[[[Mother&Baby, September 2013]]] My Baby Inspired a New Career

The Bump-Inspired Fashionista 

Edwina Elek, 33, from London, is Mum to Dashiell, two and Cosmo, seven weeks. She came up with the idea for inpig.co.uk – a site selling vintage-inspired maternitywear – while she was pregnant.

‘I went to drama school after university and have acted ever since, starring in TV shows, theatre and films. I loved the work, but not the insecurity and rejection. In my 20s, I was happy to drop everything at a moment’s notice for an audition or part. But as I grew older, especially after getting married to my husband Dan in 2009, the novelty of spending weeks or months away from home wore off. Becoming pregnant was a blessing in disguise - life stopped being just about me. My agent was unable to put me up for jobs because of my changing shape, so I stepped away from acting and concentrated on looking after myself.

‘I bonded with fellow mum-to-be Johanna, a project manager, at antenatal classes over our maternitywear frustrations. We both loved vintage-style clothes, but couldn’t find anything for our growing bumps. This rapidly turned into a business idea and we’d brainstorm after class, sketching the styles we liked, ordering vintage sewing patterns off eBay and getting a local manufacturer to create samples. But then Johanna gave birth to her daughter Phoebe and I had Dashiell three weeks later, and it was all put on hold as we got to grips with being new mums.

‘My mind kept ticking over, though, and I’d often push Dashiell around the fashion exhibitions in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, jotting down notes while he snoozed. And Johanna and I would meet for coffee, squeezing in the business chat among the feeds and naps.

‘It was only when we were both pregnant again, nearly two years after Phoebe and Dashiell were born, that we realized we had to get on with it. After all, our bumps were growing and we wanted to be wearing our own clothes.

‘I hired an au pair, who does three days a week for £75, and started dedicating that time to the business we named In Pig – old-fashioned slang for being pregnant, first coined by the Mitford sisters. A friend offered to build our website and Dan, who’s a civil servant, was very supportive. He agreed we could use some of our savings to put in my share of the start-up costs - £5000 – which mainly went on fabiric and manufacturing costs, which are all UK-based. In May this year, 5 days after I gave birth to Cosmo, we launched.

‘Johanna had her son Felix in June and, although we’re full-on with our new little ones, our online baby is thriving. All our profits are going straight back into the business, so Dan is supporting me, and I plan to take the odd acting job every now and again, too. But fingers crossed, we’ll be making profit very soon.”