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Thursday, January 31, 2019

I Inspire Women to Keep Wearing — and Doing — What They Love Holly Kjar launched an online business to empower and give back to women.

While pregnant with Maely, her fourth child, Holly Kjar wanted a way to stay stylish and comfortable. Maternity jeans were expensive, and she had tried every belly band out there with no success. With the help of her mother, Holly created the Maeband: an accessory that attaches to the waistband so women can continue wearing their favorite jeans throughout their pregnancy.
After five years of manufacturing challenges — and Holly’s perseverance and discipline while raising a family — the Maeband became a bestseller on Amazon. Alongside her shop at, Holly highlights strong women on her blog, creating a community through which women can band together and inspire one another. Here, she talks about her vision for her business, and how she went about turning it into reality.

Creating a product for herself — and other women

When I was pregnant with my fourth child, Maely, I just wanted to keep wearing my jeans. Already having three children, I had lots of pairs of maternity jeans but I just didn’t like them. Our family was on a tight budget, so I searched online for different things to try, like belly bands that go around your entire waist. But they would slip up or down and didn’t work the way I expected. I thought, there’s got to be another way.
I looked in the mirror one day and thought, what if I could add some stretch just to the front part of my jeans? I thought maybe my mom could make something for me—she made my wedding dress, after all. When I first told her about the idea, she was all in. Originally, we thought she’d make them and I’d sell them, and that’s how we’d run the business. But my mom is in her seventies, and once we got going, we realized that she couldn’t make these all on her own! We then began to look at manufacturers. But my mom made the initial investment and helped me make the prototype. We called it the Maeband, named after Maely.
We put the Maeband up on Amazon in February 2017. I went on Instagram and started to reach out to pregnant women — using hashtags and whatnot — and tried to find people, especially those with lots of followers, who might like some sample Maebands. I emailed a woman from Arizona who worked for iHeartRadio and told her my story. She tried and loved the Maeband and ended up giving me a shoutout on the radio. Because of her, people started to search for the Maeband on Amazon, which organically ranked my product higher. I got good reviews, and within the first year it was a bestseller in belly bands and maternity jeans.

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