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Baby. Check. Stylish Mom. Check.

by Kenyatta D. Pious
Being stylish after having a baby can be a roller coaster ride of emotions. Forget the ubiquitous pep talks and wild dieting schemes - - embrace motherhood with the help of Bebe Au Lait, a brand that helps mothers regain their edge and sets them apart from the crowd. And of course, baby will be stylish too, even while feeding. Bebe Au Lait was conceptualized by a husband and wife team: Ronnie Ekelund/ President/ CEO and Claire Ekelund/Sr. VP Marketing & Product Development. The duo has managed to create a sensation by selling similar-styled items they used while parenting including: double reversible bibs, hooded towels, burp cloths and nursing covers.

BeBe Au Lait takes us inside for a rare glimpse at the machinations behind the brand while proving that a whimsical name does not translate into whimsical business savvy.

What is the inspiration behind the current collection?
Our current collection is reflective of the everyday inspiration we surround ourselves with; from flowers, texture to motifs.

The maternity/children's market appears saturated, how does Bebe Au Lait differentiate itself from the competition?
Bebe au Lait created a category within the Mom & Baby market. Stylish nursing covers were unavailable, so by creating an innovative product we provided something that was needed as opposed to a 'me too' item. I think this alone helps us stand out from any competition - continually.

Who are the core clients of Bebe Au Lait?
We have always had a clear view of who we want to target with our product and that has not changed. Our core clients are moms who want to remain stylish and elegant after having a baby. We know that our customers are educated, savvy and independent.

Do you run promos/contests on your site and what type of promos/contests do you run? Is there one running now?
Bebeaulait.com does, from time to time run promotions. During August we will be running a promotion to celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Please check our website for details!

Who are your top three TV moms of all time?
Being from England it is not something I have ever considered -we don't rate T.V moms in the same way as American's. My own mum is more than special though.

Recently there has been a concerted effort to "go green" - - what are your thoughts?
I think there is a 'trend' to be green as well as the message finally getting through that it is not just a trend but a way of life that needs to be adopted. In terms of my own upbringing, I think Europe was ahead of the U.S on being environmentally aware. Cars are smaller, appliances such as tumble driers are used on occasion rather than daily etc. I think that the U.S has really embraced going green though and is making up for lost time.

I can't speak for other companies in our industry, but our own company is aware of our actions and we do analyze how we can reduce, reuse and recycle.

Does the name mean anything - - how was it conceived?
'Bebe au Lait' is of course French. (My husband Ronnie and I lived in Southern France a few years ago) It means 'Baby of Milk'. Our French friends tell us it is a very clever play on words and would actually be translated as 'Baby made of milk'. Ronnie came up with the name while we were on a weekend getaway!

How and why did Bebe Au Lait start and who started it?
Bebe au Lait is owned by my husband and me. We started on the kitchen table in 2004. The first product was only made for personal use, but following demand from people who saw me using it, my husband insisted we turn it into a business. It is truly a joint effort.

Where is the company located?
We are lucky to be located in the beautiful town of Los Gatos in Northern California

Where is manufacturing handled?
In Asia

How is Bebe Au Lait marketed - - do you advertise anywhere?
We advertise in many different forms: online, consumer magazines, in-store.. Our best form of advertising is by treating our customers well and providing them with quality products. WOM is key.

Why do you think retail is so tough nowadays?
People have so many more choices. Choice of where to buy, how to buy, what to buy. It can make the decision overwhelming. It is a very competitive landscape for the retailer.

What do you think are the biggest trends right now?
I'm loving one shouldered tops and dresses. Boyfriend jeans and turn ups. I love that my pregnant friends are able to wear the current trends. Not only is maternity gear great, but most of the current styles fit easily with a bump.

What is the toughest thing about the market right now? What is your solution?
The economy and that people are spending less as a whole.

What is one thing that no one knows about the company?
The fact that Bebe au Lait sells more products than just nursing covers and continually adding and expanding our line.

Finish this sentence: When I think of maternity/children, I think...
Of a time in your life that is precious. A time that can should be celebrated and treasured. A time to make memories.

For more info: www.bebeaulait.com
Price Point: From $22 - $40


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