During pregnancy number one, I spent an unhealthy amount of time watching Bravo. “Pregnant in Heels” had just made its debut, and I was both terrified and inspired by its star Rosie Pope, the not-yet pregnant pregnancy expert whipping Manhattan mamas-to-be into shape. Of course, I had to make a pilgrimage to her Upper East Side maternity shop, where I discovered that her impeccable taste expanded far beyond nursery design and 5-inch heels. Her namesake line not only flattered in all the right places, but you’d never know it was maternity...the holy grail when you’re a pregnant New Yorker.
Now a seasoned mama herself – times four – Pope is finally making clothes for the smaller set under the label Rosie Pope Baby. The designer recently filled us in on the details, and gave us the rundown on newborn necessities that any mom, whether on her first or fourth babe, should invest in.
You started your pregnancy and maternity business before you were even pregnant. How does that inform your brand’s style?
When you are pregnant, it’s all-consuming, and you second-guess yourself. So many of the most accomplished women that I know -- women who know how to dress themselves – walk into a maternity store and don’t know what to do. When you’re pregnant, you still want to have style and stay true to who you are. Designing maternity from a lens of not being pregnant meant I could stay more true to the style that women had before they were pregnant.
What are NYC moms looking for that’s different than moms in other cities?
Today the way we dress our children, and what we want in our nurseries, is more of an extension of what we wear and want ourselves. New York City has its own sense of style and what moms are putting their babies in reflects that style. When it comes to designing the nursery and buying baby clothes, this is your last opportunity to do what you want. By the time your child is two-years-old, he’s going to have opinions! It happens a lot quicker than you’d expect. So right now, take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to have monkeys on your glider.
What got you interested in doing layette?
It’s always been a goal of ours. Since we started, we wanted to provide great products and education, but we always intended to follow people in their journey. Ultimately our business progressed as we progressed. We’re unlikely to have a tween line anytime soon, but baby really made sense. Our customer base and clients and friends still want to come to us for product and we want to continue to serve them.
Tell us about Rosie Pope Baby. What’s your point of view?
There’s so many gorgeous baby lines out there, but either there’s too much function or too much fashion. There’s not much that’s a combination. We wanted to create a classic, contemporary collection that’s comfy and looks great, but comes with a level of function and education that makes your life easier. We used fun, sophisticated, contemporary prints, but they’re also comfortable and practical for baby. Like a kimono layette, which is easier to put on. And the romper -- the biggest complaint I’ve heard is that baby’s feet would always grow faster than the rest of the body. The feet grow out of a footed romper so quickly, and a lot of moms have to cut the feet out. So all of our romper’s feet button open and roll up. That’s the kind of function in the line. We’ve also taken snippets from our education courses and put them onto the hangtags as “Mommy IQ.” For example, one might say “The best temperature for baby’s nursery is 68-72 degrees.” It’s these simple, easy things that can empower you as waiting for child.
How big is the collection and what does it include?
There are 72 SKUs, ranging from layette to 2-years-old in boy, girl and unisex.
You’ve spanned now from baby in the belly, to baby outside of the belly…what’s next?
We want to continue moving into the baby space and providing more than just apparel. It’s a long-term priority to reach many different price points as well.
You were born and bred in London, had your first three babies here in NYC, and recently moved to the suburbs. Do you miss the urban jungle?
I love the city, and I’ll always love the city – I’m a city girl at heart. I’m still here almost every day, so it’s still a big part of my life.
How has the pregnancy experience changed over the course of your four pregnancies?
Every pregnancy has been very different. I’m reminded each time that even on the fourth pregnancy, you return to a state of complete anxiety -- about giving the kids enough attention, juggling it all -- it all comes sliding back. I’m less stressed about childbirth, though, and the everyday aspects of feeding and bathing, using car seats...I’m not going to get freaked about folding a stroller this time around. But when you add more children, you start to think about balancing all of that.
Now that you have some perspective, give us 5 items that you absolutely must have for baby.
1. Baby Carrier.
2. Bassinet. For right next to the bed.
3. Swaddle. I’m a big-time swaddler. You have to learn how to do it right.
4. Belly Bandit. But you have to wear it religiously!
5. Light bouncer. You want one that you can take into the bathroom while you shower, or into the kitchen. Not some colossal heavy thing!