Feature on: Katie Powell of @mamajeanius

Katie Powell of @mamajeanius

Being pregnant with my daughter Molly 3 years ago, I found it really frustrating that I could not find well made, comfortable, reasonable maternity jeans that I could wear throughout my entire pregnancy. From the high street to on-line sellers I ended-up with maternity jeans that I had to pull-up every time I moved! I was frustrated with the maternity shopping experience and found the whole process disappointing. I decided to do something about it.1- What inspired Mama Jeanius?@mamajeanius

I do not come from a professional fashion background, but managed to use my network of friends to arrange a meeting with a top London denim designer who liked the idea and agreed to meet. After many long meetings we decided that not enough thought had been put into maternity jeans designs and that we could do much better.

2- From idea to reality

After market/ competitor analysis (e.g. in 2009 maternity wear market was valued at £140m and there were 750k UK births) and formulating a draft business plan we set about highlighting the fundamental necessities required (fit, comfort, style, longevity i.e. last your entire pregnancy) and designing the jeans. We came up with 3 styles to suit individual tastes including a completely new concept of a stretchable denim band, which is now covered by a design patent. In the spring of 2010 the styles were then tested by 50 expectant Mum’s who gave constructive feedback and alterations were made where necessary. At the same time I was setting up the website and PR around the launch. Being a transactional website there were many long phone and Skype calls to the developers to get this right. I wanted the site to allow mum’s to be to see how the jeans will change and adapt over their pregnancy, and use photography of real women at various stages of pregnancy to provide a realistic view of the product. In essence the site allows the user to tailor their own jeans to personal requirements and tastes.

We went into full production in autumn 2010 and we launched at the Baby Show at Excl in February 2011 and at www.mamajeanius.com. We had achieved what I had set out to do and provide designer maternity jeans at an affordable mid market price. We are now retailing in a number of boutiques in the UK and are looking to expand our reach into Europe. We are also just starting on developing our baby and toddler range.

2- What makes Mama Jeanius unique?

Mama Jeanius is the only maternity jeans specialist. The products have all been designed with a lot of thought and care. All the different styles of the Mama Jeanius jeans are unique to Mama Jeanius. One style (called Mama Joy) fits under your bump and has an adjustable waist mechanism that can adapt by 10-15cms either side, making it possible to wear the same jeans all the way through your pregnancy. Another style, Mama Life, a registered design, is made in complete tailored denim. This style can be worn in a number of ways. The on-line shopping experience is also unique, showing expectant Mum’s how the jeans will really adapt and change thought-out their pregnancy. For the photography for our website we used real women!

3- How does running a business fit around family life?

Juggling my daughter, the house and my business is busy, but I have had a decade of corporate experience which has helped shape my working ethics! It all comes down to hard work, effort, motivation and above all organisation. Being able to work flexibly makes a huge difference. After I had my daughter I wanted to create a business where I could continue my career, but most importantly spend as much time with Molly as possible and not miss those special moments.

4- Where do you see Mama Jeanius in the future?

An established and followed brand, delivering quality products to expectant Mum’s. For Mama Jeanius to continue to be true to what it set out to achieve –providing thoughtful maternity products and in the first instance designer maternity jeans.

“design for life”

Website: www.mamajeanius.com

Twitter: @mamajeanius