Yuan Gao, 16, Kelly Huang, 16, and Chelsea (Zi) Yan,15, of New York, are one of this year’s competitors in the i.Invest National Youth Business Competition. Their company, Baby Bumps, promotes sustainability by developing maternity clothing with a special design that transitions in size as a woman’s body changes during pregnancy. We spoke with Yuan, the team leader, to learn more about their business.
Tell us about your business.
We are a maternity clothing company that focuses on using eco-friendly materials and adding the features of reusability and sustainability to maternity wear. We create maternity wear that uses a special zipper design on the side seam of clothing which can contract and expand to accommodate any size through the stages of pregnancy. The design increases the surface area when zipped up, and closing the zipper will decrease the surface area of the clothing, changing it back to regular size so that it can be worn after pregnancy.
Through our vast market research, we realized a major problem with the maternity wear market is that most of these expensive clothes worn during pregnancy are thrown away or becomes useless in the back of the closet unless they plan to have more children. This is what makes the maternity wear industry profitable, but also very wasteful. This led us to create Baby Bumps which solves this problem of waste and provides sustainability.
What inspired the creation of Baby Bumps?
Chelsea, the designer of our team, came up with this idea when she described the difficulties faced by her mother during pregnancy. Chelsea explained that her mother needed a maternity jacket during the winter, but refused to buy one. After asking her mother, we understood that her reluctance to buy maternity wear was because the maternity wear on the market is very expensive, and she felt it wouldn’t be used again after the nine short months of pregnancy. Her obstetrician also mentioned that the elastic bands currently used in most maternity wear can result in poor circulation for the mother and baby. To solve this issue, we designed our special maternity wear that can be worn during pregnancy, and after the birth of the baby.
How will Baby Bumps impact the world?
Although many kinds of maternity clothing are available on the market, they are often expensive and is differentiated by stages of pregnancy. In addition, after pregnancy, they become useless and the clothes can only be thrown away or donated. We wanted to offer maternity clothing that is an alternative and changes as a woman’s body does throughout her pregnancy. With our focus on sustainability, we will also produce our products with RPET material (recycled polyesters, plastics, and 100% organic cotton).
Pregnant women experience a variety of stresses which can include taking time off work and enduring physical and mental stresses. Our product seeks to relieve the stress for pregnant women by relieving some of the time they will spend on selecting clothing with the added bonus of not contributing to the waste crisis, thanks to our environmentally friendly sustainable material.
What are the next steps for Baby Bumps?
We hope to take our company further through this competition and start to create sample products for manufacturing and distribution. We will start by hiring a design specialist to create the blueprint of our product and find an experienced RPET material manufacturer to produce our samples. With the sample, we will conduct several modeling tests on various women in pregnancy to find the best sizing and tweak our design to its best.
We will promote online through our website, social media platforms, as well as online shopping websites like Depop or Etsy. This method allows us to cut down the cost and sell our maternity wear directly to customers. We are considering joining the Amazon Affiliates Program to kick start our business and attract attention on Amazon’s established platform. In our ads, we plan to feature different women of all sizes wearing our designs while living their best lives. We will give back to the community for its support by raising awareness about sustainability on common baby and maternity products through community classes and donating to Planned Parenthood and other local organizations that support the health of women.
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