1) How has working in fashion and creating a business and brand been different from your previous jobs? What has been your biggest surprise?
A world of difference!! I love every single aspect of running a brand and creating clothing to help mothers. The creative process is wonderful and fulfilling, something that was lacking in my banking job. I feel like I’m finally using every part of my brain and living up to my potential.
Silvia, my co-founder, was a fashion journalist (she still writes as a freelancer) before starting our company. Although she was already in the fashion world, writing about fashion and making clothes are entirely different! She now appreciates all the hard work behind the scenes when producing a collection.
The biggest surprise for both of us has been how hard and stressful it is to start a new business. If you’re not truly passionate and don't absolutely love what you are doing, there is no way you can grow a business.
2) How has Teat&Cosset evolved since you launched the brand in 2016? What has been the biggest lesson so far?
The vision and mission are the same, to create beautiful and well made clothing to help mothers look great and breastfeed easily. However, we realized after our first collection that most of our styles also worked through pregnancy, so now we have that in mind when we design our collections. We want women to buy things they can wear for longer than a couple of trimesters!
Biggest lesson? We've learned to be patient. We both assumed when we launched we'd have tons of orders and that people would know about us immediately. That definitely wasn't the case. It takes time to grow a brand, plus persistence, patience and passion!
3) What makes Teat & Cosset unique from other maternity and nursing wear?
You can often spot maternity clothing from a mile away- stretchy jersey styles that have an empire waist. A lot of maternity clothing is bad quality, made to last for only a few months and not as thoughtfully designed as it could be .
That is where we differ. We pride ourselves on making clothing that lasts beyond pregnancy and breastfeeding and that doesn’t telegraph maternity or nursing wear.
We also try to use natural fibers like cotton, cashmere, wool and silk when possible because of their natural and hygienic qualities. Polyester tops are not our thing, especially because pregnant women experience hormone fluctuations and can emit odors when wearing synthetic tops and dresses.
4) The clothes are made in Italy. Is that important to you and why?
Our entire collection is made in Tuscany, Italy. It’s important to us for two reasons. Italy has a long heritage of excellent craftsmanship, especially in fashion. Also, Silvia and I live in Tuscany and we work very closely with our manufacturers to ensure that everything is well made and up to our standards.
We only work with small family run manufacturers where we know the employees work in good conditions. It’s nice to know that the people making your clothes are paid fairly and treated well.
5) What is Teat & Cosset’s philosophy in regards to pregnant and nursing moms?
Part of our mission is to help moms feel like themselves again. From personal experience we realized how having a child can dramatically change your life, at least temporarily. It profoundly changes how we feel about our own identity. I remember feeling like I had lost a bit of who I was when I had my daughter Dafne and Silvia went through the same thing after her daughter Clotilde was born 6 months ago.
The word “Cosset” is in our brand name because it means “pamper.” We aim to pamper mothers with our clothing because what we wear can have a huge impact on how we feel. We also believe mothers should pamper themselves to maintain their mental & physical health and wellness. We often put ourselves second to our babies and that shouldn't be the case.
6) How do you balance being a mom and a CEO?
It's hard! I don’t think there is ever a perfect balance. I wish I could spend more time on my business, and I also wish I could spend more time with my daughter and husband. I’ve come to realize that time is a precious commodity. I’ve been better about planning my schedule, trying to avoid unnecessary time consuming things that will take me away from my family and running my brand.
7) When starting a new collection, where do you begin?
We start brainstorming about what a mom needs for that season. We think about the staples, the go-to pieces that should be in her closet. We ask ourselves about the styles that will make her mornings easier. Then we narrow it down to 5-7 essentials and have a call with our fashion design consultant. We love fashion but decided it is best to have a professional design the pieces in order to have a coherent collection that develops from season to season.
However, Silvia and I are 100% involved in the design process. We describe exactly what we imagine for each piece. Styles that our designer crafted may look amazing in an illustration, but on a mom whose body is undergoing changes, might not be as flattering. That considered, we often make many changes to a piece throughout the design process.
8) What can we expect from the new collection?
You can expect pieces that are super versatile, feminine and modern. Our color palette is a beautiful mix of pinks, blues and classic neutrals like white, black and grey.
From our personal experience as busy moms we gravitate towards dresses in the spring and summer months. It's so much easier to not worry about a bottom. So you'll see more dresses.
Our cashmere Rachele poncho is back in dusty pink. This piece is perfect for in between seasons- throw it over anything and instantly look chic during morning and evening fluctuating temperatures.
We also redesigned our best selling Gemma sweatshirt for a lighter fresher feel. We used a lightweight cotton and colors are heather grey, white and a beautiful pink/beige.
One of our personal favorites for spring is our Anita striped bell-sleeved top. I love stripes and felt like we needed at least one striped top in our collection. It is a classic staple and the bell sleeve adds an elevated design element. More stripes to come in FW18.
9) How do you stay up to date with the latest fashion trends while embracing the needs of maternity and nursing wear?
Teat & Cosset's style leans heavily on classic staples, pieces that a mom can wear forever. However we'd like to keep it current and fresh, so we try to incorporate trends we think have staying power. For example, in our SS18 collection you’ll see some ruffle and some bell sleeve. We want to have one or two current style elements per collection and plan on developing these elements further for our upcoming collections.
10) Is it challenging to create styles that adapt to both pregnancy and nursing moms?
Very challenging because we try to be thoughtful during our design process. We don’t want to make pieces that fit like tents and we certainly don't want to solely use stretch jersey or ruching that will stretch to accommodate any size. You have no idea how many changes are made during the sample making process.
We've discovered techniques that help us make styles that are both bump and nursing friendly without looking it. We often hear from women who aren't pregnant or nursing that they would wear our pieces! That is the whole point for us, making things that any woman would love to wear, regardless of whether she is pregnant or breastfeeding.
11) How do you hope women feel in your clothing?
We hope a mom feels put together, confident and beautiful in our collection. We often get feedback that our moms feel chic in our styles, which is a huge complement. And by confidence I also mean confident when breastfeeding. We hope nursing moms feel confident to breastfeed anywhere in our styles.
12) Do you have any pieces that are must haves for pregnant and nursing moms from this collection? Any favorite pieces?
Two must haves for pregnant and nursing moms are our Carlotta and Clo dresses. Both are so versatile and can take you from work to the weekend by changing your accessories (shoes/bag, etc.) They fit during all three trimesters but do not look huge when you’re nursing and not pregnant anymore. We added a tie in the back to the Carlotta so you can adjust the waist based on the look you want to achieve. The Clo shirtdress is a staple and has some extra pretty gathering in the back that expands if you have a belly.
Both have hidden zippers in the front for when you’re ready to nurse and want to be discreet. Otherwise just undo the buttons or snaps. We liked the benefit of dual functionality so moms can have a choice on how discreet they want to be.
13) What is the one piece of advice you have for pregnant and nursing moms on how to dress throughout their changing bodies?
Wear clothing that makes you feel good. How positive we feel really makes a difference when we’re growing a tiny human inside us. It may sound superficial but clothing makes a big difference in our day. How often do you wear your favorite dress or top and just have a great day? You greet everyone confidently and with a smile. Even while breastfeeding and taking care of a newborn, it is essential that a mom feels good about herself. Making the extra effort when getting ready in the morning is worth it.
Get ready for our SS18 which will be ready for preorder on March 5th!
Teat & Cosset