We stumbled upon Madri Collection late one evening, while seven months pregnant and unable to sleep. We were blown away by how effortless and chic these women looked while nursing their babes, their wardrobe an extension of a personal style that didn’t go awry with pregnancy. As the late night instagram rabbit hole continued, we learned that Madri was a new ready-to-mother line out of NYC started by two mothers (and besties for twenty years) who are looking to change the course of style (and action) for breastfeeding women on the go.
1) Your first collection is stunning. The clothes and ethos behind them are simple and intuitive, yet groundbreaking at the same time. Can you talk to us a little about how your came up with the idea to create Madri, a nursing-friendly line and why it is so important?
Madri Collection was born out of our frustration with the lack of options for clothes that were both easy to nurse in, high quality and that actually made us feel great about ourselves and our new postpartum bodies. The majority of what is on the market (tank tops or otherwise) say to women “you should be staying home while nursing.” This is exactly what Madri is not. We want women to be able to go where they want, when they want and still feel great about nursing in any situation necessary.
Danielle and I gave birth to our daughters 5 weeks apart, and we shared many late night text messages (while nursing of course) that eventually lead us to the idea to start Madri. We started making clothes and tested out the designs on ourselves, refining what we thought would be most functional, comfortable, and effortless. It is truly an idea born out of our own necessity and something neither of us could have realized before we were actually nursing. Before you are nursing, you think, oh a button down could work just fine — and then you realize that a button down not only may make you feel more exposed while nursing publicly, but also it is really hard to unbutton a shirt with one hand when you are holding a fussy baby with the other hand!
Madri is so important to us because we want women to feel supported in every aspect of their nursing journey. There is so much misinformation out there about breastfeeding and in general, women in the US are woefully unsupported in the process from the very beginning.
In 2016, for example, 81% of newborn infants started to breastfeed, yet by 6 months only
51% were still breastfeeding and only
30% at 12 months. The World Health Organization recommends nursing infants for at least 2 years and worldwide this is very common. We want American women to know that they can breastfeed successfully but they need to have the correct support, from their families, their employers and their medical providers and currently that isn’t widely available in this country. We hope that Madri allows women to feel empowered in how they feel and how they look while breastfeeding. Mothers of newborns have so many things to worry about as it is, and we hope Madri can ease one aspect of new motherhood.
2) What are some of the design elements and techniques you’ve used to ensure the ease of breastfeeding?
We have three basic design elements that we’ve used to ease the nursing process in our Fall/Winter Collection. Our crossover tops, sweaters and jumpsuits, are all a simple crossover design that allow you to nurse as discreetly as you would like by simply lifting the flat on each side. Our work shirt and tunic tops have two invisible zippers, hidden behind a pleat on each side of the chest, which zip from the bottom up, allowing you to control how much you would like to reveal while nursing. Our Panel Top which is new for Fall is a double layer top; the bottom layer is a tank top with holes cut out for access to your breasts (think Mean Girls!); the top layer has slits up the sides which you can easily lift to nurse in.
3) Before starting Madri, were either of you in the fashion business already or is this a wholly new adventure for you?
Before Madri, neither of us were in the fashion industry. Danielle’s background is in interior design and mine (Ashley’s) is in theater producing. We’ve learned a lot in the 5 months since we have launched and are still learning every day! We are our own customers and know what we want to wear while nursing, hoping other nursing moms feel the same.
4) From starting motherhood together to starting a business, you two seem to do everything together! What are some tips for women to support each other through the challenges of starting a business or a bigger project like motherhood?
We have done everything together for 20 years! We have been best friends since middle school and are thrilled to be working together on Madri. Women can support each other in so many ways and we have found such a welcoming community of like-minded startups working to ease the pain points of breastfeeding in the US. Motherhood looks differently for everyone and the best way women can support each other is to listen to one another. Matrescence is the greatest shift a women will go through since adolescence. It can be filled with questions, insecurities, and unfamiliar changes in your body and mind. The more we talk about these things, the less mystery there will be around them.
5) What is your #1 go-to piece from your first collection and what are you most excited about in the Fall collection?
We love our jumpsuits! Danielle and I have always been jumpsuit fans, and finding a jumpsuit to nurse comfortably in was impossible for us. For Fall, we made a version of the jumpsuit with longer sleeves.
6) What are 3 things you don’t leave the house without (besides keys, wallet, cell phone of course!)?
Diaper bag (if with the kids!), water bottle, lip balm
7) What’s next for Madri?
We launched the company 5 months ago so we are very much in the early stage! We will continue to design clothes for breastfeeding moms on a seasonal basis. We have learned a lot from our customer feedback with our first collection and will continue to refine our designs, and innovate new designs to make nursing in public easier for mothers everywhere.