The Mom Behind the Brand: Nicole Noetzel of lovelymama
Tribe Magazine: Introduce yourself and your business.
Nicole Noetzel: My name is Nicole Noetzel and I´m the founder and CEO of lovelymama, a German start-up. My goal is to support modern mums with clever and stylish fashion for different stages in their motherhood. My “firstborn” is a special nursing nightgown which keeps the mother warm and protected when falling asleep during breastfeeding at night and makes her feel really well-dressed at home.
TM: Let’s start from the beginning. You knew you wanted to become a TV host and journalist at the age of 14. Can you describe what made you want to follow that dream?
NN: When I was 14 I had a crucial experience one day at school. I was attending a girls’ school which was featured on German TV for its good reputation and teaching methods. This TV company was looking for a girl my age to talk about her experiences on a live TV show and our headmistress had two particular girls in my class in mind who she thought were a good fit for this project. My name wasn´t on her list but nevertheless, I was casted by the TV company and chosen. The moment I stepped on the stage where the show was broadcasted I was so thrilled and inspired by the whole atmosphere, that from that moment on I wanted to become a TV journalist.
TM: Tell us about your very first TV host position. Did you know you had found your calling?
NN: The first show I hosted on German TV was a news magazine called “17:30 live aus Dortmund” on a channel called Sat.1. I will never forget the moment I was informed I had the job and I will also never forget the excitement and the joy that I felt in my whole body while hosting that show for the very first time. I couldn´t eat for a week after that and it kind of felt like being in love with your own inner voice.
TM: You were born in Germany but moved to England to study English and European Law. How did your time in England influence your career journey?
NN: Spending my late teens and early twenties in a different country helped me get to know who I was and who I could be. Finding new friends, making my way through some very hard law lectures and papers, and being “solo” in a new surrounding without well-known social structures helped me a lot to mature and grow. It was a great time finding out about true friendship, finding a “second family” away from home. I think that I could not have experienced all that staying at home in a comfortable nest. So apart from impressing many editors later when applying for TV jobs, I think that my time abroad was even more important when it comes to life experience and the ability to be compassionate and sensitive when I’m interviewing different people.
TM: You’re sort of a jack of all trades as a TV host, journalist, you also studied English law. What made you decide to launch lovelymama?
NN: It was a cold night in January 2014. My little baby daughter was quietly sleeping in my arm, my husband was happily snoring on the other side of the bed and I was wide awake at 3 a.m. because I woke up after having fallen asleep while breastfeeding in a horribly uncomfortable position – feeling cold, not being able to move (because I didn´t want to wake anyone). The reason I was so uncomfortable was that the nursing shirts or nightgowns I was wearing at that time were cut in a way that leaves your cleavage, arms, your back and neck uncovered. Especially when falling asleep which happened a lot during the first months of being a “24-hour-milk-bar.” That night I thought of a cut for a nursing shirt which I thought could solve my nocturnal problems. A couple of days later when I had enough energy I got my sewing machine and sewed my first prototype. After happily wearing it for the next several months I put it back in my closet after finishing nursing. One year later after talking to many mums having the same experiences I did while breastfeeding, I searched the internet for a nursing shirt just like mine. But the general nursing clothes’ necklines hadn’ t changed – even though mothers were obviously not happy with the variety the market offered. That´s when I thought, OK, I´m gonna have to do it myself.
TM: You’ve always loved fashion and have a keen eye for style. Can you describe how lovelymama incorporates style and convenience for nursing moms?
NN: You could say: a nightgown is a nightgown is a nightgown is a nightgown. But our “lovelydress” doesn´t only make night nursing easier and gives mothers better and more sleep, it also looks like something you feel good in and beautiful even if spending a lot of time at home. The idea of the nursing neckline is rather simple. It is a “simple and clean cut with a nursing neckline easy to access with only one hand. Just some inches of fabric in the right places keep you warm and protected. And it looks so good you will want to keep wearing it even after having finished nursing, as it does not look like a typical maternity garment.
TM: I know you’re conscious about the type of materials you use to create lovelymamas nightgowns. Please explain these materials used and why you chose them.
NN: Our nursing nightgown is made of certified organic cotton and bamboo. Both fabrics are cultivated without the use of pesticides. Combined they create a very clever fabric I just found out about while testing it. Bamboo has the ability to absorb sweat, regulate body temperature and even neutralize body odors. The fabric feels so soft and cozy which is comfortable for the mother and the baby and it brings some clever features to the table that make the nightshirt even more special.
TM: How does your nursing nightgown differ from others that are on the market today?
NN: The special cut of our “lovelydress” differs widely and completely from all other nursing necklines that are on the market so far. As it has only one opening – as opposed to the rather complicated nursing opening normal shirts have – it is easier to access. You only need one hand either way. You do not need to fumble to access your breast, it is not tricky at all. It is as easy as it can get and you will feel very well-dressed in it.
TM: Your nightgowns can be shipped all over the world—where are they most popular right now and where are you concentrating your marketing efforts?
NN: Germany and Switzerland are the best markets so far, but we also had orders from the U.S. which makes me very proud. My marketing efforts will concentrate on Europe for now and then we will see.
TM: What has been the hardest thing about launching your own business and being a mom?
NN: The hardest thing has been to find enough time in between jobs and life. Many mothers will agree that being a mom makes you feel guilty a lot. Guilty for not being there enough for your child, guilty for not being perfect at your job, guilty for not having the energy to socialize, to have time for your husband or just for yourself. So launching your own business could easily add to that list of “not having enough time anyway” – but I truly believe that spending your time with things you love cannot be wrong.
TM: What’s one piece of advice you would give to other moms who want to launch their own business?
NN: My advice would be to believe in yourself and your idea. There will always be thousands of reasons not to do things, not to follow your dream. But I think it is better to have tried it – no matter what the outcome will be – than to bury your dream and regret it when it might be too late. Having tried it and having experienced it all will be so much more fun to tell your Grandchildren about than having to tell them about all the buried dreams.
TM: As moms and entrepreneurs, we’re always trying to find balance. How do you practice or keep balance in your own life?
NN: I love reading books and watching films. That is my very special treat where I can leave everything behind and completely relax. Reading and seeing inspirational stories just make me happy and give me extra energy for everything that might come.
TM: What does your average day look like?
NN: I don´t have an “average day” and this is also a fact that I love about my jobs. Some days I will work together with a film team, doing interviews, broadcasting, some days I will work on new ideas for “lovelymama”, some days I will have to rush from one task to the other and never get one thing done perfectly. But no matter what kind of day it is – every day starts with our family having breakfast, me bringing my daughter to the Kindergarten, and after work at the end of the day playing with my child and bringing her to bed.
TM: What does success look like to you?
NN: Twenty years ago I would have answered that success has to include lots of money and status. Today I define my personal success in having a life with as many joyous moments as possible and doing all things with love. And when I say “doing things” I mean every single aspect of life, may it be as small as you can think of. I believe it makes a difference if you head to work in a rush or be mindful and attentive about the smell in the bakery or your colleague´s dress or the way you want to feel today. Success means personal happiness for me.
TM: What’s next for you and lovelymama?
NN: We will display our products at Europe´s biggest trade fair of all products concerning motherhood, baby and childcare, etc., called “Kind&Jugend” in Cologne, Germany. I´m very excited about it and it will certainly show me in what kind of direction lovelymama will be developping in the future. Also, our “lovelydress” got nominated for the German Design Award 2018 and I´m also very thrilled how this will play out.
TM: How can we support you and lovelymama?
NN: Let´s become friends at facebook, instagram and etsy 🙂
TM: Any special offers/announcements you want to share with our Tribe readers?
NN: Every tribe reader can send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and will get a 10% discount on our nursing nightgowns.