I started La Belle Bump a few years ago to help women feel both confident and beautiful during pregnancy. During that time, I’ve learned a lot about market trends, consumer needs, and available products. I also started to understand the gaps in the maternity and nursing wear markets. That’s when I decided developing our own products could be a solution. Looking for an expert in design and fabric, I partnered with Brittany Garman, CEO of BashBLOK, who is also an Launchpad2X Class of 2015 graduate.

But, manufacturing and developing a product is new territory. I wanted to develop a product that was relatively simple, could break thru the noise and, frankly, be one size. That’s why we decided to start with the patent pending Mina & Vine Nursing Scarf. It’s the first and only nursing scarf that uses smart fabric to cool your body, magnetic fasteners for easy closure and stylish prints. But it’s not just for nursing! We specifically designed it so it can be worn as an accessory scarf at any stage of your life.

We’ve definitely learned a lot through this process. Here are some tips if you’re looking to expand in a market by developing a product:

  • Do your research.

  • I asked for feedback and sent surveys to La Belle Bump customers so I knew and understood gaps.

  • Determine if there is a market for your product. Again, do surveys and interviews.

  • Create a prototype and test, test, test. On paper it may sound like a great idea, but you don’t know until you have it in the hands of a real, potential customer.

  • Build in extra time. Things always take longer than you think.

  • Having a partner makes a world of difference! It’s been great to work with someone, be able to bounce off ideas and split the work, especially since I am still managing La Belle Bump.

  • Network, network, network. I cannot say enough how important this is. We found all our manufacturing partners from networking. Someone knew someone…. We would not have gotten an introduction or lead if we weren’t out there and talking to people.

Breaking out into a new space to address a market gap is exciting but can also be difficult. The above tips are what helped us develop this product and launch it on Kickstarter. Learn more about our campaign and the product at MinaAndVine.com.

Anita Rajendra (left) is the CEO of La Belle Bump, a fashion clothing subscription service for expectant mothers. Brittany Garman (right) is the CEO of BashBLOK, which offers party planning services. Both women were graduates of the Launchpad2X 2015 Cohort, and together they founded Mina and Vine. The Kickstarter campaign to fund Mina and Vine’s nursing scarf is open until September 14, 2018.

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