In 2008, Courtney Micatrotto was teaching Cleveland moms pre- and post-natal fitness when she noticed a problem - her pregnant participants were frustrated with the lack of truly comfortable maternity wear options. When the issue started to affect attendance, Micatrotto knew it was time to take action, and a new business was born.
Well, not right away: Seven years after generating the idea, Micatrotto is now launching boobs & belly
, a Cleveland-based activewear company designed to keep its child-bearing clientele both active and comfortable throughout pregnancy.
Boobs & belly offers a line of tank tops, pants and bandeaus that Micatrotto says blend high-end fashion and functionality. Made to fit moms through pregnancy and into motherhood, each locally manufactured piece boasts moisture wicking and shape retention capabilities.
For example, the "ultimate tank" has expandable side panels and adjustable straps, while a capri waist band sewn into the pant allows for higher-impact activities as well as support for a growing belly. With maternity activewear being such a niche market, creating a line that combines functionality, versatility and style gives the startup a unique flair, its founder says.
"I want moms to be motivated to work out and feel good about how they look," says Micatrotto, a licensed trainer and Pilates instructor. "Pregnant women do Crossfit and run marathons, so you can't limit what your line's going to be."
As a mother of three, Micatrotto bills boobs & belly as a venture made for moms, by a mom. Navigating the textile industry as a novice was no simple task, however. The Aurora resident's search for a manufacturing partner took her to New York, Florida and Michigan. She eventually found both a pattern maker and manufacturer in Cleveland, a pair of discoveries that fill her with hometown pride.
"To work with my pattern maker and manufacturer face to face has been incredible," says Micatrotto, who also received much-needed branding and business advice from her siblings, Candace Moore and Bobby Kingsbury. "Having labels that say 'manufactured in Cleveland' is a pretty cool thing."
Micatrotto's inventory of 35 tanks, 50 pants and 60 bandeaus is currently available on her website. The newbie entrepreneur has been hosting trunk shows on her Facebook page
, and recently had a showing at the Womb Wellness Center
in Solon. Plans for a winter pregnancy self-care event, meanwhile, include a showcase of boobs & belly clothing.
Initial product runs will be smaller, but Micatrotto expects those to pick up as word of the business spreads. Among her fans is Meghan King Edmonds
, otherwise known as a "Real Housewife of The OC."
For now, Micatrotto is excited to sell Cleveland-made maternity clothes that "make women feel beautiful at every stage."
"Everyone who's put on the outfit has been extremely happy," Micatrotto says. "As long as I do my job spreading the word and getting moms interested, the company can do really well."