Welcome to the competitive world of maternity lingerie!

Welcome to the competitive world of (yes, seriously!).  If you think that making pretty undies for pregnant women sounds like a nice, cosy little lifestyle business, think again.  Valued at £38m by Mintel, the market is still dominated by Mothercare and M&S (think 2-packs for £29) but there are over 30 luxury, niche brands trying to secure a piece of the pie. Each month, I’ll pick a brand and show you how they differentiate themselves from the competition in order to survive.

Agathe et ses Princes (yup, bit of a mouthful) is about intelligent design and fresh, pretty prints that feel timeless. Launched 4 years ago by Caroline Gerney, this Belgian brand has built its reputation on providing a great fit via a unique nursing feature.  Their nursing bras are all underwired – this doesn’t seem to be a problem on the continent, where midwives don’t really exist – allowing them to design cuter, less bulky undies. If the bras weren’t underwired, they’d look a bit old fashioned (think Vichy and Toile de Jouy prints), but less fabric and a lower neckline means they feel vintage and pretty instead. A magnetic strip runs inside the cup, opening it from the centre front outwards (a bit like those zips of old) and allows easy, discrete feeding. It’s a real USP, so retailers are happy to stock their collections as something ‘different’ alongside existing brands. Their timeless design also appeals to a wider customer base – important for small boutiques who can only stock a few styles!

Bastienne uni black mannequin Welcome to the competitive world of maternity lingerie!

Agathe et ses Princes - Bastienne

Bastienne uni violet mannequin Welcome to the competitive world of maternity lingerie!

Agathe et ses Princes - Bastienne

Their other key strength is in good stock management. As the lingerie is made in North Africa (where CMT manufacturing means small minimums and short lead times) it allows them to replenish quickly, ensuring that their customers (the retailers) are never out of stock. Happy customers = good business!

Agathe et ses Princes also offer a fantastic, personal service. Caroline Gerney, a woman with great energy, refined taste and fabulous networking skills manages to generate real loyalty amongst her customers. Crucial, when other brands are constantly tap-tapping on the door (see Mamae…).

At the top end of the price range (around €65-75), this is a collection that really does have added value; unique design, great service and beautiful packaging. How would you rate them?

Jules
Amoralia

Benedicte dots red mannequin 533x800 Welcome to the competitive world of maternity lingerie!

Agathe et ses Princes - Benedicte

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Maternity Bra fitting Advice by Amoralia

Tuttifrutti lifestyle endline2 Maternity Bra fitting Advice by Amoralia

Tutti Frutti

and nursing bras are sized exactly like normal bras. The first step to comfort and support is to determine your current size. Figleaves.com has a great video to help you do this: Figleaves.com Video

Now that you’ve established your correct size, you can choose what type, and size of bra to buy depending on where you are in your pregnancy:

-        early-mid pregnancy:

You should buy a maternity bra that’s either the same size as your current size, or if you feel your ribcage is expanding fast, a bigger band size, but a smaller cup (if you’re a 34D, choose a 36C). Fit it on the tightest hook and see how it feels. This will allow you to let it out as your ribcage expands outwards.

-        late pregnancy:

You should now consider buying a nursing bra, but go up one cup size from your current size (if you’re now a 36D, buy a 36DD). This is because your cup size will increase by at least one size when your milk comes in, and you’ll also need room for breast pads. Fit it on one of the loosest hooks. As your ribcage falls back to its natural place in the weeks and months after your baby is born, you can then tighten it.

-        you’ve had your baby and are breastfeeding:

Buy a nursing bra in the same size as your current size. It should be fitted on the 3rd or 4th hook. Your cup size will fluctuate during feeds, and your rib cage will fall back a little, so this will allow you to adjust the bra as necessary. Remember to choose a bra with stretchy cups (all our styles are good for this, particularly Second Skin (link to Second Skin), and a 4 or 6 row hook & eye closure.

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Summer Brights for Amoralia

, known for its feminine, glamorous , unveils a hot new collection for Spring/Summer ’10.  With sexy new designs, a vibrant colour palette and competitive pricing, the collection is predicted to make a splash in the crowded maternity market.

Tutti Frutti, the new embroidery and microfibre range is designed to make any mummy-to-be feel as delicious as she looks. The on-trend combination of floral embroidery and dotty print creates a fresh look, and the silky soft fabrics ensure comfort and support all day.

Amoralia’s signature style Nougatine has been given a make-over for Spring with a younger, graphic lace, satiny microfibre and juicy new coral colourway. The new collection, Cupcake includes the award-winning nursing and French knicker, slightly re-designed for comfort and wearability.

In response to customer demand, a pretty lavender print is now offered in the best-selling Second Skin collection to run alongside existing ivory and black.  With dual cup sizes (less sizes to stock), a very competitive price point and intellingent styling (lower centre front, removable foam cups), this collection is a must for any maternity boutique.

Jules Fossett, Amoralia’s MD, says: “I love these new colours; they feel so wearable and summery! Pregnant women don’t want to wear big swathes of primary colour, but they also don’t want to look bland – this palette strikes the perfect balance.”

Amoralia, as worn by Hollywood stars Toni Collette and Rachel Weisz, is now stocked by over 150 retailers worldwide, including the prestigious Takashimaya department store in Singapore. For more information on stockists or to order online, visit Amoralia.

Tuttifrutti coral SS10 Summer Brights for Amoralia

Tutti Frutti by Amoralia

cupcake shellgrey SS10 Summer Brights for Amoralia

Cupcake by Amoralia

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