Los Angeles Business Journal,
Monday, July 17, 2006
By Victoria Degtyareva: Staff Reporter
Call this one expected.
In a town where expectant mothers don't think twice about spending hundreds of dollars on premium maternity jeans, and newly born tots sport $40 T-shirts, businesses that cater to nursing moms are popping up.
The Pump Station, which opened its doors in Santa Monica more than 20 years ago, has seen demand for its high-end breast feeding products soar so much that it has opened a second location in Hollywood.
Nursing accessory companies are also taking off: L'ovedbaby LLC has launched in Woodland Hills and 1 in the Oven Inc. in Beverly Hills.
"When only a small percentage of women were nursing, no one cared," said Corky Harvey, co-founder of Pump Station. "As the number of women who breastfeed is rising, people are beginning to realize that this is an untapped market with potential for profit."
The store, which also organizes lactation consulting and nursing support groups, sells such items as a $38 hands-free pumping bra, $26 More Milk Plus Vegetarian Capsules and specialized nursing robes.
Sharon Oved, a mother of three, founded L'ovedbaby two years ago. After learning that nursing may reduce the risk of breast cancer, Oved planned to breastfeed her children but was discouraged by the difficulties of doing so in public. She discovered that many women, especially those who are working, faced the same problem and had to either supplement nursing with formula or stop altogether.
To allow moms to breastfeed discreetly, Oved developed the Nursing Shawl, a stylish product that can be slipped over clothing. The shawl can also be easily transformed into a stroller canopy, a mini diaper bag, or pregnancy poncho. L'ovedbaby products are sold in 200 shops in the U.S. and abroad.
Sisters Gabrielle Docktor and Nicole Eigen are also taking advantage of the growing demand for nursing fashion. Last year, the two co-founded 1 in the Oven to combine fashion and function in maternity and nursing wear.
Their contribution to the world of breastfeeding is the nursing henley a button-shirt with a built in nursing bra. Their products are sold in 100 stores in the U.S., Australia, Indonesia and Japan.
"Fashionable moms who like to spend a lot of money on clothes want to look cute, not frumpy," Docktor said.