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(30 Posts)
milkmonster Thu 05-Nov-09 00:01:23

If there was a high street store that was exclusively maternity wear - no baby clothing or items - a regular store just like the ones you're familiar with such as Topshop, Evans, etc. would you, being pregnant, be interested in shopping there?

I've often wondered if this is a gap in the markeet having been pregnant twice and both times struggling to find decent maternity wear that's cheap to mid-price yet good quality.

Yes there's online Blooming Marvellous, etc or Isabella Oliver but they're sooo dear and yes there's tiny concessions in H&M, Topshop and Dorothy Perkins (if they have the stock in, they always seemed to have only a few items in). Even Mothercare is over-priced and not partucularly trendy.

But women are constantly pregnant, the recession might spark a baby boom (nights in rather than out blush ) and it's a store guarantedd to always have plenty of stock in, in all sizes, with cheap and mid-range pricing but good quality, extra large fitting rooms for bumps to get about in easily! and perhaps a decent buggy park area and even secure fenced-off area to plonk your other kiddies for 10 mins whilst you browse.

If it's a contstant market being pregnant, do you think it's a viable business idea?
Or do we all just wear our usual clothes til the bumps too big and then live in elasticated jog pants for the next 2 years?!

milkmonster Thu 05-Nov-09 00:03:39

In my ponderings for a new career post-babies, it's an idea that keeps popping up, however I've no retail or business experience, and presumably someone else must have thought of it before. Or perhaps it already exists and I just didn't know.

LifeOfKate Thu 05-Nov-09 09:54:28

I totally would shop there, i found it so difficult to find basic affordable maternity clothes. If it was me, I would sell a few small baby clothes (maybe up to 6 months?) in there as well

fiziwizzle Thu 05-Nov-09 09:58:32

Yes I'd shop there.

Morloth Thu 05-Nov-09 10:09:39


Effilump Thu 05-Nov-09 10:13:12

Me too!

bethoo Thu 05-Nov-09 10:16:06

i find that in some smaller towns evern the top shop etc do not sell maternity wear. i cant afford to buy expensive maternity clothes unless i know i am guarnateed to have another 3 children to justify the cost since we are only in them for about 6 months! i find other stores unfashionable and even mothercare does not do size 8 where i live and the clothes are just how do i say? frumpy!
i am a slim size 8 and always conscious of hte way i look but sadly when i am pregnant i just hide away as feel embarrassed wearing maternity wear so end up living in baggy clothes trying to hide the pregnancy instead of being proud of it!
so yes i would shop in a reasonably priced maternity only store! and also selling novelty things for pregnacy like bubble baths etc to pamper oneself with!

Tambajam Thu 05-Nov-09 10:18:32

We had a branch of Formes locally that just shut down.
We also have a Seraphine that does stock minimal baby stuff but is mostly maternity clothes.
They aren't cheap clothes but I would have thought it would be difficult to keep prices very low as you'd be shifting less stock.

holytoast Thu 05-Nov-09 10:19:01

It's something I have been thinking about for ages - I make clothes, an have started adapting/making my own stuff during this, my first pregnancy, because I am so annoyed at the lack of choice - so yes, I would shop there - I think the only thing is that with high street shops, you find they have their own style - for example, I don't much bother with dorothy perkins (too boring) dont go in for much in topshop (too young) and don't like river island (too trashy) - however, thats just my opinion, an I'm sure others do the same with other shops - if you had a shop that was just maternity, would it have its own brand of clothes, and therefore own style, or would it stock lots of different brands?

TakeLovingChances Thu 05-Nov-09 10:22:31

I'd shop there!

doingthelambethwalk Thu 05-Nov-09 10:25:57

I would and have as there is a shop not that far from me like this. There's a nice one in York, too. They both stock different brands.

Personally I would like to be able to buy the following in one place:
- maternity clothes (diff brands)
- baby clothes
- baby gifts e.g. classic wooden toys, hungry caterpillar book, shawls
- cards e.g. congratulations, children's birthdays
- wrapping paper

I think you really need to stock different brands of maternity wear because the sizes can vary so much, as a tall woman I have found my choice of maternity wear quite restricted.

doingthelambethwalk Thu 05-Nov-09 10:27:28

oh and hospital bag items and nice smellies for expectant mums and changing bags (all to be marketed as gifts)

crumpette Thu 05-Nov-09 10:33:20

I am 31/32 weeks and have been mostly wearing ordinary clothes up until now except for a couple pairs of maternity trousers. 2nd pregnancy, first time I spent a fortune on isabella oliver/ mama-la-mode stuff that I didn't even wear blush and have ended up giving away!

I would shop in a store but it has already been done, with the likes of 'pretty pregnant' and 'seraphine'

I think the same problem would be faced, the store would presumably open in one location first and unless it's online or nationwide it may be hard to get it to the mass market or have reasonable prices

I would also be interested in a maternity wear store that sells selected items from existing retailers, for example all of the main retailers' best sellers or new items in, but all in one place. I also think it would be important to have at least a selection which is really low-price but good quality as even places with (imho) not great maternity clothes (mamas&papas/mothercare/marks&spencers) are often quite expensive

so yes, I would shop there smile

end of overly long post

crumpette Thu 05-Nov-09 10:37:59

PS I think it should also stock:

newborn sized clothes

changing bags/hospital bags

clothes from different retailers

clothes in, for example short leg length or long leg length (I have had to order embarassingly short trousers from topshop maternity online)

lal123 Thu 05-Nov-09 10:44:24

I would have shopped there when pregnant - and if it also stocked decent nursing tops I'd be shopping there now!

milkmonster Thu 05-Nov-09 14:43:20

hi all excuse lack of punctuation typing 1 finger as baby on lap!

lots of interesting points especially about stocking different sizes fot tall/petite ladies, being tall myself i found this an issue.

also dont know why i didnt think of this too breastfeeding as i am, of course nursing tops/lingerie useful stock.

as for keeping prices down, even without a marketing or textiles manufacture degree i think we all know that shop mark-ups may include a percentage to cover overheads of course but it's mainly brand-led, ie the item price reflects the brand ideal. for instnce, when i lived near manchester which has a large clothing wholesale area, i was surprised to discover that the manufacturers of M&S babywear ALSO manufacture a cheap supermarket clothing brand - all garments identical quality, jusdt different price mark-ups based on whichever market the retailer is selling to, so thetock can be cheap yet still quality.

aa i said not researched this yet, never even worked in a clothes shop, so dont know whether designing and making to order own designs more viable than just stocking branded?

heard of seraphine - it's not cheap and judging by the magazine ads i've seen, marketed towards very sophisticated (seraphine after all, not called mildred!)scarily skinny women with a tiny,tiny bump! not the case for most pregnant women, just some.

do you thiunk a buggy park is a good idea or just extra wide aisles, given buggy park would take up valuable retail space?

also, secure kiddie play area, not sure of liability issues there in case they escaped whilst mum's in changing room! employing a creche worker might be too big expense. perhaps just toys in the changing rooms. big rooms too enough to swing several cats in.

hmm all food for thought.

LondonL Thu 05-Nov-09 14:45:43

it works in the US really well. I agree the key has to be trendy yet affordable. So many of us don't want to invest a lot of money in clothes we'll only wear for a short time.
good luck!

milkmonster Thu 05-Nov-09 14:46:40

how about names? something thast doesn't offput dads or other family members shopping for gift items too. i like plain old 'bump' personally!

ps not illiterate still typing 1 finger babe on lap!!

Deemented Thu 05-Nov-09 14:48:25

If it stocked plus size maternity i'd travel to shop there!!!

milkmonster Thu 05-Nov-09 14:49:48

yes LondonL there is that short-term issue, perhaps a buy-back scheme (then i can re-sell them on ebay or set up a secondhand maternity wear website, or a part of the store just for secondhand, call it a sale rail).

milkmonster Thu 05-Nov-09 14:51:51

Deemented yep plus size too, and a big range not just a few token peices, also the same quality and trendy too, although not plus size myself ive always wondered why there was only ever evans on the high street??

Lionstar Thu 05-Nov-09 14:57:10

Mmm interesting idea. I probably would shop in such a place, though am blessed locally with H&M and Blooming M with decent maternity sections. Definately should be reasonably priced and not too designer-label.

Would be great to have decent range of nursing tops that don't come in lurid colours.

Also would there be any mileage in some kind of hire service - especially of one-off special occasion outfits for weddings etc.

Also could consider some kind of buy-back scheme as so much maternity wear is in great condition after use. Shop could sell these on cheaper as pre-loved? I would love this facility as hate to see my barely used stuff go to waste (or charity anyway)

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 14:57:19

I would, I have found it ridiculously hard to buy grown up maternity clothes. Being nearly 40 I do not want to wear a tee shirt with snoopy on it saying "does my bump look big in this?" or any other "hilarious" novelty maternity clothing! I've found Mamas and Papas the best this time round, fashionable, grown up but not that cheap.

I would also think it could be good to introduce some kind of returns scheme within the store, ie if you bring your old clothes bought from the shop in good condition you'll get 20% of their original price back (or something like that, whatever's commercially viable) because personally I'm not planning on any more children, so I'm reluctant to spend a fortune on lots of mat clothing, but if I knew I could wash it all, iron it and return it and get a bit of money back I might be tempted to spend a bit more.

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 14:57:47

Great minds Lionstar

bigpreggybelly Thu 05-Nov-09 16:01:51

Yes I would love that since it is doing my head in having to buy everything online and I am spending a fortune on postage especially returning stuff. However I don't think it would make a viable business, unless you wanted to do it as a hobby and not make much money from it.

Think where your market would come from. Local shoppers from say a 25 mile radius. The proportion of those shoppers who are pregnant would be relatively small, compared to the proportion of people from such a radius who are not pregnant and would go, for instance, to Top Shop. Most of those pregnant customers will have limited budgets, or simply not want to spend much on clothes that will be worn for only one season, since there are so many other things to buy to prepare for a new child in the family.

I think it would have to involve online sales as well as a physical shop to stand any chance of being successful, so that your target market can become national rather than just a local market. Relying solely on a local market is unlikely to provide enough customers to cover overheads and make a decent profit.

The larger shops which have maternity ranges, e.g. Next, now are cutting back on having maternity wear in their stores, I think because it does not sell enough to justify the shop space it occupies. For instance, in Cambridge there are 2 large branches of Next, neither of which stock any maternity wear any more now.

An independent store would also have to compete on price with the larger shops which don't do exclusively maternity wear, such as Next, which has access to cheap manufacturing etc. In respect of other maternity wear stores, such as Blooming Marvellous and Mamas and Papas, I think it would be difficult to compete with them as an independent - their overheads will be lower and their prices are already competitive.

The reason why there are so few maternity wear stores around is simply the local market isn't ever going to be big enough.

I'd love there to be more shops, but I wouldn't risk it myself.

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