Breathing new life into an old hosiery mill has proven to be “a heck of a retirement project” for Tom and Susan Miles. The couple has transformed the plant in Biscoe into a modern producer of supportive maternity undergarments called Belevation.
A perfect New Years present for 2013, Belevation recently learned that it has been honored with a Mom's Choice Award for our Belevation Maternity Support Brief.
Created in 2004, The Moms Choice Awards are modeled after the prestigious Parent and Teachers Choice Awards which focus on toys, media and educational products. Broadened to include a wider assortment of consumer products for families and children, a team of 155 unpaid MCA volunteers from around the country review submissions.
We waited nervously after sending out 5 Belevation Brief product samples ( in a variety of sizes), to the Virginia based Mom's Choice offices. In 2008, 1200 applicants submitted products to MCA, but only 300 were selected as honorees.
As an independent mom and pop manufacturer, Belevation is always looking for ways to stand out in today's crowded marketplace. You can only imagine how delighted we were when we heard that Belevation's Support Brief won a Mom's Choice silver medal in the women's personal care category.
Why is the Belevation Brief so special? Blogs out there speculate about the best kind of maternity underwear, but we are confident we know the answer. Sure, maybe our fulll coverage maternity panties are a bit frumpy, but that's okay. The buzz words here are comfort and gentle support (in all the right places) because feeling good while pregnant will never be out of fashion.
A network of online and community resources including a blog by Director Deb Flashenberg, a Nanny and Doctor Exchange, and the Ask the Experts column plus more can be found on the Prenatal Yoga Center website. Each month a vendor is selected to be featured at the Prenatal Yoga Center with extensive raffle and discount programs. Belevation was busy last month getting ready for this event, scheduled many months ago, so the anticipation added to this honor!
With fabulous facilities and highly trained instructors in convenient locations in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, the New York Prenatal Center offers an impressive and nurturing support-network for New York based mom-to-be. Check out a review of the center from last September by Dr. Carrie McCulloch, FITiST expert and Mom-to-Be. She supplies a terrific Mom-to-Be Rx: including critical tips on "Speaking Up and Making Friends". Watch the Center's recently posted You Tube video tour and don't forget to ask about Belevation Maternity Supports awesome March 2012 give-aways on the Belevation Support Briefs, and Belly Bands .
As essential part of the development of all of Belevation's maternity support garments has been real life product testing done by moms-to-be. I was on just such a mission yesterday, when I arranged to meet Kacie before her prenatal exam at SEOB/GYN in Presbyterian Hospital in beautiful Matthews, North Carolina.
Earlier in her pregnancy, Kacie purchased our Boyshorts upon the recommendation of SEOB/GYN physician Dr. Salvemini, who used our products during her own pregnancy (I just learned this yesterday). Dr. Sal has also sent many of her patients to Belevation as well. Word of Belevation's prenatal support products was brought to SE OB/GYN by their ultrasound tech Heather, who joined the staff after a stint at my own GYN's office, (where Heather had done our product testing during her first pregnancy).
An added bonus of meeting Kacie in the waiting room of Southeast was that I finally got to say thank you to Dr. Sal and her team. ( I missed seeing Heather unfortunately though, as she had yesterday off.)
With the US government poised to implement new rules requiring drug and medical device companies to disclose payments and gifts to doctors, (a very good new law for consumer protection), I had picked an odd day to shower SE OB/GYN with gifts. It wasn't really much, for full discloser - just some healthy granola bars, herbal teas bags, Decaf Chai from Stash and a musical snowglobe with Belevation photos. A long overdue thank you after several years recommending Belevation to their patients at SE OB/GYN. So glad you love our products!
Thank you Dr. Sal, Heather & Kacie for being Belevation Prenatal Underwear fans!
Last night on Netflix, hubby and I watched the 1991 Australian film, The Efficiency Expert. Set in a small town in 1966, Anthony Hopkins plays efficiency expert Errol Wallace. Charged with closing an under-performing moccasin plant, Hopkins emotionless character has a change of heart after he assists workers at a slot car race.
Along with modern classics like Tommy Boy, The Efficiency Expert falls in a special genre of films about saving small businesses. When actor Chris Farley's father Big Tom dies, Tommy goes on the road with side-kick David Spade trying to help their brake-pad company. With unforgettable scenes like the pair driving with a buck in the back-seat and Tommy setting a fire on a clients desk, the laughs are numerous. In a last minute cliff hanger, Spade and Farley prevail and the factory is saved.
Similar messages replay in other favorites from this genre including 2005 British-made Kinky Boots. After inheriting his families manufacturing business, Charles Price learns that Price & Sons Shoes is failing. While in despair about his many unsuccessful attempts to save the company, a chance encounter with a drag-queen, cabaret singer named Lola, helps Charles take the firm in a new direction.
Then there's Renee Zellweger in the 2009 flick New In Town. Like Hopkins, in The Efficiency Expert, Zellweger thinks she understands business until she is captivated by life in this Minnesota town. While corporate sees the workers of Munck Foods only as numbers, Zellweger finds a way to turn Munck around.
Make a resolution that 2012 will be the year you join the movement supporting local businesses. Shift Your Shopping maps out organizations throughout the US and Canada dedicated to re-energizing our retail and manufacturing economy. American Express got on board publicizing their 2nd annual small business Saturday, the day after Black Friday. Make this a year-round effort & bring back jobs to America. Why not buy some American-made maternity apparel today?
Just in time to ring in the New Year in style, I couldn't wait to preview our Facebook book give-away for February - Preggatinis, Mixology for the Mom-to-Be. Author, Natalie Bovis-Nelsen is a Los Angeles mixologist and is the spokesperson for several household-name spirits and wine companies, including Fre, a division of Sutter Wines. Published in 2009, Bovis-Nelsen's book has definitely made a big hit on the mommy scene, with it's fun cocktails and great photographs.
The recipes center around healthful fresh juices and herbs and are especially great for baby showers. Cleverly organized by trimester, there's something for everyone in this pocket size manual, with a few alcohol cocktails offered to keep things interesting for Dad.
Perfect for those expecting on this New Years Eve, if you still want to enjoy the festive holiday atmosphere and great if you're currently breast feeding too.
Many of Natalie's (aka The Liquid Muse) wonderful recipes can be found on the Fre Wine website. Too late to turn back now, 2012 is definitely right around the corner. So, how about enjoying a Merry Berry Basil Mojito? Natalie Bovis-Nelsen, author of Preggatinis, Mixology for the Mom-to-Be
This afternoon I spent some quiet time researching our Belevation mom-to-be give-away for December, The Baby Name Wizard by Laura Wattenberg. I first learned about Wattenberg's book and accompanying website while listening to an NPR program on baby naming.
Her impressive research and groundbreaking computer models examine name usage and popularity over the last hundred years in the 2005 book. Quoted in recent articles in both the New York Times and Time Magazine, Wattenberg, once a name-searching mom herself, said that people hunger to be different these days.
A result of the internet, a 2010 survey on the pop-culture website Lil-Sugar indicated that 64% of new parents Google their baby name picks before making final choices. Makes sense to see what unknowns may be lurking on your child's "domain" prior to taking the leap.
If you are in a name shopping mode, it's important to enjoy the process, even though it is one of your life's most important decisions. With tools like Wattenberg's Baby Name Wizard, there are now amazing resources to help you with the search. While reading the Times article, I learned about Kick to Pick - a newly released iphone app that claims to let your child pick their own name. Also available for iPod Touches, the app " generates names while monitoring the baby's movements. Any kick detected will then stop the generator at the baby's chosen name, ready for the parents to accept their child's choice or dismiss the name and start their search again." Available for .99 cents, it's definitely a game-changer to think of your baby participating in picking their own name.
If you are interested in upholding more parental control, here's a simple method. You and hubby can make separate favorite lists from a baby name book, narrowing the search to a few alphabet letters that honor loved ones (deceased or alive depending on your tradition). Hopefully there will be at least one name in common on each of your lists. No matter how you do it, possibly combining several of these methods - have fun!
I don't know about you, but I believe in divine intervention. It was that kind of moment, when Monique from Fort Bragg, NC wrote to me on our Belevation Facebook page. Several months ago, we decided to add a XL size to our line of Belevation Maternity garments.
We began making Support Bands and PettiPants in the new Plus, pre-pregnancy 16-18 size. Everything was going well, but two problems dragged out the process of adding the new size range. For one thing, my husband/our technical director - is a perfectionist. Months had gone by while he continued to perfect our seamless Belevation Support Brief.
I began to wonder if we would ever be ready to add our new XL sizing? Finally, after much attention - perfecting the brief, it was time to find a fit model to give them a test run. And then that evening, out of the blue - I received a note from Monique.
"Are you going to add plus sizes ever" she asked? Monique is herself an army veteran, a military wife and the mother of six boys ranging in age from 21 to 1! Twenty-four weeks pregnant with her seventh, Monique explained "that depending on if something runs large or small", she wears anywhere "from an 18-20 to a 22-24 (or 2x/3x)".
Unsure how our new Belevation XL size would measure-up, we sent a package to Monique, in Fort Bragg. One of the largest and busiest military complexes in the world, Bragg is home to almost 10 percent of the Army's active component forces. We were glad to help Monique and were hopeful that she would like what she received. An email arrived from her in my inbox around noon time the next day. "I received the package and I love them! I will say that its definitely NOT a 16-18. Its more like a 20-26 That is my normal size for most maternity clothes, and I fit in these just fine with room to grow the belly and no pinching etc. These are sooo comfortable! I am really impressed!"
Monique's feedback was an affirmation that our new Belevation XL size will be comfortable for a wide range of larger women. I guess all that special attention to detail paid off. And our other problem, our X-large labels had gotten lost on their way to us and had to be remade. Well - finally they arrived today! With patience and a bit of divine intervention, all things are possible. Just ask Monique about patience, as she is soon to be the mother of her seventh boy! Please give our new Belevation Plus size a try. We definitely know you'll like it!
Since we started doing Belevation product give-aways, we are contacted many times each week by mom bloggers who want to review Belevation products. Alba Garza is a pregnant Latin mom from Houston, who works full time in an office and writes a reallyinformative Blogger format blog, called IndependentMami.
Her post Oct. 11th post was about a new program from the AllState Foundation called Purple Purse, which supports efforts against domestic violence. Thanks Alba for getting me up-to-date on this important new program. (Purple was a really hot European color this fall - so it's coming our way...) Here's what Alba had to say about our PettiPant:
"I work full time in an office. I dress up everyday of the week in my dresses. The Belevation Mid-thigh PettiPant is perfect under my dresses and has made life easier for me. I have been wearing biking shorts under my dresses along with my undies and boy oh boy is that not comfortable after a full day of work.
I really loved the seamless Belevation four-way stretch microfiber construction that is made with moisture wicking, breathable mesh. They don't not ride down my belly. It goes all the way to the top. It is not cutting my circulation or cutting in the belly. It is comfortable for me and the baby. And best of all, I love the support it gives me."
Like Belevation NOW on Facebook and tell your friends too! Want to win your very own PettiPants? Here is how to enter: 1) “like” Belevation on Facebook, tell them Independentmami sent you. ***Disclosure-No monetary compensation was received. Product was provided to review. These are my honest opinions."