I Inspire Women to Keep Wearing — and Doing — What They Love

Holly Kjar launched an online business to empower and give back to women.

Maeband Holly Kjar

While pregnant with Maely, her fourth child, Holly Kjar wanted a way to stay stylish and comfortable. Maternity jeans were expensive, and she had tried every belly band out there with no success. With the help of her mother, Holly created the Maeband: an accessory that attaches to the waistband so women can continue wearing their favorite jeans throughout their pregnancy.

After five years of manufacturing challenges — and Holly’s perseverance and discipline while raising a family — the Maeband became a bestseller on Amazon. Alongside her WordPress.com-powered shop at Maeband.com, Holly highlights strong women on her blog, creating a community through which women can band together and inspire one another. Here, she talks about her vision for her business, and how she went about turning it into reality.

Creating a product for herself — and other women

When I was pregnant with my fourth child, Maely, I just wanted to keep wearing my jeans. Already having three children, I had lots of pairs of maternity jeans but I just didn’t like them. Our family was on a tight budget, so I searched online for different things to try, like belly bands that go around your entire waist. But they would slip up or down and didn’t work the way I expected. I thought, there’s got to be another way.

I looked in the mirror one day and thought, what if I could add some stretch just to the front part of my jeans? I thought maybe my mom could make something for me—she made my wedding dress, after all. When I first told her about the idea, she was all in. Originally, we thought she’d make them and I’d sell them, and that’s how we’d run the business. But my mom is in her seventies, and once we got going, we realized that she couldn’t make these all on her own! We then began to look at manufacturers. But my mom made the initial investment and helped me make the prototype. We called it the Maeband, named after Maely.

We put the Maeband up on Amazon in February 2017. I went on Instagram and started to reach out to pregnant women — using hashtags and whatnot — and tried to find people, especially those with lots of followers, who might like some sample Maebands. I emailed a woman from Arizona who worked for iHeartRadio and told her my story. She tried and loved the Maeband and ended up giving me a shoutout on the radio. Because of her, people started to search for the Maeband on Amazon, which organically ranked my product higher. I got good reviews, and within the first year it was a bestseller in belly bands and maternity jeans.

I want the blog at Maeband.com to be a place where we can enlighten, share information about pregnancy and motherhood, and to encourage giving back to others.
Holly Kjar

A new version, an expanding business

Even people who aren’t pregnant are buying the Maeband! Women who have had surgery have worn it when they’re bloated or when they can’t wear jeans tightly around their stomach. Others wear the band to avoid getting holes in their T-shirts—their jeans rub onto them, so they use the band to cover up their jeans. One woman told me that her husband loves her Maeband, and I even got a review from another guy saying he uses it, too. Recently, someone contacted me to ask if it could work for children.

As for the future of Maeband? I want to grow. I’m trying to decide on the next direction to take. For now, I’m working on a new version that’s softer, thinner, and stretchier.

Building a business — but also an online space that uplifts and inspires

I want the blog at Maeband.com to be a place where we can enlighten, share information about pregnancy and motherhood, and to encourage giving back to others. In the Empower section, we highlight strong women to inspire our readers. I first told my story to show that you can push through adversity and can come out stronger. We’ve also shared the stories of Miesha Tate, a former UFC Women’s Champion, and Karalie DeLuca, the woman who started the Jayden DeLuca Foundation, a nonprofit we’ve been donating to this year.

We recently added another category called Scholarship. The idea is to give a scholarship to mothers or expecting women who are going to school. I’m excited about it because I went to school when I was pregnant and as a mom—and it is hard. It is really hard to keep going. I want to give back in this way to help other moms who are trying to improve their own lives.

You’ll also see a glimpse of our Instagram account — the last five photos — on our website. Every week we’ll donate to a GoFundMe or nonprofit and just try to give back that way, too.

Read more about Maeband’s story — and explore Holly’s products — on her WordPress.com Business site.

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