My journey to becoming a mom entrepreneur starts more than six years ago, and looking back, it’s easier to see the pieces fitting together: at the end of 2013 I was expecting the birth of my first daughter. She arrived via an emergency C-section a few days before Christmas. Throughout my pregnancy I had had complications with circulation, and we had been concerned that my daughter might have a potential heart defect, requiring extra scans. When it came time for the 20+ hour labor, her heart rate was jumping up and down, I was having complications, and we decided it would be safer for her to be delivered via c-section.
Now, I never thought motherhood would be a walk in the park, but I definitely underestimated the postpartum recovery period. Nevermind the anxiety and emotional intensity of the pregnancy and birthing process; I was sore, swollen, and dealing with discharge. To ease the physical aftereffects, the hospital gave me disposable mesh underwear to use during recovery. Now, if you’re not familiar with these magical mesh undies, they are super stretchy, sit above your incision area, and don’t have an elastic waistband (thus not putting pressure on your swollen midsection). I loved these underwear. They provided me with comfort and relief. The hospital sent me home with some extra pairs and when I eventually ran out, my mom went searching for more on my behalf, but came up empty handed. Instead, I ended up wearing oversized granny panties and had to cut their elastic waistbands to avoid a compression on my belly. Little did I know that many women try to steal extra pairs of underwear before leaving the hospital, as it is an open secret that stores do not carry this much-needed product.
So, it’s 2013 and this is what women were going through trying to recover from having a baby – having to cut underwear because they didn’t fit right after having a baby. I became angry, and I kept thinking to myself, “This is not ok. Women deserve to have the products they need for postpartum recovery!” The thought quickly passed, however, because I had to care for my newborn at home.
I eventually went back to work at my corporate job in pharmaceutical manufacturing, but my anger persisted. I started to wonder: What would it look like to bring the hospital’s custom underwear to market? How many women could I help? And on a broader scale, what other products were missing from our economy that were necessities for women? And (famous last words), how hard could it be to change this situation? I can now confirm: definitely challenging, but also incredibly rewarding.
Time went by and I eventually decided to try to find a manufacturer and see what it would take to get mesh underwear to the masses. I worked on it with small pockets of time at night and on weekends. There was no “aha!” moment when I figured out how to do this with ease. I actually forgot about it for a while after the first pregnancy, and a part of me accepted that I would simply tell my next friend when they got pregnant to steal mesh underwear from the hospital; it seemed simpler than creating an entire line of underwear on my own.
But there were just little signs here and there.I’d make progress and get some samples and the months would go by before I took my next step. I had my corporate job and a baby at home to keep me busy, but I continued to feel strongly that if I did not work to solve this problem, nothing would ever change. As things stood, postpartum moms were not valued or of concern in our society; clothing, down to underwear, was simply not made for them. We were being asked, as mothers in the throw of tremendous life transitions, to make the existing, uncomfortable reality conform to our needs. Once women gave birth, they were manufacturing’s, and society’s, afterthought.
Eventually, I found a supplier, put together some packaging, worked on importing the product, DIY’d my website, and a whole lot more. In 2017, I launched Brief Transitions, the first company to produce mesh panties for women back from the hospital.
While I was building Brief Transitions, working full time (in a role that required international travel) and having kids at home (at this point I had a second child) – I wondered if I was alone in juggling all of these different parts of life. I wanted to know if there were other mom entrepreneurs out there – other women out there building businesses, raising families, and potentially still working at a corporate job. I wanted support and encouragement from other women that I could relate to.
In the summer of 2017, I hosted a local meetup to meet other mom entrepreneurs. 13 women showed up, women who were all building businesses, raising families, and looking for community. That meetup turned into monthly meetups and a facebook group with hundreds of members, and out of this grew another passion of mine: connecting women, supporting them in their journey, and showing everyone how much more powerful we are when we support each other and stick together. And so, I created The Transitions Collective to provide women building businesses with accountability, resources and community as well as to help them navigate change.
As I continued to follow my passions, I began to rethink my career in the corporate world. I eventually switched to part time consulting and life became much more manageable and fulfilling. I could set my hours, I wasn’t traveling all the time and I walked my girls to school every day. I used consulting as a ‘bridge’ to close the gap between my corporate salary and Brief Transitions. That work supported me until I was able to leave the corporate world for good to pursue my other businesses full time
Life is full of transitions – big ones and small ones and while change can be hard, we can support each other through it.
I want to be clear: Anyone could have made a business selling mesh underwear. But I was the one to do it, because of my life experience, expertise and my determination to support future mothers. Ladies: what challenges or problems do you encounter every day that you would LOVE to see a solution for? Write to me and let’s see how you can make it happen!
The Transitions Collective provides accountability, resources and community for you and your business. Learn more about The Transitions Collective Membership Community here. Check out our additional business resources here.