It’s a cold Saturday morning and we’re seated with steaming mugs of coffee in a charming outdoor cafe at a store called Moming in Koramangala. A few ducks waddle onto the garden, eyeing us curiously. “The ducks, rabbits and hamsters are for kids who accompany their moms to the store,” chuckles Deepa Kumar (34), a young entrepreneur who launched the concept store three years ago.
Trick and treat!
The idea of a store for expectant women and young mothers was born out of her determination make the experience of motherhood as enjoyable and pleasant as possible.
First came the range of maternity clothes – Morph Maternity — a collection that includes stylish yet comfortable clothes for nursing moms. “Our designers are constantly striving to provide cool and comfortable maternity wear. We use lycra for the waistline, soft cotton for the body and youthful designs to keep the outfits trendy,” says Deepa, who personally checks every garment for stray sequins or sharp hooks. Ethnic kurtas, denim dungarees and brightly coloured tops are the highlights of the Morph Maternity collection.
Deepa spends several hours in a day developing designs for Morph along with a team of young designers. Clever tricks like using stretchable material to accommodate the expanding waistline make a huge difference to the experience of being pregnant.
“A subtle flap to cover the zip around the chest or the use of buttons instead of hooks can put the nursing mom at ease instantly,” she says.
Her clients include young mothers from India and abroad and expats, and they all rate comfort as high as style, she says.
Moming’s innerwear collection is also a huge hit with customers. Adira, the period panty which Deepa hopes to patent, and the maternity salwar, which her team has designed, have proved to be popular with her clients.
Deepa has also come up with the idea of setting up a salon, a fitness centre and a children’s play area at the store.
“These services are for young mothers who need a break to get a facial or practise yoga when someone trustworthy takes charge of their kids. Nuclear families have become the norm and there are no friendly neighbours to offer babysitting services. That’s why I decided to add these services to the store,” she explains. The last of the additions was a cafe so that “moms can savour a hot cup of coffee in peace”.
Being a mother to two restless toddlers, she understands how something as mundane as grabbing a sandwich can turn into a Herculean task. “At Moming, a woman can sit in the open-air cafe with her coffee and sandwich while her child plays with the pets.”
One can tell that Moming, with its cheerful decor, is all about celebrating life. The walls have one-liners on pregnancy. The fitness room, though small, is airy and well-ventilated. “We offer yoga and a few exercise drills. Health experts are invited to deliver lectures. We also organise discussion forums, where expectant women can share their thoughts,” she says.
When Moming was launched in 2007 in Basavangudi, it met with “enthusiastic response”, according to Deepa.
Today, she eagerly awaits patent rights to three of her creations. Early this year, Deepa moved Moming from Basavanagudi to Koramangala. Her brands such as Morph Maternity clothes and Adira innerwear are now available in Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad at leading lifestyle stores.
Standing tall and proud
From looking after two demanding toddlers to making umpteen trips to a town like Tirupur in Tamil Nadu to source fabric for her business, Deepa has done it all.
“When I saw merchants haggling over prices and expertly assessing yards of cotton fabric, I realised that I had a lot to learn,” she recalls. Two years down the line, Deepa is as astute a haggler as those canny merchants! “I can talk business in Tamil and I ensure that I get a fair bargain,” she says with a triumphant smile.
“There are challenges at work every day. But the trick to take them on the chin.” Wise words, woman.