They got leggings and know moms-to-be can use them
University Park’s Loren Heller had trouble finding maternity activewear leggings while pregnant with her daughter, Leighton, so she and friend Hillary Cullum started their Berkley line in 2020.
“What existed was what … I term ‘throwaway leggings’ — intended to be worn for a short period of time,” Heller said. “I did what most women do, which is buy something two sizes too big.”
Heller and Cullum met while working for Neiman Marcus in Colorado about 15 years ago. Neiman Marcus eventually brought the pair to Dallas.
They started work on their line of luxury maternity leggings in 2019. The first, named the Janey and the Cindy after Heller and Cullum’s mothers, feature four-way stretch and come in trendy prints.
“(We) spent the next year and a half perfecting the perfect pair of maternity leggings,” Heller said. “We started with the leggings as the most essential part of our assortment.”
“Women struggle finding clothing that makes them feel like who they are during their pregnancy.”Hillary Cullum
Cullum said they sought to fill a gap in the activewear market.
“When Loren brought the idea to me, we did research (on) what was out there,” she said. “The (activewear) market is really penetrated, and there are lots of options … (but) when you become pregnant, that’s really not available to you anymore.”
Heller said they sought to empower women with their clothing line.
“Our heart and souls are in every aspect of the design,” she said. “Women struggle finding clothing that makes them feel like who they are during their pregnancy.”
Cullum said they designed their leggings to take women through pregnancy and postpartum times.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed challenges as the pair were working on launching their brand.
“Berkley is designed in Dallas and made in LA. During the shutdown, it made it very difficult to get anything moving quickly,” Heller said. “What would have taken us a couple months took us basically a year.”
The shift to working from home also added to the importance of their goal of providing comfortable, functional activewear, Heller said.
In the future, they hope to launch tops to go with their leggings and partner with retailers.
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