Grab yourself a glass of champagne and get ready to meet the gorgeous Alex from MammaBelle Maternity! I had the pleasure of meeting Alex (and her two mini-me’s) when she asked me to model for her recent photoshoot, and it’s safe to say I think she’s amazing!
I’m used to taking about 40 photos with a tripod, all alone or with Licorice (our puppy) present, so it was quite daunting to be in front of the camera for another brand… Especially in my gargantuan state! I’ve done many photoshoots for Ruby & Lilli, however usually behind the scenes watching the professionals do their thang! Thankfully Talia from Wylde Folk Studio put me straight at ease and Alex off to the side cracking jokes made sure my blue steel rarely came out (I’m also used to wearing sunglasses in all my photos!).
I’m very picky with quality of product and very quickly will determine whether something is worth the price tag attached to it. This is not something I ever took much notice of until I started my own label, but now quality over quantity is very important to me. The first things I noticed when trying on the MammaBelle Maternity dresses were how amazing the quality of the fabric and workmanship is. This is a dress that will see you through your entire pregnancy and breastfeeding journey and beyond! If you’ve just started on your baby making journey then stock up and you will wear these dresses for ALL your pregnancies, and because the prints are classic and timeless they definitely won’t date. Alex is teeny tiny and NOT pregnant and she rocked her dresses like nothing else, so don’t think you’ll have to give up wearing them after Bub comes!
So now grab yourself a glass of champagne and let’s get to know Alex & MammaBelle Maternity a bit better…
What was the inspiration for starting MammaBelle Maternity?
Like so many women, after becoming a mum, the thought of returning to the 9-5 grind of a ‘normal job’ was not appealing to me at all. I wanted to be at home with my kids and watch them grow and develop and be there for all of the little but incredibly special milestones.
BUT, I also yearned for my own creative project, something that would give me a sense of purpose and identity outside of being a mum, that would allow me to work to my unique strengths and abilities in a way that would light me up! And of course I wanted to contribute to my family financially and create financial freedom for myself.
My inspiration for MammaBelle came about after hearing so many women speak about how dissatisfied they were with maternity and breastfeeding clothing. They used words like ugly, frumpy, daggy and boring. One of my friends even confessed to me that she was considering NOT getting pregnant because she would have NOTHING to wear!
So in 2014, when my son was around 6 months old, I started my MammaBelle journey. It took me over a year of researching, learning, studying, designing, sampling, tweaking, second guessing, asking for feedback, more tweaking and more second guessing, before I was ready to launch my debut collection in August of 2015.
MammaBelle was born out of my own passion for fashion and need for a creative outlet, mixed with the desire to help mammas to-be to look and feel beautiful from the inside out and help them to celebrate themselves and honour themselves for the gorgeous women that they are.
Who IS Alex?
I would describe myself as creative, quick-witted, adventurous, curious, loyal, unconventional, brave and driven.
I love sitting in cute cafes contemplating life and coffee. I can’t get enough of Sex and the City re-runs. My guilty pleasure is whipped cream! I grew up in the Australian outback (in a town called Mt Isa) so I love when it rains. I love the sound that magpies make in the morning, it makes me stop and listen every time. I studied and lived in Japan during high school and university, so I have a love of all things Japanese – the people, the culture, the food, the language and the shopping! I love art and pretty pictures. I love to dance! My kids and I often have impromptu dance parties in our kitchen. Our fave song to dance to at the moment is ‘Can’t Stop the Feelin’ by Justin Timberlake.
What sets MammaBelle Maternity apart from other brands?
First and foremost, I try to always deliver amazing customer service. I love going above and beyond for my customers. Treating my customers like friends and making them feel special.
One thing about MammaBelle that I’m super proud of, is that I create all of my own fabric prints. This means that all of my fabrics are produced especially for my clothing label and are exclusive to my designs. This is why sometimes it might take me longer than normal to re-stock existing designs and release new designs as I work with my graphic designers and fabric printers. But it also means they are very unique and super gorgeous!
I always use REAL WOMEN with REAL BUMPS to model my designs. I would never use a model wearing a fake bump. I think this is unnatural, unrelatable and unrealistic for my customers. I want to celebrate all shapes and sizes and help women to feel beautiful and confident.
I’m also really proud of my website and the beautiful shopping experience that I provide my customers. When women come to my website I want them to feel like they’ve finally found the place they’ve been searching for. A beautiful online shop with beautiful images and products and loads of inspiration!
Which is your favourite print?
Fabulously Fancy Floral Print – I love that this print is like a work of art and the colours are amazing! I also love my edgy ‘Monochrome Mamma’ grid print.
What’s next for MammaBelle Maternity?
The release of my new website this week (Tuesday 18th July)! and my new offerings including my ‘Mamma and Me’ range of matching accessories for little ones, ‘Personalised Pregnancy Illustrations’ and a very cool ‘Baby Brain Milestones’ Card Deck! I’ll also be releasing some new floral prints and bringing back my best selling floral prints in time for Spring/Summer!
Tea or coffee?
Coffee in the morning! Herbal tea at night!
What is your Must have beauty product?
Dry shampoo, essential oils, fabulous mascara and a statement lippie like red or hot pink!
What do you do for self-care?
I am a huge advocate for self care and have been a self care junkie for a few years now. I do yoga a couple of mornings a week using an app on my phone, I do guided meditations at night as I go to sleep (not every night but I try at least a few times a week), I love Oprah and Deepak’s 21 Day meditation challenges. I love love love having essential oil baths by candle light with beautiful relaxing music playing, I take time out for myself and go and sit in a cute café once a week to journal, set goals and enjoy my own company. I read lots of books about spirituality and self improvement. At the moment I’m reading ‘White Hot Truth’ by Danielle Laporte. I also LOVE listening to podcasts that inspire and uplift me. My fave podcast that I listen to religiously is Amy Taylor-Kabbaz’s ‘The Happy Mama Movement’. So good!
How do you balance work and Mama life?
I run my business on my own and manage all aspects of my biz, while I also try to juggle motherhood and my duties as a stay at home mum. My daughter is at school five days a week and my son is with me every day, so I don’t have a lot of time to work on my biz, this has meant that I’ve had to accept that at this time, my business is a work in progress and I need to take an easy does it approach to ensure that I don’t burn out and become a stressed out mummy!
I used to push myself so hard to the point that I was so exhausted. I’m way more mindful these days of the need for balance and being ok with a slower pace.
Here are my top tips for balancing work and motherhood:
1) Listen to your body and understand your monthly cycle so that you know when to rest, pull back and slow down (without feeling guilty!) and when to amp it up without overdoing it!
2) Lower your expectations of yourself and be realistic about what you can actually achieve given where you are at right now.
3) Repeating mantras in times of stress or difficult times is so helpful for a mindset shift. My fave mantra at the moment is:
Have faith, be kind, have courage and keep moving forward, no matter how slowly. Even the smallest of steps count!
4) Allow yourself to be really present as a mum at least a few times a day, so that when you look back on your day you can feel really good about how you showed up for your kids. This helps so much with eliminating the mummy guilt at the end of the day!
What would your perfect day entail?
Being able to do all of the below in complete balance:
Spending time with my kids and loved ones – being totally present with them and full of joy, spending time on my own fully indulging in my own company and the peace that brings me, hanging out with my mummy friends laughing and chatting AND lastly being able to work creatively on my business doing what lights me up (which usually involves planning and creating something new and getting excited about a new idea or project).
I hope that you’ve loved getting to know Alex as much as I have! You can check out MammaBelle Maternity’s fab dresses, ‘Mamma and Me’ range of matching accessories for little ones, ‘Personalised Pregnancy Illustrations’ and ‘Baby Brain Milestones’ Card Deck here.