MothersWork: How a Young Mother Started a Business on a Shoestring and Built it Into a Multi-million Dollar Company

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Doubleday, 1999 - Business & Economics - 268 pages
With a new baby, little money, but lots of determination and drive, Rebecca Matthias started a business from scratch out of her home some eighteen years ago. Today her company, Mothers Work--which includes the retail outlets Mimi Maternity, Motherhood, and A Pea in the Pod--has grown to become a multimillion-dollar maternity clothing empire.

Written with a refreshingly candid, can-do attitude, MothersWork describes how Matthias got her company off the ground--offering specific lessons for other entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs on the nuts and bolts of building and growing your dream. The first step, of course, is fastening on what it is you plan to sell.

As Matthias searched for an idea for a new company--around the time of her first pregnancy--she was discovering how impossible it was to find maternity clothes suitable for the office. Realizing that other professional women were in the same boat, Matthias launched a mail-order business selling maternity clothes. The initial response was staggering, and Matthias's company was on its way. What they discovered was that, unlike new mothers of a generation earlier, women were staying in the workforce throughout their pregnancies. The shift was a revolution in the workplace, with Mothers Work supplying the uniforms. Over the next few years, despite a series of setbacks as Matthias and her husband grappled with managing accounting, sales, inventory, and financing, the company gradually took off.

In the course of describing how she built her business, Matthias reveals hard-won lessons she learned about how to research an idea, test it in the market, raise money, deal with employees, taxes, bankers, cash flow, marketing, franchising, and more. Both motivational and deeply personal, MothersWork offers a three-dimensional blueprint for every woman--and man--who dreams of successfully starting a company.

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MothersWork: how a young mother started a business on a shoestring and built it into a multi-million dollar company

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Some 18 years ago, Matthias launched a mail-order business selling professional maternity clothes, and the response was staggering. Today MothersWork, which oversees 620 retail outlets like Mimi ... Read full review


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About the author (1999)

Rebecca Matthias is president and founder of Mothers Work, Inc., a multimillion-dollar public company that manufactures and sells maternity apparel through 620 stores around the country. A graduate of MIT, Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania, she is a frequent speaker to small business and entrepreneurial audiences. She is the mother of three and lives in Philadelphia.

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