also purchased my own. All views expressed are my own personal opinion.*