Celebrity moms like Cindy Crawford and Kelly Ripa aren't the only ones who know that muumuu-style maternity clothes are so last century. Today, pregnant women are all about celebrating their style and looking sexy. From high-end maternity designers like Liz Lange and A Pea in the Pod to midpriced maternitywear newcomers The Gap and Old Navy, clothing designers are on to the potential of this growing market. With more than 4 million babies born annually, it's easy to see why the maternity clothing market is buzzing.
Peg Moline, editor in chief of Shape's Fit Pregnancy magazine, has seen a boom in sexy and hip maternity clothing as well as in athletic maternitywear. And with more pregnant women on the job, maternitywear has to provide workplace comfort and style. "[Clothes] have to be really comfortable, really sharp-looking and also very hip," says Moline.
Enter LSR Maternity. Specializing in lingerie, LSR founder Laura S. Rudolph describes her products as the "Victoria's Secret of maternitywear." Founded in 1996, Aurora, Colorado-based LSR was born out of Rudolph's frustration with the dearth of sexy, well-made and affordable maternity fashions on the market. Rudolph filled the void with lingerie the average woman could afford. "It's not about income levels and social status," says Rudolph, 36. "It's about who wants to feel beautiful and sexy during pregnancy." Rudolph's prices range from $48 to $84, and she plans to release a lower-priced line through her online store and specialty boutiques nationwide.
Need more proof this market is worth a look? LSR Maternity's revenues have increased 300 percent over the past six months, and Rudolph is projecting sales of up to half a million dollars in 2002. -Nichole L. Torres