Words: Tivania Moodley | Images: Curmhi Chettiar and Rissiepit Photography
The appeal of professional maternity shoots is on the increase as more women want to commemorate this beautiful experience. As such, the subject of what to wear arises as women want to combine sophistication with freedom of movement. Being a mom herself, Natalie Bleckert identified a gap in the market for a business specialising in beautiful maternity gowns to hire for moms-to-be looking for that perfect outfit for their maternity shoot.
How did your business start?
There are few local retail outlets that cater to maternity wear, so my idea to import or custom make gorgeous dresses for moms-to-be to hire, came into play. Hiring made the most sense as the shoot is generally done towards the end of the pregnancy and, therefore, there would be little need for this dress again in the near future. Love Bumps Maternity Dress Hire opened in April last year with only four dresses. We now have over 50 dresses as well as a range of accessories and photography props. We’ve become the leading maternity dress hire provider in Durban with over 1,000 followers on our Facebook page. We courier all over South Africa and we even have a branch in Albany, Australia with further expansion planned.
Why did you choose this area to set up shop?
Love Bumps is run from my home in Hillcrest. I chose to operate from home as this accommodates clients wanting to come through for fittings after working hours and on weekends.
How did you find your premises?
I chose to work from home and dedicated a small space to store my clothing. Initially, Love Bumps was run from a spare room in my home. This room has since become a nursery for our daughter. My home office became the Love Bumps area with plans to extend our home to accommodate it. The current space works for me as I can see my girls in their play area while I’m consulting, although I also look forward to having a
bigger space in the near future.
Why are they ideally suited to your business?
I love the convenience of working within my own timelines and it was very important for me to offer my clients the comfort they needed to try clothes on.
Who are your neighbours?
Residents within the Hillcrest area.
What are the shop rental/sales prices like in this area?
I’m very fortunate to not have a rental expense.
How many people go through your store each day?
I deal with about five enquiries a day, which often leads to a booking for a fitting.
Do you have any expansion plans?
Since opening, I have grown the range of dresses to suit many different occasions and recently added a toddler range for family shoots.
Do you operate online as well?
I’m on Facebook (@lovebumpsmaternityhire) and Instagram (@lovebumps_maternityhire). The website will be up and running shortly.
What’s your most popular item?
The lace dress and split-front gowns are the most popular. The flower crowns and belly crowns are also very popular and add a divine touch to the look.
Love Bumps Maternity Dress Hire
072 583 7980