spotted! Anita Rajendra of La Belle Bump
from what i hear, becoming a mom is an amazing experience. you get to bring a precious little life into the world and shower it with love. it's all smiles from the outside, but to me, the idea of my body ever changing that drastically is terrifying. and frankly, shopping for maternity wear sounds utterly daunting.
enter Anita Rajendra and her maternity wear subscription service, La Belle Bump; a pregnant woman's super hero. she's a mommy of three with a background in marketing. after having worked at The Coca-Cola Company for 8 years she quit her day job to start La Belle Bump.
i found out about Anita and La Belle Bump while a friend and i were sipping coffee one morning. when he told me about Anita, i couldn't get over the brilliance of the concept.
the best way for me to describe La Belle Bump is like like this - imagine rent-the-runway meets maternity, with the added bonus of getting to keep the clothes longer. soon-to-be mommies can choose whether they're looking for one glam outfit, perfect for the holiday parties ladies. or if they prefer, a couple of everyday pieces, like sweaters, leggings or dresses. not only are the clothes soft and wearable, they're trendy and flattering. that precious bump will be completely on fleek.
not only do i love Anita's whit, but her back story made me admire her even more. she shares how she started, what's been her biggest challenge and where she hopes to go in the article below.
of La Belle Bump
1. love how the “about” section on La Belle Bump’s website includes your transition from Coca-Cola Marketing Maven to total #GirlBoss of La Belle Bump. What was the final straw to push you to leave corporate life and take the plunge to start your own business?
I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship. For as long as I can remember, I would say that one day I would have my own business. When I started working at Coca-Cola, I planned to be there for 5 years and then move to a smaller company so I could learn about entrepreneurship. I ended up staying at Coca-Cola for 8 years. So, I was definitely ready for a change and realized I had to either take action or stop talking about my dream of having my own business. I decided to take action.
2. The process of renting maternity wear is truly brilliant and better yet, your pieces are not only comfortable, but also chic. How are La Belle Bump collection brands and items chosen?
I understand and know the challenges of buying maternity clothing. You want to look good but don’t want to spend a lot of money; you want variety of clothes but again, don’t want to spend a lot of money. Many pregnant women, myself included, buy cheaper, lesser quality maternity clothes and wear them over and over again. Not feeling like ourselves. So, it was important to me to select high quality, beautiful clothes. I want women to look and feel fabulous during their pregnancy. There is no need to sacrifice style. That’s what I think about when selecting clothes- will a woman feel good in a certain outfit. We carry some great brands like Maternal America, Olian, Ripe, Lilac, Seraphine, and Jojo Maman Bebe. It’s also important to me to be able to provide clothes for a variety of occasions ie work, lounge, formal etc.
3. Once all the pieces are curated, is the subscriber able to select what arrives in their monthly box or is it a complete surprise?
Right now, it’s a complete surprise. It’s like a gift the mom-to-be can receive regularly. If something doesn’t fit correctly, she can exchange it for something else. In fact, she can exchange any number of items as many times as she wants. So, it’s truly unlimited clothes during the rental period.
4. What is your favorite piece for this month? What seems to be the most popular piece among your subscribers?
People are definitely loving the more fitted and sophisticated items to show off the baby bump which I love! Also, women are liking clothes that have color. I particularly like a soft top from Maternal America; it’s a powder blue top with side ruched details and extra long sleeves that can be worn cuffed, scrunched up or pulled over the hands. The cuffs are a heather grey color. It’s a simple top yet sophisticated and can be dressed up or down. We’ve gotten many compliments on it; subscribers have enjoyed wearing it.
5. As a mom of 3, how do you manage to maintain a healthy work-life balance?
Lol. It can be a challenge but, for me, it’s about being disciplined and focused – When I’m working, focus on work and when I’m with my kids, focus on them. I won’t lie; that can be difficult if there’s a deadline but I’m trying to build in some boundaries and adhere to them. Also, I have to say that having my own business does provide me more flexibility and that helps me stay involved with my kids’ lives at school. For instance, I can go to their class for a holiday party in the middle of the day. They really love that.
6. What 3 things can you not leave home without?
- Phone. I have everything on there! I seriously could not get by without it. My phone has all my events, reminders, to do lists, notes, articles, etc.
- Lipstick. It’s something little but it makes me feel good.
- Snack. I’m trying to make the most of my time whatever I’m doing which means I end up running from one place to another so I try to keep a protein bar or some small snack in my purse.
7. What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced while pursuing your business dreams?
It was building the website initially. I was doing everything myself and since I’m not a developer, it wasn’t easy. There are many components that as consumers we don’t necessarily think about. For instance, as the entrepreneur, I had to think about website maintenance, trigger emails, Search tags, payment processing etc. I was fortunate to find a great platform that I could utilize but, of course, it didn’t have everything I wanted or needed. It was like fitting a square peg into a round hole. But it turned out well and I have received many compliments on the website. I now have technical help which is great and we’ve made improvements and changes and will continue to do so.
8. What is the best piece of advice you have received? What advice would you give to someone else looking to follow their dream?
Don’t wait for perfection. I’m a perfectionist and can always tweak things but as an entrepreneur, you can’t wait for something to be 100% perfect; you have to make decisions and move. You can always iterate on something later.
Advice I would give to others is to network. Networking is so important and key. I have gotten help, tips, advice from so many people that I met via networking that have saved me money, time, and effort. Meet and surround yourself with other entrepreneurs at different stages; you never know when you’ll get a nugget of information that will help you.
9. Do you foresee La Belle Bump expanding from only clothing into accessories, such a jewelry, in the future?
I’m focusing on clothes for now but have considered accessories so maybe in the future….Stay tuned!
10. Where do you see La Belle Bump in 3 years? What is your biggest goal for the upcoming year?
Biggest goal for 2016 is to get as many customers as possible! Launching a business and getting through all the noise can be difficult so I’m trying to stay focused on connecting with the right people – pregnant women.
In 3 years, I’d like La Belle Bump to be a successful company with a team of people working to help pregnant women look and feel fabulous. And perhaps we’re thinking about an extension to the business…