Like so many small businesses, Made With Love Brands started in a basement. When Uyo’s daughter was born, she was disappointed with all of her options for nursing bras and other maternity wear, which she describes as “drab, bland, and over-priced.” When she set out to do some research, she discovered that other moms felt the exact same way. “That was my ‘a-ha’ moment,” she says.
And so she traded in her long days as a brand manager of Kraft Foods’ Mac & Cheese for even longer days and nights as an entrepreneur. Equipped with an MBA from Duke and her brand manager experience, Uyo launched You! Lingerie in 2010, which grew so much that she moved into a 7,000-square-foot warehouse and office space. Just 4 years later, she started Preggo Leggings. Since then, Walmart.com has carried her brand Love XOXO by You! Lingerie, and soon, Uyo is launching a children’s fashion line called Rumi + Asher, named after her children.
Here’s how she’s grown multiple brands:
“One of my biggest challenges is the balancing act that inevitably comes with managing multiple small business brands,” Uyo says. At just 10 people, her team is small, so she has to ensure that she’s dedicating a good amount of her time to each brand. They’re not equal amounts, though—as she puts it, it can never be equal. And that’s perfectly OK, because the learnings across her brands are actually quite similar: “Comfort is key, and customers don’t want to give up their sense of style during this very amazing time of their lives.”
It would be a huge missed opportunity to not cross-promote You! Lingerie and Preggo Leggings, Uyo says, especially since the target audience is similar. To do so, the Made With Love team typically uses social media and email marketing, as well as direct links to their sister brands on each website. “We also include a postcard with a discount offer in all order shipments for each brand as a way to introduce the other brand to our customers,” she says. This strategy also helps extend her customer lifetime value. For example, if a mom is no longer pregnant, but may be breastfeeding, then You! Lingerie would be a great fit— or maybe even has an older child—she can now follow their children’s clothing line that’s launching later this year, all depending on what stage she’s in.
“Some of our biggest successes have been the retail partnerships we’ve been able to garner over the years: Babies “R” Us, Walmart.com, buybuy Baby and soon, Nordstrom.com,” she says. Associating her brand with these household names lends credibility to her small business, she explains, because people trust the brands to carry high-quality products. “Beyond that, our products are in the lingerie drawers and closets of women from all over the world.” That’s 25 countries and counting, by the way.