Plus Maternity - Nadine Newell

EB member Nadine started her own business in plus-size maternity wear
EB member Nadine started her own business in plus-size maternity wear 

Tell us about your business?
www.PlusMaternity.com.au is a complete range of maternity wear for plus size mums to be, with all pieces available in a size 18 to 28.

Pieces are mix and match to ensure great value for money from your maternity wardrobe, and many will work with your regular wardrobe long after bub arrives. 

The range includes corporate staples, weekend casuals, evening pieces and sleepwear, and is designed and manufactured in Australia.

Why did you start your business?
I was unable to find a complete range maternity wear in Australia whilst pregnant with my daughter – after much online searching I found a few stores had 1 or 2 pieces, not enough to get me through my pregnancy.  I bought some jeans online from the USA – but their sizing is so different to ours the jeans didn’t fit right and I ended up returning them – lucky my mum could sew.

Has starting your own business lived up to expectations?
Never having worked in the fashion arena, some things have been different to what I had planned, but yes, it is all I hoped it would be so far.

What have you enjoyed most about running your own business?

Knowing that no other mum to be has to feel like I felt whilst shopping for maternity wear – and the positive feedback from mums to be, how excited they are that there is a range of maternity wear now available for them.

What is the biggest challenge?
Getting the brand out there, without a shop front for people to go to.  We are online only.  Non-advertising promotion has been a challenge; some publications are happy to accept your advertising dollars but are not willing to provide additional editorial support.

I understand that setting yourself up with a maternity wardrobe can be an additional expense that mums to be may not have planned on and think that they can do without, but the Plus Maternity range is versatile and many pieces will work in your regular wardrobe long after bub arrives – so they are great value for money.

I know there is a lot of external pressure to be a “normal” size and many mums think that they can wear their pre-pregnancy clothes until they are stretched to within an inch of their life or even get away with wearing their husband’s jeans – I wish I could just let them know that there is a maternity wear range that will work for them and that they can look fantastic whilst they are pregnant, just like any other mum to be, size doesn’t have to be an issue.

Do you have any children – what are their names/ages?
I have a daughter, Sahara; she is 2 and a half.

How do you manage to juggle the running of your business with family?
My husband travels a lot for work, so I try to do any face-to-face meetings in the morning, when the toddler is at her best.  I think everyone that works with me now understands that my toddler comes to appointments and sometimes I need to stop what we are doing, make sure she is sorted then we can resume. I also make sure that I spend time out with her everyday, I will try to go to a park for a play after she has been to appointments with me, it’s great for clearing my head and letting her run off energy (and yay for her Ipod touch with lots of educational toddler friendly apps whilst she is in meetings with me).

What is the hardest thing about being a working mother?
Trying to keep all the balls in the air, the same struggle of all mums I think.
 
What do you think about ‘me’ time? And do you manage to fit some in?
Great idea, but like most mums it’s a struggle to get time – my husband is freelance often working away or long days (and nights) onsite.  I go to aqua fitness every Tuesday night with another mum from my mothers group, so I am out of the house for about 2 hours door to door, if my husband is working my mum looks after my daughter for me.

Have you ever thought about giving it up?
No.

Do you have a favourite networking opportunity or event?
Social forums are good i.e. EB & Facebook, as well as teaming up with similar types of businesses so you can cross-refer customers and can share expenses like promotions and advertising. 

As we don’t have a shop front, we are working on small niche events to show off the complete range to mums to be.  We are working with www.realwomen.com.au to participate in a fashion event in Melbourne early October where the range will be also be available to try & buy.

Do you have any advice for someone starting their own business?
You have to be passionate about your business – because no one else will care as much about it as you.  Know that it will take time (lots & lots & lots of time) and you need to be consistent with your marketing to get the brand to stand out and be patient, small businesses usually take time to get established and start paying for themselves.   

You have to be passionate about your business – because no one else will care as much about it as you.

You can meet Nadine and view the Plus Maternity range at the upcoming Baby & Toddler show, Darling Harbour 1st - 3rd of October.

Interested in starting your own business? Chat with other entrepreneurial mums in the My Business Forums.