Belevation Maternity Underwear has evolved from being a twinkle in our eyes in late 2007, to the status of a savvy preschooler - in 2013. Having worked as a B2B service for the textile industry for many years, we had a lot to learn about the best way to reach 21st century consumers.
It's been a very slow process, but we haven't quit yet. Along the way, I've held several dumb second jobs to help pay the bills, but my low pay and under appreciation in those positions has just driven me harder toward Belevation's business success.
So here it is; my best advice for mompreneurs, women who can envision working incredibly hard, but doing it on your own terms. This list is for you:
1. Make sure someone in your house has a day job so you're not putting all eggs in one basket. The Small Business Administration says most businesses fail in the first 5 years. Know that upfront and protect yourself accordingly.
2. Do as much as possible yourself to keep costs low, then reach out to students who are highly skilled at things like websites, but have lower overheads than pros.
3. Make a website right away and get lots of help with SEO. Word Press content management sites are great since they are easy to self-maintain.
4. Network, network, network. We can’t be an island when it comes to anything.
5. Know the competition and be better in your niche. Evaluate what your niche is.
6. Set up your personal and business Facebook and Twitter accounts separately. Potential clients needn't know who you’re voting for, or if you’re in a bad mood.
7. Even though personal should remain personal, keep friends and family up to date online about your business news. Hopefully they will help spread the word.
8. Use advertising selectively. Ads are really expensive and can bust a budget.
9. Send out press releases to news orgs and try to get free mentions. Give back to the community right away since good deeds are newsworthy, so it’s a win win.
10. Giveaways are king with bloggers – so be prepared to give away products and services often to get free publicity. Well worth it compared to buying print ads.
11. Read a good newspaper like the NYT daily. Savvy biz owners need to stay abreast of what’s happening in the world. Read on a tablet on the treadmill, so you can fit in some exercise. Busy people need to kill two birds with one stone.
12. Enjoy your successes, nothing feels better than knowing you've accomplished something yourself. You'll have the best stories to tell on the school bus stop too.
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!
Belevation Maternity Support was reviewed by Jen Thomas from Mommies with Style on March 16th, 20011. It is a cool mom-resource site from the Philadelphia area with a lot of great coupons on there! Here's what she had to say about the products she tested:
"At 28 weeks pregnant with my third child, I am pretty big. Yet I am still active chasing my two boys around, working, and trying to stay fit at the gym and playing tennis. However, lately, I have noticed how hard it is wearing my regular underwear and feeling a total lack of support.
I happened to have some Belevation under- garments in my drawer that they were kind enough to send me to sample. I gave them a try and was SO THRILLED with the comfort and support that I had throughout the day around my belly. I wish I had tried these undergarments sooner! I tried both the Brief as well as the Belly Band. Both were great and so supportive.
I loved that the brief was comfortable, didn’t ride up (or fall down, a problem I have been having with my regular underwear!), and fit perfectly around my belly and waist. The Belly Band is perfect to wear for layered looks. All of the Belevation products are made with a unique, seamless, four-way stretch microfiber construction with moisture wicking, breathable mesh that is extremely comfortable.
Now that I have discovered and tried the Belevation undergarments, I will not go to the gym or play tennis without wearing one. It’s almost a necessity to keep me comfortable. Every mother-to-be should have a pair or two of these great products to keep them feeling as comfortable as possible. Enjoy!"
Belevation, LLC is pleased to announce the launch of their new collection of maternity support products available for direct on-line sales. Just what expectant moms have been asking for, Belevation™ products combine the most advanced technologies in seamless garment design with the best in ‘smart fiber’ engineering. Comfort-driven seamless knitting which has been utilized in active wear and undergarments, provided a perfect fit for maternity apparel.
Available in a Mid-thigh PettiPant, a Brief and Support Band, Belevation Maternity garments are designed with a symmetrical, highly engineered support panel extending through the lumbar region and under the belly. The breathable four-way stretch fabric used throughout provides a gentle lift and smoothing control.
Conceived by a Mom and Pop team in South Carolina, this unique line of Belevation mother-to-be products surpasses all other support garments currently on the market due to its sophisticated feature-rich construction.
More than just another bellyband holding up pre-pregnancy jeans, Belevation was created as an under-layer, imparting the ultimate in comfort and support where it is needed most.
Richly embellished with a jacquard design on the breathable tummy pouch, and an embroidered logo, Belevation garments are outstanding due to their state-of-the-art features. It is these carefully crafted details that set Belevation apart from other similar products made overseas with lightweight fabrics that offer little real support.
It was the gracious assistance of numerous pregnant volunteer models and product testers, that made the creation of Belevation products possible, and the response has been truly overwhelming!
“ I love the product so much! I wear them daily!” Whitney, Charlotte, NC “I have enjoyed the support band. I wish I had one for my prior two pregnancies. Great for exercising.” Carrie, Fort Mill, SC “Wearing your Belevation Boyshort I was able to sit on the floor with my toddler and read five books, when usually I can only read one before my back starts aching. I have worn it everyday since I received it because it has made such a difference.” Joy, Torrance, CA "I definitely feel a difference at the end of a long day after I’ve worn my Belevation – less back pain” LeeAna, Charlotte, NC
Produced with pride in the USA, Belevation products will add much needed comfort for expectant mothers.