Maternity retail has long been an underserved niche, with only a few major brands dedicated to creating relevant clothing and products. HATCH is aiming to revitalize the space by focusing on products that are designed to help mothers feel good about themselves, not simply get them through their pregnancy. Additionally, its recent acquisition of operational responsibility for Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity under the parent company HATCH Collective will enable the retailer to provide a destination for mothers’ needs across a number of price points.
HATCH’s maternity wear is “designed to celebrate the body as you change in a thoughtful way,” according to Ariane Goldman, Founder and CEO of HATCH Collective in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. The general lack of options in this space provided the impetus for her to launch a retailer that could meet this untapped need.
“I became pregnant in 2011 and saw that there was a white space in the maternity category,” said Goldman. “I wanted to spend money, but there was no brand out there that was introducing me to the journey ahead with products that made me feel better, and that I could actually shop with and feel connected to. So that light bulb went off where I decided, ‘Wow, if nobody’s talking to me there must be millions of other women that are looking for this partner, this solution — and it’s not there.’”
The concept quickly found an audience, which helped it stay strong even during difficult times. HATCH weathered the depths of the pandemic without any layoffs and achieved 70% growth in 2021 and 30% in 2022, and Goldman expects further growth in the 25% to 30% range for 2023, despite the economic headwinds facing retail overall.
Maternity Wear Should Look Good as Well as Feel Good
Pregnancy is a very complicated time in many ways, not least of which includes finding comfortable clothing, and this has resulted in much of the maternity wear industry favoring function over form. HATCH is seeking to bring the space to the next level by providing maternity clothing made with high-quality fabrics that’s designed to look good as well as feel good.
“HATCH is about still feeling like yourself during the very moment where your body’s changing and your emotions are changing,” said Goldman. “I feel like what was currently offered when I started the company were products that made you feel ostracized from being you. That’s where I was. You don’t have to change who you are or your tastes and preferences or what you’re buying — you should be celebrating this moment, not punished for it.”
The retailer also has tailored its complete omnichannel experience to the needs of its customers, dividing content across pregnancy’s three trimesters and through post-birth. This includes different models, support and education services chosen to engage women wherever they are in their journey.
HATCH also keeps in touch with its customers through its editorial platform, BABE. The content hub was created when COVID forced HATCH to digitize its events and work to build its community online, and it has become a place for women to share and learn about any number of maternity-related topics. Goldman plans on extending its reach to the three additional brands under HATCH Collective to help keep customers across all the banners connected.
Four Brands Connected by Motherhood
HATCH is an upscale aspirational brand with a “little bit more of an aspirational price” compared to the other retailers in HATCH Collective’s portfolio, according to Goldman. The addition of the three legacy brands will give Goldman an opportunity to connect with mothers who are looking for a different kind of retailer without sacrificing what made HATCH a success.
Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity are all owned by Marquee Brands, which recently led a growth equity funding round for HATCH. The two companies have discussed working together to let Goldman lead the brands for about a year, and the result is an opportunity to reinvent maternity retail across multiple banners.
“I really think Motherhood [Maternity] is a great business — I just don’t think it’s really been touched and led by a woman driven organization with that same thoughtfulness that Hatch has,” said Goldman. “That’s what I’m excited to do with this portfolio, to have one umbrella where I get to architect the different brands, and really decide and distinguish the brands from one another so that we can talk to different customers, with the common denominator being motherhood, and offering them solutions to make this time better for them.”