After struggling during two pregnancies to find maternity clothes and nursing tops which were fashionable and reasonably priced, Laura Gawthorpe decided to start her own business. Fashionably Pregnant sources maternity clothing direct from manufacturers, cutting out supply chain costs, and passing the savings on to expectant mothers.
A mum of two boys, Laura explained how she suffered with depression with each pregnancy. “Clothes play an important part in how people feel about themselves,” said Laura. “I know the impact looking nice can have on making a person feel good.”
There was a lightbulb moment when Laura realised the need for her business, she was attending a friend’s event. Laura explains: “There were two pregnant women. One of them looked absolutely gorgeous in a well-fitted maternity dress, she just looked beautiful. The other lady was constantly fiddling, rearranging her dress, it didn’t fit quite right. I really felt for her, because she should be able to afford to buy a lovely dress, not just make do, there’s no need for these dresses to be so expensive.”
Laura started trading as Fashionably Pregnant in October 2017, but it was not until September this year, when her youngest child also started going to school, that she was really able to ‘make the leap’ to devote her energy to the business.
Fashionably Pregnant currently trades online, though Laura has other plans in development for the new year. “I’ll be popping up at events with my own mini-boutique,” said Laura. “I’m in touch with a number of ‘pre-loved’ mother and baby sales event organisers, I have a mobile card payment machine, and I can pop up at any of these events, anywhere.”
Laura is a tenacious business woman and a passionate voice for pregnant women, she said: “I have a moral compass, I’m not just doing this to make a profit. I’m such a bargain-hunter, so good at haggling, that I’m getting a great deal on stock from manufacturers. In my opinion it seems so unfair that pregnant and nursing women have to pay over the odds to look and feel glamorous at a time they feel most vulnerable and insecure about their bodies. The majority of the stock I hold is being sold at the same time elsewhere for at least five times my prices.”
The festive season can be an anxious and frustrating time for pregnant women, struggling to find something to wear for family events or the office party. Laura advises: “Follow your heart, follow your natural style. The pregnant body is absolutely beautiful. It’s a time to shine. It’s a time to feel great about yourself. Embrace the shape that you’ve got. The clothing ranges we stock are tailored to beautify the bump. Use this opportunity to show-off your beautiful figure.”
[Jerome Whittingham for Laura Gawthorpe, Fashionably Pregnant]