Hi! I’m Mary Clavieres and I’m the founder of Brief Transitions mesh underwear. Brief Transitions are best known for being the go-to underwear after childbirth (during postpartum recovery), and they are also used after surgeries or other medical procedures.
I started Brief Transitions after the birth of my first daughter when I couldn’t find mesh underwear to buy in the store. What makes this underwear unique is that they are super stretchy and there isn’t an elastic waistband so they don’t put pressure around the midsection - especially important while in recovery!
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I started Brief Transitions as a side hustle after the birth of my first child. I spent almost 15 years in pharmaceutical manufacturing before I had my daughter and started on this path. Truthfully, I never intended to start a business or leave my corporate job to run my own business full time.
Be mindful of the source and draw your own conclusions, but at the end of the day your ability to learn, grow, and adapt will set you apart from the rest.
I originally had the idea for Brief Transitions because I wanted more underwear that the hospital had given me for my recovery, but I couldn't find them to buy. I couldn’t understand why women didn’t have access to such an important product during a critical point in their recovery.
My journey really started with me asking “Why aren’t these underwear available?” and it grew from there. Since I didn’t have big plans, I took things step by step. I started with researching manufacturers and then reviewing samples. Little by little I kept making progress. I started to read blogs and listened to podcasts about building a product business. I developed the packaging and made a logo.
Fun fact, when I first started I had a completely different name (that was hard to pronounce and no one understood what it meant - I don’t recommend that!). I rebranded to Brief Transitions when I realized this was going to be a bigger brand and I wanted it to fit the product.
I started with an investment of about $10,000 all in. I said, ok, this is what I’m willing to use to purchase products and test things out. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, I can live with the loss.
Everything grew from there.
Building a business out of your own need is an incredibly powerful place to come from. Knowing why I started Brief Transitions and being so connected to my mission to bring postpartum mesh underwear to women globally is what drives me.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
I first had the idea for Brief Transitions after the birth of my first daughter. Having a newborn along with a business idea is a lot to handle so in the beginning I worked on things very slowly. When I first had the idea I didn’t act on it right away. I thought about it and let it simmer for a while. Then, I thought about what steps I could take. For example, my background was already in manufacturing so I was able to outline a few steps around what I’d need to do.
I knew that mesh underwear was already produced (since the hospital provided them), so I set out to learn about how they are made and find a manufacturer. After that, I reached out to manufacturers (as many as I could find because a lot of them won’t reply), and I requested samples. From there, I worked on things step by step. Finalizing the product, determining to package, setting up a website (or an account with a third-party platform like Amazon).
I really took it to step by step and asked myself ‘What do I need to do next?”. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and think you need to do everything at once, but at the end of the day, one step at a time really works. I had a baby at home and I was still working full time in the corporate role when I first started Brief Transitions. Needless to say, it was pretty hectic. So I worked on Brief Transitions at night or on weekends and I tried not to get hung up on doing everything at once.
As Brief Transitions began to really grow, my corporate job started requiring a lot of travel and time away from home. By then, I had two children and the lifestyle wasn’t sustainable for me anymore. I made a plan to pursue Brief Transitions full time and left my corporate job in 2018. Since then, I’ve worked on growing Brief Transitions both online and with wholesale customers. Even though I would have never imagined I’d be where I am now, I’m so grateful for this opportunity and the work that I get to do every day.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Brief Transitions continues to grow in a variety of ways. I originally started by hand packing all of the product myself. Since then, I’ve moved on to using a fulfillment center for all of my orders. This allows me to spend more time on product development and marketing efforts for our overall growth.
I see a lot of possibilities for the future that may include an expansion in the retail space as well as some new product development that I have in the works.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
I’ve learned so many things!
I had a tough time a couple of years ago when my listings on Amazon were shut down for 8+ weeks and I wasn’t selling on any other platforms. I learned a big lesson there. Don’t have all your eggs in one basket. And definitely have your own store (I recommend the Shopify platform) in addition to any third-party platforms.
The most helpful habit is continuing to show up every day. When things get hard, take a break, but then come back and start again. Also, be willing to try new things and get outside of your comfort zone.
I’ve definitely learned a lot about myself in the process of being an entrepreneur. The amount that stretches you into new areas and forces you to grow is a lot of fun (even if it is also scary sometimes!).
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
I use Shopify to run my eCommerce store. I’ve found they support e-commerce in such a powerful way and they connect directly with my fulfillment center.
Asana is my favorite project management software. I use the free version of it and it has all I need to keep track of my projects efficiently.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I’m a huge fan of NPR’s How I Built This with Guy Raz. The podcast is an excellent resource and he recently came out with a book to go with it. There are so many incredible founder stories that are featured in such an authentic way.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of my all-time favorite books. I love the story and all of the complexities that are weaved into it.
What It Takes by Raegan Moya-Jones is another favorite of mine. She talks about how she built Aden & Anais and her experiences with having investors in her business. I found it really eye-opening while scaling a product business.
I’ve also enjoyed a lot of books around the mindset that have helped me in different parts of my journey. Play Big by Tara Mohr is a favorite of mine. She covers challenges that women face and how they can work through these blocks with actionable tips and takeaways. I also follow Dr. Joe Dispenza and his viewpoints about rewiring our brains and how we create our realities.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
Surround yourself with people who support you and who have started their own businesses. It’s important to work with people who understand what you’re going through and who can give you advice from their own experiences. Starting your own business goes against what a lot of us are taught from a young age, so the more you surround yourself with people who see the possibilities, the better.
Always be willing to learn and grow. This can be through books, podcasts, blogs like Starter Story, or any other way you like to consume information. Be mindful of the source and draw your own conclusions, but at the end of the day, your ability to learn, grow, and adapt will set you apart from the rest.
Where can we go to learn more?
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