Page 93

me. Working for a large professional services firm gave me the opportunity to see a lot of different industries and company environments, and I found I preferred working with emerging companies that were in a high growth mode. After Andersen went under following the Enron crisis, I went to work for one of its clients: Orbitz. I loved the fast paced, demanding environment and the “newness” of the internet, plus travel is a big passion. I learned a lot about building a team, creating processes and working with different disciplines. Orbitz was acquired and a year later, I took some time off to travel the world on a solo journey, and then enjoy the Chicago summer before I started my new position as the Controller at a restaurant chain called Potbelly Sandwich Works. I loved learning about managing multiple retail sites and helping to profitably grow this beloved sandwich shop, but when I got the call to join the team at KAYAK, I packed my bags and moved to the east coast. KAYAK was a dream job - earning the CFO title and taking the company public before selling it for $2.1B. Having achieved everything I wanted to in finance and after having worked for some great start-ups, I felt it was time for the next great challenge: creating my own business. AM: What was the moment that led you to creating Mia Tango and tell us more about this e-commerce platform. MB: Mia Tango was really conceived from my own experience in buying clothing during my pregnancy and 4th trimester. I like to tell a story about my ultimate humiliation when I had to wear slippers to an important business meeting because I could not find any shoes that were wide enough to accommodate my big fat pregnant feet, and that's because there is no such thing as shoes made for pregnant women. But there were so many things that I found dissatisfying aout the whole experience - it felt like no

one really cared about pregnant women and new moms. It was like retailers were just putting forth the minimum effort because it wasn’t a big enough market to really care about. Well, I care about it deeply. I feel you pregnant women and new moms! My husband and I were enjoying a glass of wine after we’d put our twins to bed, and he just asked me what I wanted to do next in my career, because he knew I was ready. The answer came out of my mouth so quickly and so naturally, and yet I was surprised to hear myself say it. I told him, “I want to start my own business.” From there, I just told him everything that I saw that was broken about buying maternity clothes and how I would change it. Retail was changing, the sharing economy was growing and millennials were embracing new ecommerce brands. Maternity was the last to adopt the trends, which really came as no surprise. One of the things I really wanted to address head on was the guilt factor in buying maternity. When I was exploring the idea of Mia Tango, I interviewed dozens of pregnant women and new moms. I started out asking them to tell me about their pregnancies. Every last one of them described their pregnancy in joyful terms. Mind you, many of these women suffered horrific physical effects: debilitating morning sickness; a full body rash that itched like mad; preeclampsia; gestational diabetes. These are not little inconveniences – these are painful and frightening experiences – and yet, the women still felt their pregnancies were wonderful, because they all know, as every mother does, that the birth of a healthy child is a miracle. Then I asked them to tell me about getting dressed for pregnancy and I got an entirely different reaction. Frustration. Resentment. And Guilt. A lot of guilt, which is kind of bullshit given the bur-

Profile for Athleisure Mag

Athleisure Mag Jun 2018