Melissa Holland, Owner of BeliBea Bras, wife and mother of four, has made it her mission to help make the lives of moms who are breastfeeding/pumping easier. We recently chatted with Melissa about BeliBea to learn more about how the business got started, what else we can look forward to seeing in the product line and a little about the local business owner.
It all started in 2008 when Melissa gave birth to her first child. “I was having issues with breastfeeding and was stressed about being a new mom,” says Melissa, “I was also preparing to go back to work so with that combination of things I knew I had to pump more. It was a grueling process.” Her husband, Adam, actually created the first prototype by suggesting cutting holes in one of her sports bras. And as the saying goes – the rest is history. They spent several years creating prototypes. Thanks to Melissa’s background in textiles and with the support of her employer at the time, she was able to use those resources and create the product to their specifications. They officially launched the business in 2014 and began selling bras this past February.
So what makes a BeliBea bra so different from other breastfeeding/nursing bras? Melissa shares, “It’s extremely comfortable, it’s seamless and made out of nylon spandex so it stretches and feels like a sports bra. For a mom, especially in the beginning months your breast size is constantly changing, our bra allows for that transition from size to size very comfortably.” There is a layer of padding between the front layer and inside panel to adds support and extra coverage which gives you some added shape. During their research phase they discovered that moms were searching for a bar with multiple purposes, to reduce the amount of steps to get ready or pack. With a BeliBea bra moms no longer have to change from their normal bra to a pumping/feeding bra since the garment has a built-in feminine shape from the v-neck scoop and center ruching – it is easy to wear! The nylon spandex material is comfortable enough to wear all day which means less things for you to pack when you head out to work or out for the day.
“BeliBea bras can be ordered through the website – www.BeliBea.com” shares Melissa. At the moment the line has one main design that will run you $49.95, there is already talk of adding more color options and styles including a cami and basic nursing bra. She did mention that there is a plan to distribute to local boutiques in the future but they are currently shipping nationally and internationally via UPS and USPS.
The work is never done! Melissa and her company AP Reese, LLC is already developing other innovative products to make parents lives easier so stay tuned!
About Melissa Holland
Melissa was born and raised in Asheboro, North Carolina. She attended UNC for her undergraduate degree which brought her to Durham and has been in the area ever since. During her last years at UNC she took a liking to sewing and continued her passion for it after graduation while being a full-time nanny for two years. Melissa’s mother encouraged her to pursue more schooling in textiles since she was mostly self-taught. Melissa eventually found herself in the Textiles and Design Program at UNCG and completed her second undergraduate degree 2.5 years later. Her advice to anyone looking to start their own business, “The road can be long and hard but just stick with it… if you have an idea, design and passion do not fold too quickly. We have been surrounded and supported by the people around us to keep going so that was incredibly helpful.”
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Ten Things About Melissa
- Favorite Local Restaurant(s): Bull McCabe’s – love the outdoor family atmosphere! And Dame’s Chicken & Waffles – the Orange Speckled Chabo is amazing!
- Favorite Outdoor Activity: Playing with my kids at the park
- Favorite Park: Rockwood Park
- Favorite cupcake/dessert/bakery shop: Mad Hatter Bakeshop & Cafe
- Favorite Local Coffee Spot: Cocoa Cinnamon
- Favorite NC landmark: Emerald Isle Beach
- Favorite Museum: North Carolina Museum of Life and Science
- Favorite Food Truck: Only Burger
- Favorite NC Beer/Brewery: Duck-Rabbit in Farmville, NC
- Favorite Local Boutique: Parker & Otis – a restaurant & gift shop, very cute
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