Maternity line Hatch has a new investor — and a new set of sister brands.
Marquee Brands quietly took a minority stake in Hatch, and has created the Hatch Collective, which will also operate Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity.
Hatch’s founder and chief executive officer Ariane Goldman — who launched the modern maternitywear brand in 2011 — is heading up the collective, which debuted a new site Tuesday. The structural shift comes more than three years after Marquee Brands bought Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity out of bankruptcy. Goldman declined to pinpoint the financials of Marquee’s investment in Hatch.
There is growth potential in the maternity category, according to a report by Technavio, which said the segment could grow $2.91 billion between 2020 and 2025, driven in part by increased demand from emerging countries. The fertility rate in the U.S. declined from 2015 to 2020, with a low of fewer than six births per 100 women between the ages of 15 and 44, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Hatch is known for its modern maternity offerings, but there’s limited competition in the maternity sector, though Adidas, Asos and H&M all sell maternity clothing. Motherhood Maternity and Destination Maternity do not have any freestanding stores, and there are plans to close Pea in the Pod’s New York and Chicago locations in the next few months. Destination Maternity’s current business consists only of a licensing deal with Walmart.
“Maternity is not a sexy category,” Goldman said, noting that she was inspired to dive into the sector because “people overlook this need. They think it is a finite period of time. The truth is that a freshman class of pregnant women come in round and round again, looking for a brand to offer them these solutions.”
With many mothers and mothers-to-be self-styling the clothes they wear during their pregnancies, the concept of maternitywear is dated for millions.
“It is kind of dated. I like to look at it as new motherhood. Our offering is to provide her with solutions as she embarks on pregnancy and to get her through. Also, ‘fourth trimester’ and after has become an explosive category for us. Through nursing, getting back to [feeling like] herself and getting back to work, we have extended that timeline to the first year of having a child,” Goldman said.
Earlier this month, the 68 corporate employees and 12 store workers across the brands learned about the new vision and integration via a town hall meeting.
Goldman has no plans to dissolve any of the brands, she said, and will focus on differentiating the targeted customer base and value of each brand. Destination Maternity once had hundreds of stores, and still has a lot of brand equity, she said, though the current deal with Walmart is “quite small.”
The plan is to “elaborate and blow out” Motherhood Maternity, which wholesales to major retailers like Amazon and Macy’s with affordable pieces and is “the real revenue driver,” Goldman said.
Her goal is to modernize the product to reach more women at that price point, she said.
When she started Hatch following the birth of her first daughter, Goldman set out to create a company that played up modern maternitywear. What started as a 10-piece assortment has evolved into an omnichannel business that includes beauty, retail stores and broader wholesale relationships. With three Hatch stores in SoHo and the Upper East Side in New York and Brentwood, California, the company is scouting another location for this year possibly in Boston or Dallas.
“The next year is going to be spent digesting these businesses, recognizing the synergies, understanding our strategy in the brand architecture,” Goldman said. Individual strategies are expected to be devised for each brand within the next six months whether that be wholesale, direct-to-consumer or other channels.
Geared for women to wear before, during and after their pregnancies, the aspirational Hatch assortment is pricier compared to standard maternity clothes, with prices venturing into the hundreds of dollars and longevity meant to be a selling point.
Motherhood Maternity offers options with more value pricing. “It’s a different customer, a different household and likely different geographies,” Goldman said.
“It’s Pea in the Pod that we have to figure out who the customer is and where she sits. I like to think of her of a more fashion-forward, higher-spending consumer, when it come to dresses.” The brand’s dress prices fall between Hatch and Motherhood Maternity, with online styles priced from $66 to $178.
Pea in the Pod also needs some analysis to determine its place in the marketplace, Goldman noted.
Prior to launching Hatch, Goldman started and ran another apparel company, Twobirds, which made bridesmaids dresses that were designed to be worn again. She sold the company to a manufacturing partner in the summer of 2020, but declined to reveal the price.
Under the new plan, none of the maternity brands will be renamed, but fresher products, content, online services and customer experiences will be freshened up. In line with that, the Babe by Hatch online content platform will be extended with additional content and partnerships to give more women the opportunity to connect.
To build community, Hatch has hosted meet-and-greets for mothers-to-be, sleep training, CPR classes and diaper-changing tutorials for new fathers. During the pandemic, those events were digitalized and 25,000 people have since tuned in.
As of now, Babe by Hatch covers topics such as more stylish options than hospital gowns, vibrators during pregnancy, tips on safe exercise and self care based on moon signs. Free from any images of crying babies or harried mothers, the homepage targets mothers keen on fitness and self care, despite that not being a reality for many mothers.
Goldman said, “Babe will be retooled and will be very thoughtful about how we can service all three brands. The common denominator is motherhood and that comes in any shape, form, skin colors or household income. What I’m really excited about is thinking through how Babe can foster that conversation,” she said.
Goldman said she “never” expected Hatch to evolve as it has. “I never imagined that I would be absorbing the competition and having the pen to architect what this category looks like.”