Hey, Baby: Local company launches sexy lingerie for pregnant ladies


When Rebekah Stivers was working with a major lingerie chain, she got request after request from a perhaps-unexpected market: pregnant women. "Don't you carry anything cute and sexy?" they'd ask her. "This is the exact time when I want to feel that way."

So Stivers did what do-it-yourself business owners have been doing since capitalism was invented: she moved to fill that need.

Stivers is the founder and president of Whoa Mamma!, a Minnesota company that produces upscale lingerie for new and expectant moms. The company launched its new line of 20 chemises, camisoles, gowns and more at a Sunday fashion show.

Whoa Mamma! brings sexy, upscale lingerie and sleepwear to mothers-to-be. More photos by Jeff Shaw in the slideshow.

The proudly local company boasts a Minnesota owner with all designers and manufacturers also from the Midwest. Whoa Mamma! is marketing to retailers nationwide in places like Los Angeles, New York City and Las Vegas, but their immediate focus will be in the 10-state region. Other major markets targeted include Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. They join a select few in this niche, becoming the latest of just four companies worldwide to produce lingerie aimed at the maternity market.

A runway show featuring racy maternity wear is an unusual occurrence for those modeling the line. Among the seven models, Meamarie Yang was the only actually pregnant lady among the bunch. The St. Paul native and nursing student glowed -- obviously -- when describing the Whoa Mamma! products. "These are really nice designs," she said before the show. "I saw them and said, 'This is so me!' It fills a need for the left-out mothers."

Was it odd for authentically-pregnant Yang to model alongside others who wore artificial baby bumps? "No," she laughed. "They'll have their turn."

For model Christine Grether, the show offered a peek into a potential future. Grether is petite, and her first fitting for an artificial baby bump showed how prominent her belly might look in the future. "I'm going to be a funny pregnant lady," she said.

If you're pregnant right now, you may have to wait until the next go-'round to get your hands on one of these. Sunday's fashion show was intended for retail store managers and regional buyers who are looking to purchase new wholesale products for the fall line. Several products were thus holiday-themed, such as the "Santa's Baby" three-piece ensemble.

But then, there are plenty of women who can afford to wait. One fashion watcher was Kate Enrici, who isn't pregnant and has no immediately plans to be. She still turned out on a Sunday to watch this rare type of fashion event.

"When I get to that point in my life," she said, "I'm going to want to feel like I look good."