Designer activewear is all the rage right now, but it's not exactly designed with the expectant mother in mind.
After returning to exercise following the birth of her first of three kids, Melita Shirley, co-founder of lactivewear brand Mammojo, found it impossible to source nursing friendly activewear.
"Traditional activewear was completely impractical for a nursing mother and a simple sanity-saving walk around the block could very quickly descend into a highly stressful situation," says Shirley.
It was at this point that Melita and husband Jonathan founded Mammojo.
Jonathan and Melita Shirley with their three kids (photo supplied)
Mammojo removes breastfeeding as a barrier to living an active and connected life through the development of practical, stylish and supporting nursing garments. The founders coined this garment-tech as lactivewear.
As finalists in Business News Australia's Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards 2018, the pair have well and truly proven themselves as dominating players on home turf, but now they've got their sights set on overseas markets.
The founders recently secured a coveted Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas Fund grant worth $100,000 that the couple plan to use on launching globally and scale internationally.
The boost has allowed the pair to travel to Germany where they presented their unique lactivewear at Kind + Jugend, the world's biggest maternity and baby expo in Cologne.
Business News Australia spoke to Melita about the trip to Germany, their strategy for international expansion, and what else is in Mammojo's pipeline.
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Tell me a bit about how you came to win this grant?
The Ignite Ideas grant supports Queensland startups to commercialise innovative ideas and help them grow and compete in a global market. The application process is highly competitive and independently assessed so we needed to demonstrate our capacity in a variety of different criteria including our ability to bring innovative products to market, that we have the technical skills and also the right mindsets to run a successful business. We were thrilled to have been chosen as one of the 70 successful applications in the latest round of funding.
How will it help you go global? What's your strategy?
The Ignite Ideas grant will enable us the funding required to showcase our range on a number of global stages including some of the pre-eminent maternity and nursing related trade shows around the world. It will allow us to expand our international distribution network and to conduct important market research into international markets.
Which countries are you going to target?
We are currently targeting European countries with high breastfeeding rates. We've also had interest from a number of Asian countries.
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Do you have any new products in mind to coincide with the launch internationally?
We used the Kind + Jugend trade show in Cologne to officially launch our next season range which will be available in March 2019. Next season we will unveil our first dedicated maternity and nursing friendly range including tanks, long sleeved tops and also maternity tights.
How has the expo in Germany been? Have you found it helpful to be part of the community there? How has your range been received over there?
The Expo in Cologne was such a fantastic experience for us. We had the chance to expand our network exponentially and felt very privileged to have met so many other amazing brands, including some wonderful Australian brands who are really making their mark globally. There was a real sense of community amongst the exhibitors and people really want to help each other succeed. We had fantastic feedback on our products and the quality of our garments with a number of visitors suggesting they hadn't seen anything like our range in Europe or Asia. We've got a lot of follow up work to do but it's a really exciting time for us.
Business News Australia
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