This February we are spotlighting Melanie Berger- owner and creator of the innovative loungewear line Mariwear. If you're a mom like me, you've been caught in the carpool line or at the bus stop in some less than flattering ensembles that would make for a suitable submission to a worst-dressed list. Why the lack of attention to our appearance? It's not that we don't want to look good, it's more likely that we just don't have the time to pull together a stylish, comfortable alternative to our mismatched socks, tank and pajama bottom or yoga pants. That's where the lifestyle apparel line by Mariwear comes in. Melanie's story is like many entrepreneurs I speak with. They crave for something to be brought to market for years and realize at some point that they are the person to take the leap and do it. Melanie has done her research to achieve both form and function with style. What's more, products are manufactured in the USA with luxe fabrics that are CO2 neutral. And for February she's extending a special, risk-free promotion. Enter code: LUV2SHIP at checkout and take advantage of both FREE SHIPPING and FREE RETURNS. (See www.mariwear.com for details) I can't wait to place my order and become carpool chic! After you've had a chance to read Melanie's Q&A, hop on over to her recently launched Kickstarter campaign to view a fun behind-the-scenes video of Melanie in action. She has a new product line in the works and you have the opportunity to be a part of it!
us about your business and target market.
founded the business with a vision and a dream to introduce a new, innovative
product to women that didn’t currently exist in the marketplace. Two years in product development working
with industry experts resulted in this exciting alternative for women to change
out of their bra at the end of the day and into apparel that still allowed them
to feel good about the way they looked. Mariwear
was designed for women by women and has built-in shape and support. No wires, no fasteners so it is comfortable
enough to sleep in – hence, women only have to change once. The concept is to: Lounge in Confidence, Sleep in
Comfort and Rise in Style.
Originally conceived as “loungewear you can sleep in and
sleepwear you can lounge in”,Mariwear has rapidly evolved into lifestyle
apparel. It is resonating with women for
a multitude of reasons and Mariwear’s uses expands many age groups ranging from
young moms to women in their 60s. Women
seek comfort and want to “still feel dressed” when staying at home with their
children, rushing kids to the bus stop, working from home, entertaining house guests, yoga, travel,
spa treatments… the list goes on and on.
did you decide it was the right time to take the leap into self-employment?
I awoke one day and realized that this product was waiting for ME –not someone else to bring it to
market. I had waiting more than 10 years
for that someone else and all that time my desire for it never waned. More importantly, I found myself surrounded
by friends who all expressed the same desire.
At this point I had already had already had a successful career, spent
15+ years doing the parenting, school commitments, charity work etc and was out
of the intense demands of parenting. While
it is difficult to fully predict the demands of this type of venture, the
timing seemed right.
is the most challenging aspect about being an entrepreneur?
that you can’t do it all. Your life as
you once knew it would never be the same.
Things that you once did and likely took for granted are the things your
friends are still doing but you have to remind yourself that your are on a
journey and it is taking you places that you’ve never been before and that is
part of the adventure. Letting go of the
desire to live both lives.
is your #1 tip for balancing work and family?
yourself to step away in the evenings and some on the weekends – especially if
you work from home. PLAN and SCHEDULE
time into your calendar to do things fun that you and your spouse/family enjoy.
small business resource(s) can you NOT live without?
is my number one resource. I thrive on
meeting new people, making new connections and finding ways to extend the
business. I get a thrill each time I
meet someone and then make a “six degrees of separation” connection. I believe everyone you meet will take you
somewhere new on some level and that people drive business.
advice would you give to a friend who was thinking about starting a business?
and foremost, challenge yourself to see if you genuinely are wired to not only
take on the challenge, but be passionate about it even in the tough times. There are many resources (books, online etc.)
that give you opportunities to do some self-evaluation and reflection about who
you are and what it takes to pull it off.
BE HONEST when going through this process. Even if it shows it’s not the right thing for
you, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t a great person: just that this isn’t the
social media site?
– so easy to connect with people on a personal level
book has been an inspiration to you as an entrepreneur?
you’re not working, what is your favorite activity?
Being anywhere in the warm sunshine. Walking, biking and hiking.
do you see your business in 5 years?
I would like Mariwear to transform the way women dress at
the end of their day and to become a staple in every woman’s wardrobe so that
she can get comfortable but still feel good about the way she is dressed. To make this happen, I envision Mariwear
making it onto the shelves at higher end stores such as Nordstrom and
Bloomingdales while licensing it through other retailers in mid-level