Hi. My name is Nicole. I am the founder of MAMAKU. I am your typical mum. I have two boys, a husband, and a mortgage. We live in the Central Coast, NSW – just north of Sydney – our house is about a 10 minute walk to the beach. We have one car, one income and mountains of washing.
I wear clothes. Everyday. I have been pregnant or breastfeeding, or both, for just over 4 years now. In that time I really haven’t bought anything for myself to wear that is of any interest. Every purchase gets assessed as ‘can I breastfeed in this?’ or ‘how will this look smeared with vomit or grimy hand prints?’
When I was pregnant with my first son, I was still working, buying maternity clothes that I could wear at work which I could ‘so conveniently’ breastfeed in after. Then I had my son and I mooched about loving him in my disposable undies and a tank top. My old maternity shorts with the stretchy waistband were so comfy! I was going to live in my maternity clothes for ever.
But, it wasn’t long before those shorts fell down around my knees. And my fancy work tops were stretched to oblivion when I went to 42 weeks pregnant, not to mention seriously not my style for coffee at the beach. So I went out and bought every feeding tank top I could find; even though they each had a convenient pouch for a growing belly; and every single one black with the occasional black/grey stripe. Then I searched the internet for something nice to wear.
Crickets. There was nothing.
I started sewing tops and dresses for myself in fun colours and prints. My friends all thought they were fabulous, so I made quite a few for them too. And so, the idea for MAMAKU was born.
The name MAMAKU comes from where I grew up – in the Kaimai-Mamaku ranges in New Zealand, playing in the bush, swimming in the rivers. My memories of this place are happy and of family.
MAMAKU is also the Maori name of the black tree fern that is iconic of the NZ native bush and is the unfurling frond of a fern that is symbolised in the Maori ‘Koru’ design, evoking meanings of new beginnings, growth and connections between generations.