Mommapparel, Then and Now
Mommapparel began in 2011 as Molly Ades Maternity, a collection of 5 pieces specifically designed for breastfeeding: The Portable Nursing Poncho, Zippered Nursing Tank, Recovery Pant, Preggings, and Recovery Dress.
Facebook was new. There was no instagram, so selfies, no brand ambassadors or influencers. To have a website, you had to design it from scratch - there was no Shopify, no Squarespace, no selling on Facebook. Target didnât sell any maternity clothes, and certainly not breastfeeding apparel. As a new breastfeeding mom, I was lost.
I had completely overlooked the fact that I wouldnât be able to come home from the hospital and wear all the clothes that had been in my closet during pregnancy.
I spent 9 months in maternity clothes, and now there was more?! I creatively pieced together a wardrobe I could wear for nursing. I wore over-sized t-shirts that I could pull up and bought a couple expensive nursing tanks from a local boutique. I felt so defeated - was this my new life? When would I feel like myself again?
I had never designed clothes before, but I always loved fashion and shopping. Slowly, and with the help of many women in the fashion world, I designed what I wanted to wear while breastfeeding. I had two babies by the time my first collection came out. My second son was born the same day the final samples were ready. A few months later, I delivered my first order to a maternity store in Chicago.Â
So much has changed in 10 years! Today online shopping is filled with small designers, large designers, and everything in between. There's a lot to navigate and choose from. Niches and personal preferences for fashion are at your fingertips. You get to decide what to buy, not only based on the clothes, but how they are made, where they are made, and the values of the company. Your purchase supports so much more than the physical exchange of products.Â
My hope is that the shifts weâve made at Mommapparel continue to support new moms and the harrowing journey of motherhood. I've learned a lot over the last 10 years. My boys are now 10 and 12. Motherhood is different, but still challenging. I haven't forgotten the exhaustion or lost sense of self of new motherhood. I havenât forgotten the sleepless nights, either rocking the baby, or worried about whether or not I was doing it right. (I still wonder if I'm doing it right!) I haven't forgotten that I wanted something that made it all easier - a break, a friend, a nap, or an easy way to breastfeed at my favorite restaurant.Â
The Portable Nursing Poncho was a savior. I still have the original prototype that I tested and wore continuously during the two years I was nursing my boys. I loved it out in public - so easy to slip on over whatever I was wearing, and breastfeed without anyone hardly noticing. I also loved it at home - the soft, comfortable fabric that felt more dressed than whatever I had slept in. I learned from customers over the years that they love the poncho for the hospital stay. A perfect pouch to throw in the bag and wear instead of the medical gown.Â
Mommapparel is exactly how it sounds - clothing that works for moms whether pregnant, breastfeeding, or after baby. Clothing made in Los Angeles and designed by a mom who gets it. A company that values every single part of motherhood - the joy, the heartache, the exhaustion, the confusion, and the need for someone to see you. Exactly where you are.Â