People 14 August 2018
We have all heard the real estate agent's mantra: location, location, location! Well, the same is true for how Belly Bandit made its Hollywood debut. We were in the right place! But, the real story begins in Michigan, cold, snowy, where's the sun? – Michigan. While my two sisters and I loved growing up there and still rock our “Made in Detroit" gear, we were ready to move and SoCal was calling us. So, we said goodbye to winter coats and hello to the LA lifestyle. And, that's where Belly Bandit was born!
Yes, I got married, started a promotional product business with my sister, and then got pregnant. Sounds like quite the fairy tale, right? Well, no. My pregnancy wasn't easy (I gained over 60lbs) and post-pregnancy was even worse. While, lil Charlee was perfect, I just didn't feel like myself. I received a lot of emotional support from my husband and sisters but what I craved was support for my body. I needed a confidence boost. I wanted to feel like myself again. And that's when it happened. My sisters and I began researching the ancient practice of postpartum belly binding, and consulting with doctors about a safe way to modernize the age-old post-pregnancy support band. Lots of hard work, perseverance and sisterly support resulted in the creation of the first Belly Bandit Belly Wrap…
Cue pregnancy number two! A little easier than my first and this time, after Chase made his grand entrance, I was “wrapped and ready!" I wore the Belly Wrap immediately postpartum and continued to wear it as I slowly began post-pregnancy workouts. And that's where “location" came into play, big time. My gym was home to a few of what we call, “trainers to the stars." Yes, in Los Angeles, that's a thing. And they not only took notice of the Wrap but also were quick to share it with their post-pregnant clients…you may have heard of them, Jessica Alba and Halle Berry!
Are you kidding? We were thrilled. And when the call came that they wanted even more sizes, we were ecstatic. Our Wrap was in the hands of A-listers and Hollywood came calling. Before we knew it we had managers and agents asking for “ belly busters" for their clients. Our red carpet moment had arrived!
And it didn't stop there. Kourtney Kardashian was pregnant and wanted what she had heard helped other women in the industry – but more than that she wanted her own. So together with Kourtney we created the Limited Edition Kourtney Wrap, and the Kardashian name worked its magic. What we learned from our experience with Kourtney is that women, no matter what they do, celebrity or not, want the same thing - products they can trust, that make them feel good about themselves. So we began working on our next big idea, The Mother Tucker Shapewear Collection.
It's funny but Mother Tucker also had its roots in Michigan, as it was our Mother's idea! She wanted “smarter shapewear" that she could comfortably wear without awkward tugging and adjusting. And really, what woman wants shapewear that rolls, pinches and pulls, not us, and apparently not our celeb fans.
I was just walking out of a boxing class when my phone started blowing up with text and phone calls, “Turn on Jay Leno!" Huh? “Christina Applegate is talking to Jay Leno about your Mother Tucker Tank!!!" What?! Yes, new mom Christina was quick to tell Jay just how much she appreciated her Mother Tuckin' shapewear…. and we were in awe. Our sales surged and then came more…
We started hearing from assistants, product placements agents and hair and wardrobe stylists:
“Can you send Jessica Simpson some Mother Tucker Tanks for a People Magazine photo shoot?"
“Christian Aguilera is singing the National Anthem and needs the Mother Tucker Leggings!"
“Ugly Betty is requesting shapewear for the female cast members, can you help?"
Yes, yes and yes.
And more…stylists stopped by the office to pick up products for there “not to be named," clients and all said the same thing; they needed Belly Bandits, Mother Tuckers and more. As our brand grew so did our celebrity reach.
We signed non-disclosures, we secretly celebrated, and we embraced the word of mouth phenomena! We were producing the products women wanted and our location granted easy access. And, we continued to add to our collection. We listened to women and focused on their needs from nursing necessities, C-section specific products and intimates.
Fast forward…we're now celebrating our 10-year anniversary. But, we're still just as excited when our products show up on the pages of a magazine or celebrities such as Molly Sims, Tori Spelling, Jamie Lyn Sigler, Roselyn Sanchez, Busy Phillips, Ali Landry, Lisa Ling, Whitney Port and Jenni Pulos are “spotted" wearing them. Yes, I'm name-dropping but that's Hollywood!
So while we thank our Los Angeles location for getting us in the door it was ultimately our solution-based products that threw it wide open. Our company was founded on empathy and ingenuity. And while being a Hollywood favorite is flattering, it's the every day feedback we get from women around the world that continues to motivate us. It's sometimes hard for me to believe but our products are now sold in more than 1000 retailers nationwide and over 80 countries worldwide. And we're not ready to stop there, next up we're introducing an athleisure line, belly support products and a completely redesigned Belly Bandit Belly Wrap –so stay tuned!
It has been quite a journey from our roots in Michigan to Los Angeles and not one without a few bumps! But, through it all our mission has stayed the same, to help women look and feel their absolute best before, during and after pregnancy …all women. So being Hollywood's worst kept secret is fun and exciting but giving all women the “star" treatment is what Belly Bandit is all about!
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist