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Breastfeeding Magazine

From Breastfeeding to Modest Middles Designer

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Breastfeeding Story Submitted by:
Amy Maschue owner designer/mom of 4/owner of Modest Middles 

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My name is Amy M. I’m the mother of four kids (5th due in March: Tommy (6), Anne Marie (5), Philip (3) and Jillian (1). Nursing my children has brought many wonderful and unexpected experiences. I’d like to share an unusual experience; nursing actually inspired me to become an inventor/designer! With the birth of our children, my husband Phil and I decided that I would leave my active speech/language pathology practice focused on serving children with Autism and their families to raise our children. I

love being at home, but have always had an entrepreneurial side. As Phil and I have watched the economy slow we knew that a home-based business would help our growing family’s bottom line. But what, we kept asking ourselves…

In May of 2008 I was nursing my baby as my older kids played when another mother noticed that the layered shirts I was wearing, kept my tummy, sides and belly completely covered even as the top shirt moved up my back. She was intrigued. She asked where I had gotten my nursing top. I explained that I have such active kids, the quiet, calm, sit down nursing I had done with my oldest was a thing of the past for me. I typically nursed standing or running after someone.

I had gotten tired of spending the extra money on nursing shirts that forced me to wear a bra that was built in and was not a good fit or force myself through a small slit; besides those shirts always looked like nursing shirts. I wanted to wear the cute clothes that had been hanging in my closet for nine months; clothes that were my style. I also got tired of having my “baby fat” and stretch marks show when I did wear my normal clothes. I needed easy access to the bra of my choice, an extra-long torso and something that could lie nicely under my favorite shirts.

I searched the internet and the local stores. When I couldn’t find it, I designed it and asked my mom to sew one for me. I made the tank/undershirt have a “U” shaped cut out in the front that fits below the bra line so that I had easy bra access and lengthened the torso by an inch. The woman loved the tank/undershirt. She said, “You should sell that!”

I couldn’t get her comments and enthusiasm out of my mind. I decided to look into what it would take to produce and sell my tank/undershirt. I decided to call it Modest Middles. I began on the internet. While my kids napped, I looked into getting a patent, finding a sewing contractor and a print shop to produce the packaging. I also needed a website. With hours online, I found a company which had a website hosting and building program for web dummies like me. I also found a company to help me make my packaging ideas look professional.

It was hard to find a sewing contractor. Many of the sewing jobs are out sourced to China, Turkey, India, etc. I am a proud American and I wanted my product to help build jobs in the USA. I finally found a sewing contractor in LA.

And so began several trips over the weekend to LA with my husband and kids in tow. The sewing contractor told us to head to the LA fashion district to choose material and trims. It was a surreal experience! There were so many stores and so many fabrics. There was also an “insider only” mentality at the stores. With four kids, wearing the non-trendy “mom” clothes I had chosen for comfort on the 5 hour drive from Phoenix, we were definitely not fashion district insiders. We preserved. Over the course of the next months, I learned about fabrics, pattern-making, cutting, strap accessories and the art of negotiation. So far it has been a wild, exciting ride.

Modest Middles

I never could have guessed back in May of 2008 as I herded my kids into the car after playtime was done that in November of that same year I would be producing and selling my idea to other mothers like me.

I am proud of Modest Middles. I feel so privileged that my product encourages moms to nurse in public or feel more confident about pumping at the office. Moms nurse to give their babies the best, help them look great doing it!

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