Most of us have our favorite pair of jeans. They are the most comfortable piece of clothing we own. Being forced to relegate them to the back of the closet is just not something we want to think about.
Yet there are times when we think we have no other choice. Weight gain right around our middle due to pregnancy, illness, change in lifestyle, age and stress make it impossible to get the waistband buttoned.
Enter Anna Forselius, of Guilford and Kristin Forselius, of New Hampshire and the Oopsie LOOPSIE. These sisters-in-law, turned entrepreneurs, have been working for six years on a waistband extender that allows you to stay in your pants even when the pants simply will not button.
The idea is simple. Take a piece of stretchy material formed into two loops and use it to connect the buttonhole to the button.
After overcoming all the hurdles associated with developing a new product it has been on the market for about a year, selling in boutiques from California to Connecticut and on a multitude of Internet sites.
Flutterby on Whitfield Street has been carrying the item in their boutique. Owner/buyer Beth O’Bymachow said it is a unique item that her pregnant customers are appreciating.
"When the girl finds them she's excited," O'Bymachow said. "It's so exciting for her anyway that she's having a baby and then she sees that she can still wear her jeans for a while and just put the LOOPSIE on."
Anna and Kristin have recently hired Celebrity Baby Trend Expert, Rachel Florio, to assist them in spreading the word and just last week the duo jetted off to sunny Southern California to shoot an episode of onlineshoptv.com. The show, according to their website, “is the first live shopping channel on the web created to showcase your product and drive customers to your site through a professional, celebrity hosted interactive demonstration." They will direct viewers to oopsieloopsie.com.
“It was very exciting!” said Anna. “I haven’t seen the finished product yet, I can’t wait to see it. It was fun; we had a great time. I feel like in doing this, it’s going to drive a lot of people to our website.”
Conceived as a maternity item, they focused their initial marketing on pregnant friends, trendy maternity boutiques and on line sites devoted to moms and moms to be.
“When I was pregnant all those times pre and post I would use a rubber band to keep my pants together,” Anna said.
Recalling her call to Kristen with her novel idea.
“I’ll never forget it I woke up one morning and I said I have a great idea for a patent and I called her up … she said ‘yes, I’m on it, it’s a great idea’ and that’s where it began.”
She believes more and more women are opting to stay in their “regular” clothes as far into their pregnancies as possible, making the LOOPSIE a necessity.
Christina Forristall, aquatic director and head swim coach at the Madison Racquet and Swim Club, was thrilled to be able to stay in her “regular” clothes throughout her second pregnancy, with the help of the LOOPSIE.
“I think it’s a comfort level,” said Forristall. “You know you like your clothes. You know your clothes fit you and this help you do that.”
There are also the economic concerns of purchasing a whole new wardrobe that you will only wear for nine months.
“The cost of maternity clothes can be very expensive, especially ones that kind of look good one you,” said Forristall. “Anything that’s in the affordable range is very boxy and unflattering and you want to be flattering as a pregnant woman.”
As their product has grown, though, so has their consumer base. Reaching out and sharing ways to increase sales, Anna and Kristin believe the LOOPSIE could really have a much bigger target audience.
“We really came into this thinking this is totally maternity,” said Anna. “But as we got into it we realized that lots of women at different stages of their lives can use a LOOPSIE. Even men could. So it’s more broader than maternity.”
Anna is excited about going forward with the product. With a patent secured and a TV debut in the near future she is feeling extremely positive about the future of LOOPSIE.
“I think this is our year. I really do,” said Anna. “We’ve worked on this for so long. It’s been hard because we’re moms; we have young children to care for. It’s been hard to just stop everything and focus on LOOPSIE, but now is just the time.”