Natal Active Launches in to John Lewis
Mum of three Claire Gleave has launched her lockdown maternity activewear brand into high street stalwart, John Lewis.
Claire launched Natal Active in June last year while in the thick of home schooling her three boys aged 10, 8 and 6. The brand, which sells a range of activewear for pregnant and breastfeeding mums, including leggings, nursing sports bras and breastfeeding tops, fast became a celebrity favourite, being worn by the likes of Vogue Williams, Rochelle Humes, Ashley James and even Princess Eugenie.
After being spotted by a John Lewis buyer on Instagram, Claire was approached by the retailer to stock the brand and has this week launched online, ahead of a launch in to stores next year.
Claire commented: “Stocking my brand into John Lewis was the big long-term goal, something I thought I would aim for in year three, even then didn’t think it was necessarily a realistic goal. So to be approached by them earlier this year, when I had only been running the brand for 7 months was an incredible feeling. It’s a long process to get to the point of physically launching the brand and I am so excited to see something that I have created from scratch be brought to a whole new audience through a retailer the size of John Lewis.”
But the path to launch was not a smooth one. Claire had planned to launch the business at the start of 2020 before Covid meant her manufacturing in the far east was forced to grind to a halt. She adds “The goal was to launch in February until the world turned upside down. Delays and lockdowns meant that I was eventually able to launch in June, but what I hadn’t planned for was the additional challenge of having to home school three children at the same time! There were definitely times when I thought about giving up but I felt so strongly that there was a market for my products that I couldn’t do it.”
A 12 times marathon runner herself, who trained for a marathon in her second pregnancy, Claire was inspired to start the business after finding a lack of activewear for herself during her this time. “To have the seal of approval from a brand such as John Lewis, known for its quality products, is the ultimate seal of approval on a brand that I have worked tirelessly to perfect. Being active in pregnancy is so important for both physical and mental health – even if that activity is walking the dog rather than running long distances. If looking good and feeling supportive and comfortable in the process encourages mums to maintain a level of activity in their pregnancies, then I will feel like I have done a good job!”