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New online maternity wear store - waste of time??

(33 Posts)
Woody31 Wed 31-Aug-11 17:08:40

Hi all,

After spending a wonderful 14 months maternity leave with my DS I am now back into the throws of a 9-5 job and was thinking could I be doing something else with my time? Whilst dreaming about other work options I thought about setting up a new online maternity wear shop to compensate for all the frumpy, badly made and down right ill fitting maternity clothes I invested in when pregnant.

I would really like to hear your thoughts on whether you think there is a gap in the market for a new online store dedicated to stylish and well made maternity wear, nursing wear and new mum necessities? It would also be really useful to hear exactly what and where people bought their maternity wear from and what they spent? Please be frank and honest with any ideas you may have or if you have any recommendations for new business reading material or support.

Thanks in advance for your help and thoughts.

Woody.

sugarsnappea Wed 31-Aug-11 18:56:26

The first time around I bought a lot of Isabella Oliver, Blossom and Seraphine stuff, it was all expensive, conservative and nothing like the clothes from the rest of my non pregnant wardrobe. This time around I have wasted so much money on J Brand jeans (3 pairs in 3 sizes, none of them stay up). I am wearing leggings and Oska (a label for larger ladies) dresses/ jumpers and loads of Vivienne Westwood stuff in size large. The biggest problem for me is cool trousers: all of my non pregnancy trousers are VW, I wish she did maternity wear...

thisisyesterday Wed 31-Aug-11 19:00:04

personally i found plenty of nice maternity wear out there, at affordable prices.

i certainly don't think there is any kind of gap in the market for maternity wear tbh... google it, the results are endless.

that isn't necessarly to say that you couldn't make money doing it, but I don't know what you would do that other people haven't already done iyswim?

hairylights Wed 31-Aug-11 19:03:38

I can't find much I like - it all seems frumpy and poor quality. My biggest issue is finding good quality, affordable over bump work trousers - so I am wearing jeans to work.

thisisyesterday Wed 31-Aug-11 19:09:29

i had trousers from h&m and m&s for work, but that was 4 years ago now so might not do them any more.

the thing is, unless the op will design and manufacture all her own designs then all she can do is re-sell other people's clothes... and they're all out there already.

yummymango Wed 31-Aug-11 19:36:42

I completely think there needs to be more choice. The only place I found nice (as in my style, fashionable and not too expensive) maternity clothes was TopShop. And they only have a very small selection.
I found the rest of the maternity ranges boring, and expensive. Lots of the clothes I have bought have been non maternity, just a few sizes bigger but that only works with some styles.
I definitely think there is a huge gap for affordable and fashionable maternity clothes.

licoriceGreen Wed 31-Aug-11 19:37:17

Online isn't the problem, it's finding clothes on the high street that you can try on, lots of companies do online stuff but don't have anything in the physical stores.

magicmelons Wed 31-Aug-11 20:05:16

I've been loving buying maternity clothes in this pregnancy my first pregnancy was 7 years ago and topshop had just introduced maternity clothes, these days i think the choice is pretty good. I've used asos alot the french connection maternity range has been great for evening wear, vertbaudet, IO for good basics and topshop. I've had lots of compliments and its so much nicer than just making do.
I think the reason that not many sites do well is because its only the big sites asos etc that can afford to do cheap ranges and people don't want to spend loads of money. There are actually loads of sites out there if you look I really like some of the Isabella oliver stuff but have only bought in the sales and with discount vouchers.

laracroft2001 Wed 31-Aug-11 21:24:39

i find it pretty difficult to find a good selection of maternity workout clothes. only one website, bumpsonthemove, really exists and it has very limited choice x

sleepevader Wed 31-Aug-11 21:33:13

Maternity clothes in plus sizes and short lengths are Definately in short supply

banana87 Thu 01-Sep-11 08:23:11

Affordable, good quality mat wear is needed. I can't justify spending £30-£40 on a top as I'm trying to save to buy stuff for the baby. NCT sales have been a lifesaver'

AlpinePony Thu 01-Sep-11 08:45:45

The message I see on these boards over and over is "where the fuck is the maternity wear for those wearing size 20+"? I think only Next & DP go bigger and even then, only to a size 22. There's stuff on SimplyBe, but having looked there - ffs - they're just fugly fat clothes.

Larger women have plenty of money to spend and would relish being able to buy proper maternity wear rather than simply a larger tent from Evans.

Personally I'd like to see maternity tights in a size larger than a 12... wink

Fluter Thu 01-Sep-11 09:24:57

I ended up making my own formal dress for a wedding because I couldn't see anything that I'd wear, for a sensible price. Otherwise, the return of the maxi dress this year has been a boon for me.

Onlines: I get really annoyed about the 'barely pregnant' models that are used to model the clothes. Use someone who is 36 weeks ffs, show us what they REALLY look like. But that's a personal bugbear!

I would be more prepared to buy from a site that really understood about how difficult it is to second guess what size you need. Being told to just 'buy the size you were before being pregnant' is the most useless piece of advice, since the days of M&S sizing being the gold standard are long gone. And given the difference in size between one person's bump and another, never mind the increase in size of my backside...

The best clothes I found were in a Spanish Carrefour. A pair of smart olive coloured over the bump trousers that stay up, and pretty tops that covered my twin bump easily, without being too big elsewhere.

Mind you, it doesn't help that in terms of clothes I find Top Shop and the like too 'teenage' for my style, but am not quite looking for the twinset and pearls yet... smile

KikiRC Thu 01-Sep-11 11:17:18

I'd agree with what a lot of people have already said- that there's plenty of stuff out there, but the online thing is a bit frustrating, because it's so hard to gauge sizes etc.

If you really wanted to do something 'different' I'd think about something like a vintage maternity shop. I can find millions of different maternity jeans/ tops/ quite nice jersey dresses etc at a reasonable price, but my favoured vintage dresses aren't going to fit much longer. Vintage baby clothes might appeal to some people, too.

Just an idea.

nunnie Thu 01-Sep-11 11:26:31

I have found enough online, but very few shops stock maternity clothes and those that do stock a limited amount.

I think there is a gap but it isn't online. It would be nice to see items and try before you buy. There is also sizing issues, it would be nice to see maternity wear in all sizes and leg lengths.

Sadly there is also a lack in good quality mat wear, it all seems to be jersey and cheap material but not reflected in the price!

Unless of course you have money then there are plenty of online designer companies but you pay extra to look stunning in pregnancy, I just settle for frumpy and jersey and remind myself it isn't forever wink

Sandra2011 Thu 01-Sep-11 11:35:49

Got all mine from Ebay so wouldn't need a new store smile

KellyKettle Thu 01-Sep-11 11:41:00

nunnie Thu 01-Sep-11 11:26:31

I think there is a gap but it isn't online. It would be nice to see items and try before you buy.

^ This ^

Sadly there is also a lack in good quality mat wear, it all seems to be jersey and cheap material but not reflected in the price!

^and this^

smile

Armi Thu 01-Sep-11 11:52:29

I needed fat girl maternity wear that wasn't exorbitantly expensive - I really think there's a fortune to be made producing good quality, well cut, plus size stuff for pregnant women. Like others on this thread, my biggest problem was finding decent trousers. (For anyone currently pregnant, my hot tip would be to get yourself a few pairs of The White Company roll top trousers - I lived in them and they were brilliant, even for work. )

redexpat Thu 01-Sep-11 12:37:25

Basic clothes in a variety of colours and styles. Like kettlewell but for pregnant women. I don't wear black normally. I dont want to start just because I'm up the duff.

Nice bras. With matching pants. I'm pregnant. Not blind. Include those of us with small boobs/backs. Not everyone puts on 5 stone and jumps 3 sizes.

International delivery.

A good size chart with clear and comprehensive sizes/size bands. eg 8-10 is too small for me, but 12-14 is too big. I haven't bought so many clothes for this reason. There are gaps on the size charts. Include both ends of the spectrum! Also tall and petite.

Details of length of clothes.

I have bought two dresses from asos for £30 each and they are comfy and look good. They are a bit thin though. Bought the most expensive jeans I have ever owned in australia $120! Other than that I have been using shalwaar kameezes that I got in India and a pair of tracksuit bottoms that have a fold over section at the top. It no longer folds over and just about grips my bump.

Woody31 Thu 01-Sep-11 13:37:02

Thanks for your wonderful idea. I saw only yesterday a great vintage site set up by a lady in Australia and thought how nice it would be to get some vintage inspired pieces in maternity wear.

Woody31 Thu 01-Sep-11 13:43:01

Thanks everyone for your thoughts - they are all really helpful. Obviously the costs of setting up an 'actual' shop are huge and would not be something I could start from my home so to speak - however designing and getting some pieces made up could be. Love the vintage dress idea ! Any other thoughts ? keep them coming......

cravingcake Thu 01-Sep-11 14:43:09

I would suggest a free delivery option if possible. I have had to order everything online as there are just no shops near where I live that have anything maternity. All the online ordering I've had to do has a delivery charge, or minimum spend of £50 to get free delivery (and when you just need a couple of vest tops & shorts to get you through summer it doesnt come to that). And I've had to order normally it in 2 sizes so always sending bits back. Although delivery charge is only a few £ it adds up when you are ordering from a few different places.

Definately agree with all those saying decent trousers as I hate leggings but have found myself wearing them when desperate.

If you are a designer, then maybe offering a bespoke/alterations service could be good for people wanting a special item but it not fitting properly.

PinkFondantFancy Thu 01-Sep-11 14:52:06

The vintage idea is a good one.

I work in a bank and found it very hard to find affordable clothes which also didn't look completely trashy. New Look's prices are good but most of their stuff isn't really smart enough for my office. Some clothes between the New Look and Isabella Oliver price brackets would have been ideal for me - I was willing to spend a bit more, but not THAT much more.

Fluter Thu 01-Sep-11 15:33:58

I'd like to add an adjective in here - not necessarily vintage, but 'timeless'. It's unlikely that I'll ever be pregnant again (twins will be enough for us thank you very much!), but if I was on a first pregnancy and did intend to do it all again, I'd have looked for clothes that are stylish and would still look stylish in 2-4 years time IYSWIM.

Would be interesting if you could find a designer (someone straight out of a local college?) who would be interested in designing for pregnancy and after - it was a bit of an eye-opener as to the changes to the bog-standard design pattern I had to do - I had gone up from a general 12/14 all over to a 14 pair of shoulders, 16 round the boobs, and then a size 20-22 from there downwards, but only at the front, not at the back (I was about a 16 round the bum) and it took a bit of thinking how to fit the four sizes together and still have it not look too much like a tent.

WRT the business side - a Mumsnet collective, perhaps?

Oh: and I like bright colours (purple dress made!). Reds, blues, greens. Not just grey, black and beige.

KellyKettle Thu 01-Sep-11 15:46:42

yy to not just using black, grey and beige. My maternity wardrobe is so dull - black, navy, beige. I am looking forward to wearing non-maternity things again so that I have more choice.

I also hate florals. Well no, I hate that it seems to be assumed that once you're pregnant you want floaty florals. I want something I can wear to the office, not floral chiffon with large bows. I want things that look like something I'd wear when I'm not pregnant.

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