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.
Last week Belevation traveled to Kentucky, to the ABC Kids Expo, taking our place among the many companies exhibiting for the 1st time. The development of Belevation's maternity support garments is a mom and pop effort, but it was stunning to see the hundreds of mom innovators presenting their creations at ABC. Necessity is the mother of invention and the buck stops with mom, so she's on the front lines in the problem solving department daily. "Mom invented-and mom tested", from Atlanta, GA, was the Highchair Organizer, a cleverly stitched pouch that secures to the back of your child's highchair to hold all of those meal time essentials. Imagine knowing where everything is? Revolutionary!
Across the aisle from Belevation was BG Birthing Gowns by Cindy Lintel, a labor and delivery nurse from New York State. Inspired to make a more feminine version of the dreaded hospital gown, Cindy used her knowledge of the delivery process to create a graceful, versatile alternative for women. What a sweet and knowledgeable lady she is!
During the course of the four days at the KY Expo Center, Belevation bonded with our other neighbor Kemi, the designer of a new line of diaper bags inspired by African textiles, called House of Botori, based in Maryland. Kemi discovered that "although functional", existing baby products "always seemed to lack individuality." House of Botori is her response to that quest, as it honors her Nigerian heritage. Judging from the visitors at ABC, Kemi's colorful diaper bags will take their place among the most coveted baby shower gifts.
Then there was Dr. Jane of Tortle, mother of 4, who makes adorable baby hats in the most fashionable colors, but in her role as a neonatal pediatrician she educates parents about Flat Head Syndrome.
Positional Plagiocephaly, will effect "a staggering 40% of babies before age six months. Beyond the cosmetic issues, there can be trouble with binocular vision and long-term developmental issues."
According to Dr. Jane: "Positional plagiocephaly increased 600% in the last 20 yrs. due to 2 changes:" "1) In 1992 The American Academy of Pediatrics began its “Back to Sleep” program to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome .(Incidence of SIDS have plummeted by almost 40%.)" "2) Infants are being placed in reclining carrying devices more than ever. Families on the go keep their babies in carriers, car seats, and swings for an extended time—frequently up to 20 hours per day."
Explore the Tortle site and google Plagiocephaly. Boy, this sure makes a case for more baby wearing; slings etc ... in your child's early months. Four amazing innovative mothers, each clearly with a lot to share for the benefit of others. If you want to fix a problem, definitely go ask a mom!
Here's what they've been saying ... "How miserable is chafing legs in the summer? I like to wear skirts, but hate when my legs rub together. Now I have found the holy grail of maternity underwear!! Super stretchy, not confining or tight. It gives you support that gently lifts the lower belly and a nice round appearance. Never thought I would be so pumped over comfy shaping underwear!" - Jessica, Virginia
North Carolina based expectant mom, Tasha found Belevation during an online search and drove to our manufacturing facility/offices from her home in Huntersville, NC on a quest for supportive maternity undergarments.
She tried on our Belevation PettiPants and Briefs, smiled and said "they fit perfectly - like they were heaven sent". Now she's looking and feeling great!
The perfect answer to thigh chaffing, great under dresses or skirts especially in the summer. The best solution to wear while pregnant to that upcoming wedding you've been invited to, but we've been told that you won't want to take it off, so you may need to buy an extra or two!
With Social Media all the rage, acronyms are everywhere. Even though these abbreviations are standard fair in our busy lives, there will always be a need for self-expression without short-cuts. BFF, best friends forever are those special kind of people who are willing to go the extra mile for you and listen to your long version. Since manufacturing apparel in the US isn't the easiest thing to do these days, LOL!, finding faithful friends who can offer Belevation encouragement has been so important! Today I'd like to highlight two special Belevation Maternity Support BFF.
When repeat customer Jessica wrote asking if we had a Mothers Day sale coming up, I gave her a preview code for our new X-Large Boyshort. Since I hadn't publicized the discount elsewhere, imagine my surprise as orders came in using the Mothers Day coupon. It turned out that Jessica was so happy with her Belevation products that she took time to share information about us on popular Mom sites. And a few days later when some of the posts were removed, Jessica went to bat for us yet again with a site moderator, insisting her Belevation posts be reinstated.
Orders were picking up as Jessica's Belevation message went viral and I finally figured what was going on. When I caught up with her, Jessica explained that she was "all about small business", since she came from a manufacturing background herself. You can see the beautiful line of solid cherry 18th century furniture that her family has designed and manufactured domestically for 80 years at Statton.com Jessica also designs a line of twig lettering, perfect to grace your nursery walls. View it on her gorgeous, newly created online Etsy store, called The Original Twig.
Another wonderful Belevation friend that I can't forget to mention is Michele from Atlanta, GA. Like Jessica, Michele definitely deserves a big shout out for the support she has offered. On all those lonely days sitting in front of the computer, when it seems nobody in the world is paying attention, Michele has been there "liking" everything on our Facebook page from our Belevation trivia, to the endless articles I re-post about pregnancy and parenting. A big thank you to Michele and Jessica for being among Belevation's BFF. We couldn't do it without you, nor would we ever want to!
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!