For Baby & Me
This is not your mother’s maternity.
When it comes to products for kids and their moms, today’s designers are creating items that are eclectic, energetic and full of style. Julia Beck, maternity maven, trend-spotter and founder of Forty Weeks, the definitive lifestyle go-to for all things pregnancy and motherhood, introduces us to some of the extraordinarily talented and accomplished women who’ve inspired a transformation in the maternity and juvenile fashion industry.
Petunia Pickle Bottom is the whimsical name of a company whose founders — kindergarten teacher DeNai Jones and marketing executive Korie Fergeson, along with CFO, Braden Jones — are all business when it comes to raising the fashion bar on diaper bags and the look of motherhood overall.
Signature fabrics and designs have made the iconic Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag the coveted collectible fashion accessory for the modern mom, including stars like Kate Hudson and Reese Witherspoon.
“The right diaper bag can really go a long way to keeping a woman feeling like herself,” says DeNai, who came up with the idea of combining functional with elegant when searching for a gift for a friend.
DeNai, Korie and company are working to expand the multi-million dollar collaboration with daring fabrics, innovative designs and extraordinary style. “We always ask the question, ‘How can we enhance the lifestyle of the mom?,’” explains DeNai.
“And that’s the (pickle)bottom line,” quips Korie.
Laurie McCartney is more than just a stylish mom and shopping connoisseur. She is the founder and CEO of babystyle, conceived while pregnant with her first child, when she discovered that no store offered all the maternity and baby essentials she needed.
A former Disney executive and Harvard MBA, Laurie devised babystyle’s business
plan with input from actual moms who offered real-world insights and perspectives.
In 1998, at eight months pregnant, Laurie launched babystyle as an e-commerce website selling everything from clothing and gear to nursery décor, toys and gifts.
A successful babystyle catalog and brick-&-mortar stores soon followed. The company now has 13 stores across the country with dozens more planned in the next few years. Laurie has her hands in design, buying and merchandising — all the details that make babystyle both a compelling and celebrated success.
Laurie balances life as a CEO with raising two children, ages 6 and 4. “I think one of the reasons that babystyle has developed such a loyal following is the fact that women recognize that I’m just like them: a busy mom looking for a great place to shop!”
Amy Coe is royalty in the world of home fashion, and a woman who brings her great passion for beauty and style to all that she touches. The success of her exquisite children’s bedding and accessories line reflects her lifelong love for collecting vintage textiles, amassed through years of visits to flea markets, estate sales and antique shops.
When her daughter Olivia was born 12 years ago, Amy culled through her treasured textile collection, selected fabric patterns from the ‘30s and ‘40s, and contracted a local seamstress to create a full sample collection of booties, hats and one-of-a-kind pillows.
The vintage look with heirloom quality was a hit! ABC Carpet & Home placed the first large order, and then other retailers followed. “The line grew along with my daughter, and with the supportive love of my husband who helped me build the business and gives balance to my life,” she says.
Today, Amy’s signature collection — beloved by noteworthy clients like Sarah Jessica Parker — includes luxurious cashmere, Moses baskets and other decorative items for babies, children and beyond.
Her newest venture, the amy coe limited collection developed for Target, gives even more moms access to her quintessentially sophisticated, timeless design.
Celebrity moms Gwyneth Paltrow, Courtney Cox and Catherine Zeta Jones are all devotees of Cadeau, a uniquely fashionable line of maternity clothes created by former Barney’s executive Emilia Fabricant.
French for “the gift,” Cadeau, like Emilia, masterfully combines style and substance. “I love the look of Italian tailoring and styling, the feel of high end fabrics mixed with some Mediterranean chic, and I don’t see why anyone should give up that ‘I look fabulous’ feeling when pregnant,” Emilia explains.
and raised on fine European fashion, Emilia has three children under the age of eight. She developed the Cadeau collection in Fall 2001 to give new mothers high quality fashion without the cutout panels traditionally used in maternity clothes. Emilia combs through the fabric houses of Europe for high-end luxurious fabrics and manufactures Cadeau in
Cadeau’s success has materialized into a flagship
store, a store in
, and a website. The next step for Emilia: launching a ready-to-wear line!
Playful, colorful and full of life describe Uli Belenky as well as her Zutano collection of mix-and-match prints for baby and toddler that allow parents to express their child’s individuality.
In 1989, when the German-born graphic designer started making her first baby’s clothing piece by piece, other playground moms began hounding her with “where did you get that outfit?” questions. Uli realized that there was a void in the market for high-end individual separates for babies, and set out to fill it.
The Zutano line has now expanded to more than 90 solids and prints and 15 different styles in the Baby Basics collection including items like baby blankets, booties and plush toys. Sophisticated and whimsical knits and other seasonal fashions round out Zutano’s sought after offerings.
“Like a baby, Zutano continues to grow and change,” says Uli. “And I guess I do too — the creativity of children unlocks my own self-expression and their distinctive spirit and curious personalities inspire me.”
Pamela Hillman and Marlo Hall Stern have the perfect answer to those annoying, intrusive and sometimes time consuming questions of pregnancy. Due and Sprout has captured the fun and fashion of pregnancy, and offer what have become the “must have” items for pregnant women everywhere.
The collection of expressive tanks and T’s announce in no uncertain terms: “Boy,” “Yes I’m Pregnant,” “Not Finding Out” and many other unspeakably clever responses.
Pamela and Marlo have combined quick wit and determination, along with respective backgrounds in marketing and branding and graphic design, to create a line that took off with retailers within weeks of its conception. The shirts, made of 100% combed cotton in body hugging cuts, sporting smart messages, have answered the pregnant woman’s need for fun in maternity fashion.
“It’s a strong gift item,” says Pamela. “We started with five and now have 13 answers to popular questions in the line, based on a tremendous reaction from store-owners and customers.”
What’s next for this dynamic pair and their iconic clothing? That shirt would read “Success”.
Tea Collection is a global fashion journey celebrating the world’s diversity, set into motion by the travels and imagination of Emily Meyer.
Her collection — a subtle, tasteful passport to the world via classic styling and extraordinary quality — is designed “for little citizens of the world” and inspired initially by Emily’s niece Olivia: Belgian, bilingual and global traveler herself.
While designing children’s clothes for Esprit® and Gymboree®, Emily had a vision to replace the expected pink and blue palettes with the richness of world cultures, color and texture.
She applies her vision both to the collections and to the company, by offering employees an annual travel allowance so that everyone comes to the drawing board fresh with ideas from their own travels and international experiences. Then, each season, Emily creates a new collection around a distinct culture. Past collections saw British, African and Japanese influences, and have attracted a celebrity clientele that includes Julia Roberts and Liv Tyler.
“Children bring the world together and, in a way, so does tea,” Emily adds. “Both cross so many cultures.”