Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Mom delivers easy-to-wear undies for pregnant women
Felisha Crier Hosein never thought she’d become a businesswoman. She also never thought that having a difficult pregnancy would be the impetus for that business. Hosein, 32, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for her PregZen line of maternity underwear.
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding Web site for creative projects. Crowdfunding is the concept of using the Internet to raise money and support for independent projects from filmmaking to publishing.
Hosein has until September 17 to raise US$20,000 for the first run of production of her underwear line.
PregZen maternity underwear is a niche line of underwear made for women who have difficulty getting dressed while pregnant because of sciatic nerve pains or unusually heavy bellies.
The idea for the project came to Hosein about three years ago during her first pregnancy.
“I had a hard time getting dressed and a difficult time bending down to do simple things because I was carrying low,” she said during an interview. After talking to friends and other pregnant women Hosein realised she was not the only one with that problem. This is when she went in search of underwear that was adjustable and didn’t require bending to put on.
The Trini-Canadian, who now lives in Florida, searched in numerous maternity stores in the Miami area as well as online shopping sites but found nothing like what she had in mind. This is when PregZen was born. During a chance meeting while walking along South Beach, Hosein met the parents of another young woman who had conceptualised a baby product that Hosein actually used at the time. After speaking to them about the process of patenting and starting up a business, Hosein became inspired to do something similar.
After contacting a patent lawyer and receiving a small business grant from her mother’s first nation community in Canada, Hosein was able to produce a sample product and attend numerous trade shows. She’s now been contacted by a few magazines and a home shopping show that would like to feature the product.
Business with a purpose
Although there have been many challenges to getting her business off the ground, Hosein has been determined in her effort. One challenge to production was localising the manufacturing. Hosein was adamant about not using cheap Chinese manufacturing companies even though that option was cheaper. I feel like you need to invest in wherever you are so I tried to keep it as local as possible. In the same way that I try to support small businesses and farmers' markets wherever I live," she said.
Hosein eventually found a Florida-based family-owned business to make the prototype and only one of the materials used is imported. However, getting to this point was difficult as some manufacturers charged as much as US$7000 per sample. There have also been personal difficulties for Hosein.
"It's also been a challenge personally because I have to constantly rely on others to support the project and I've had to overcome my fears of publicity and asking for help. I also have to overcome that fear in the back of my head saying, 'what if it doesn't work out?"
To stay grounded, Hosein read inspirational stories about women whose home businesses have grown to much larger enterprises. According to Hosein, there is a growing trend of women starting home businesses in the US and she is happy to be a part of it. "It doesn't happen overnight though and there is a lot of work that goes into it. For me, I now have two children with different schedules and I have to squeeze in work an hour at a time. I keep going though because I can't let my fears get the best of me and I want to encourage other women to go ahead and go after their dreams," she said.
PregZen maternity underwear are made with adjustable hooks to “grow” with women during their pregnancy. The underwear can be put on while standing, sitting or lying down. The underwear is also made with a reinforced band for stomach and back support. PregZen can also be worn in the initial months after pregnancy.
To find out more about PregZen, visit: felishacrier.me
You can also visit Hosein's Facebook page: www.facebook.com
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