Chelsey Oliver is the Creative & Brand Director at Seraphine. A mama of 2, stepmother of 1 and now expecting her third baby later this year, Chelsey has over 15 years’ experience designing maternity clothes.
When it comes to bumps, babies & the journey into motherhood, it’s safe to say that Chelsey knows a thing or two…. We sat down with her to talk pregnancy, motherhood & designing clothes to make life easier for mamas.
Get the look: Pink Floral Maternity Maxi Dress
First – congratulations on your pregnancy! How are you feeling?
Thank you! I’m currently 32 weeks along and my little ones are 18 months & 3 years old, so as you can probably imagine, it’s a little more tiring this time around! However, I absolutely love being pregnant, especially as I get to come to work feeling so inspired every day!
As the mastermind behind many of our most innovative products, can you tell us where your inspiration comes from?
I’m a firm believer that the right wardrobe can play a big part in a woman’s smooth journey into motherhood. And what better source of inspiration could I ask for than being on this path myself? I can honestly say I’ve never felt so inspired as I am in my own motherhood journey.
I came up with the idea for our skin to skin tops thanks to my first pregnancy. After welcoming my daughter I started making notes about what I wanted, and by the time my son arrived a year and a half later, the top I’d dreamed up was ready to use.
The same thing happened with my son – as I breastfed him, I was thinking about all the ways I could improve the nursing bras that I had. All those ideas went into making our new Baby Sensory Bra, which features a full-coverage modesty panel with a high-contrast print to keep baby focussed, as well as wide supportive straps to encourage good posture & prevent back ache. I can’t wait to try it out once my new little one arrives!
Being in the motherhood space and listening to other mums around me is also a massive bonus. I absorb everything I can regarding the hurdles we face as mothers and I am always on the lookout for a solution we can offer at Seraphine!
Do you think your own pregnancies & experience of motherhood have affected your approach to design?
I’ve been designing maternity clothing since the start of my career, so naturally my approach has evolved. My interest in the fashion industry has always been focused on empowering women to feel confident in their bodies. Part of that drive comes from being curvy myself since my teen years and always feeling frustrated with ill-fitting clothing on the high street.
It’s fair to say that at the start of my career, my focus was on designs that fit the body well and adapt with curves. As the years passed, I became very aware of the environmental impact of short-use clothing – and so it became a focus of mine to ensure all pieces we design provide longevity through adaptability & functionality. Our 3 in 1 babywearing jackets are the perfect example – the work with your bump through pregnancy, adapt for babywearing & can be worn long afterwards too as a regular coat!
Later, my experience of being a busy mum in an age where we put a great deal of pressure on ourselves to be great both at home and at work, has given me the edge for innovation. I take great satisfaction in continually revolutionising the modern maternity wardrobe to be really hardworking.
As an expectant mama yourself, what are your personal must-have pieces – the ones you get the most wear out of?
There are some pieces that I swear I wear whenever they are clean! My favourites through the work week are the two-piece dresses – most of which will see me well into the spring and for nursing.
Great lingerie is a must, and on the weekends I live in our dungarees. I must admit, I never wore dungarees pre-motherhood, but I find they are the perfect piece for being active with my kids – with or without a bump!
What are your top recommendations for:
Invest in comfy lingerie – it’s important to have a good selection that you can wear as your body changes – a growing bustline is one of the first areas we see change.
For comfort I’d go for the maternity dungarees + some great nursing tops to layer under them.
The 3 in 1 babywearing hoodie is a must-have for evening strolls. Also, I’ve had 2 caesareans so the post maternity shaping jeans are a personal favourite of mine – they give me great support once I’ve fully healed, which is great for babywearing!
And finally, as a working mother, do you have any tips for balancing work & family life?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! It seems an obvious one, but so many of us take on too much. I’m guilty of assuming that those around me just ‘know’ what I need from them, and so often a little more communication goes a long way!
Similarly with your doctor or midwife, if anything ever just doesn’t feel right, or if you have a gut instinct something is wrong, listen to it and insist on getting the help you need – taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of your family!