22 Cult-Favorite Baby Brands Founded by Badass Moms
April 29, 2019
Moms are superheroes. Don’t ever mistake dirty hair, wrinkled clothes or a messy house for a lack of drive. They’ve got bigger fish to fry—like raising tiny humans to be happy, healthy adults. And when faced with common parenting woes, they don’t break the wheel, they reinvent it. Behind almost every one of your favorite baby brands, there’s a mom whose kid inspired her to change the game. Need proof? Take a look at some of the most cult-worthy brands and the empowering women behind them.
Manasi Gangan was a tired mom trying to get her baby to sleep, when one night she decided to replace her hand on her son’s chest with a small stuffed toy. She noticed the gentle pressure helped him sleep, and wondered if applying gentle pressure to baby’s chest could be the answer to sleep-deprived parents’ problems. So, she began researching. Working with doctors, pediatric pulmonologists, safety labs and parent testers, Gangan launched a gently weighted Swaddle—and Nested Bean was born. In recent years, the company has expanded to offer lightly weighted sleep sacks, footies, onesies and more. Today, Nested Bean continues to innovate and create safe products to help babies and parents everywhere get better sleep.
Known for its innovative skincare products, California Baby has been a staple in the baby space for more than 20 years. At the root of the company is Jessica Iclisoy, a mom who wanted more from the products she was using on her young children. Her journey led her to find, and ultimately create, a line that was safe for babies to use, starting with the company’s first product, the California Baby Calming Shampoo & Body Wash, which is still an all-time parent favorite. The line has since expanded to include body wash, diaper rash cream, sunscreen and more.
Prende in Portuguese means “to hold or to fasten” and in Albanian mythology, Prende is the Goddess of Love & Beauty. TQ Evans, a birth doula and founder of Prende Pants, didn’t recognize herself after having three kids and suffering from Diastasis Recti. With her search for maternity clothing that would both support her changing body and help her feel like herself and with her experience as a birth doula, she saw firsthand how pregnancy and the postpartum period can change a woman’s sense of self. Wanting to help moms reclaim this, she set out to create Prende Pants, post-pregnancy, high-waisted and eco-friendly leggings that offer adjustable compression options and built-in belly wrapping.
Back in 2016, one couple set out on a mission to create affordable, eco-friendly diapers made without any harmful chemicals. It led to the creation of ABBY&FINN, a diaper subscription service that lets parents choose the size, design and frequency of their order. Amanda Little, co-founder of the company, created it to help give parents an affordable and flexible diaper subscription with high quality products. To date, they’ve honored their promise. The diaper subscription service is 30 percent more affordable than other chlorine-free brands and gives back. For every box sold the company donates diapers to families in need.
Launched by Vogue alums Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza Roccia, Maisonette serves as an exclusive one-stop shop for children’s apparel, accessories and toys. But before it became a beloved baby brand, it was simply an idea that spurred from hours spent on children’s websites. Quickly realizing the need for a more efficient way to shop online for kids, the pair left their day jobs at Vogue and set off on a mission to create the curated shopping solution for parents.
Wouldn’t you love to have homemade baby food without having to actually spend the time making it? Good news—you can (no really!). CEO Angela Sutherland was frustrated by the lack of nutritious options for babies and toddlers at the grocery store as a new mom. So, she launched Yumi, a baby food service that delivers fresh, nutritious food, and provides information about each meal and how the ingredients were picked based off of the child’s development and milestones.
Dagne Dover was founded by three women, Melissa Mash, Deepa Gandhi and Jessy Dover, in 2013, all who came from different backgrounds but had a similar drive to problem-solve and make busy lives easier through smart design—and that’s exactly what Dagne Dover does. The company offers a range of bags in clever color palettes that are thoughtfully curated so there’s a pocket for everything and everything stays in its place—(because there’s nothing worse than spending 10 minutes digging into the depths of your bag to find your wallet at the checkout counter)—all without sacrificing on style. Bonus: Dagne Dover is non-toxic, 100 percent vegan and donates excess inventory to charities like Single Mothers Outreach.
Cotton muslin baby blankets are the norm in Australia, where Raegan Moya-Jones grew up. But when she started a new life and family in New York City, she couldn’t find them anywhere. She was left to resort to fleece, flannel or heavy cotton—not ideal materials for swaddling. That’s when the idea for aden + anais was born. Its muslin swaddle blankets were an instant hit in the states, and have since been a newborn staple for many parents since the company’s launch in 2006.
Freshly Picked was born out of necessity when Susan Petersen found her son’s chubby feet wouldn’t fit into normal baby shoes. The mom came up with her own solution, and started DIY-ing moccasins for him to wear. Once others got a look at the super-unique kicks, they wanted it for their own kid, so she started selling them on Etsy and at craft shows. Now, the company is known by moms near and far, and has expanded to include kids’ clothing, chic diaper bags and more.
Sure as the sky is blue, every parent with a newborn has a phone with dwindling storage space. The photo opportunities are endless and you have to capture them all. After all, nothing is quite as irresistible as a sleeping baby. Founder Gabriela Anggono spent so much time watching and photographing her little ones sleep, one day she realized their crib sheets actually served as the backdrop for these photos. Eventually Anggono launched Rookie Humans, which reimagine crib sheets to help parents capture the beauty and magic of those fleeting moments with whimsical sheets that bring stories to life around baby.
Twin sisters Eleanor and Angel founded Loulou Lollipop to create baby products that truly embrace form and function. It started when Eleanor’s daughter Kinsley started teething and the pair wanted to create something fun and safe for her to teeth on. The twins firmly believe in connecting new moms to their personal sense of style and “live for extra-special in both design and function.” The brand is known for its bold pops of color and offers everything from silicone teething jewelry to cozy muslin blankets. Plus, all products are CPSC-, ASTM- and CPSIA- compliant, as well as meet international safety standards.
Shelley Suh didn’t find many maternity clothes that were both stylish and functional when she was pregnant. So, following the birth of her children, she set out to create her own line of maternity wear—one that was both functional and chic—and launched Loyal Hana in 2014. All the clothing from Loyal Hana is set to last from pregnancy to breastfeeding and beyond, with clever details, such as discreetly hidden zipper openings, machine-washable fabrics and stylish silhouettes. The goal? To give back to the soon-to-be moms who already give so much.
Becoming a mom was in equal parts exhilarating and terrifying for Nasiba Adilova. She wanted to give her baby the very best and safest products on the market, but with such a massive selection to choose from, she didn’t know where to begin—which sparked her idea for The Tot. The online resource combines advice-driven articles from a network of experts with a retail platform where moms can shop safe, fashion-forward products for their babies and themselves.
Elle Rowley made the first Solly Baby wrap in 2011 after the birth of her second child, Solomon (hence the name!). She wanted something comfortable and chic to wear that would meet her newborn’s needs, but also allow her to keep up with her toddler. After long nights experimenting with different fabrics and designs, Solly Baby was born. She became hooked after experiencing the closeness and comfort a wrap offered her with her child. While the postpartum period can be tough for many moms, she believes the connection made between mom and baby can be pretty magical—and Solly Baby’s wraps aim to help nurture that bond.
Bumkins is a fun, baby feeding brand designed for millennial parents. Its most buzzed-about products include cute and quirky utensils, placemats and bibs to make mealtime memorable. Founded by mom Jakki Liberman, it provides functional products made with fun designs that also won’t harm the environment. As a mom to two young kids and a newborn, Liberman was anxious at the thought of leaving her kids to go to work, so she began developing eco-friendly baby products that fit her needs. Bumkins has since expanded and developed new products, but the goal remains the same: To make products that appeal to both kids and parents and to make parents’ lives easier.
Pumping moms are constantly lugging cargo around. But finding a bag that’s big enough to fit all the daily essentials (hello breast pump) and isn’t a total eyesore is no easy feat. Luckily, Sarah Wells offers moms some trendy options. Not only are the brand’s bags stylish and functional, but they’re also made to withstand daily on-the-go wear and tear. The company has even expanded to include additional breastfeeding accessories, including hands-free pumping bras.
Maya Shalev previously worked as a lawyer and trained mediator prior to becoming a mom. While staying at home with her kids for a few years, she observed their development and set out to create the products she felt were missing in the market. In 2015 she tested her idea of baby utensils with her son, who was six months old at the time and learning how to self-feed. A year later, Shalev sent her ideas for a full line of baby utensils into production, catching the eye of moms on social media immediately. Four years later and Grabease now operates all over the country and internationally, giving back to the community through Project Elli&Nooli, which serves to help pregnant women and children.
Shennel Fuller founded the baby clothing line after she became pregnant. Upon announcing the news, she found herself flooded with well-intended, but not particularly useful, gifts from loved ones, as they didn’t quite match her aesthetic. So, she set out to create a baby brand that veered away from pink tutus for girls and leather jackets for boys and focused more on a minimal, yet thoughtful design. Miles and Milan provides parents with basics that are fuss-free, playful, timeless and gender-neutral.
Bubbsi aims to bring the giggles back to the baby aisle. Founder Shewta Doshi set on a path to create Bubbsi after her daughter developed eczema. Finding herself underwhelmed at the options available to her, she decided to use her previous experience in the beauty industry to design her own skincare for her daughter. Using organic coconut oil—a natural remedy with strong ties to her Indian heritage—Doshi was able to soothe and eventually clear up her daughter’s eczema. Through her experience, she learned that healthy baby skincare products can sometimes be too serious (and at times scary) for the little bubs they’re designed for. So, she developed Bubbsi, a healthy and gentle baby skincare that, with it’s fun and adorable bottles, brings some fun back into bathtime.
Founder and “chairmom” Shazi Visram launched Happy Baby (now Happy Family) after seeing her friend, a new mom to twins, struggle with finding healthy baby food options in the market. While attending Columbia Business School, she decided to create a line that not only offered organic and thoughtfully-made food, but also addressed health issues linked to childhood nutrition. Since the launch in 2006, the company has expanded to offer baby cereal, formula, toddler superfoods and so much more.
Michelle Tunno Buelow launched Bella Tunno in 2005 as a passion project to help vulnerable kids. She was pregnant with her first child at the time and began sewing bibs and burp clothes from her home. Giving back has always been at the core of the company, as she donated to kids in need beginning with the very first sale. Now, 16 years later, Bella Tunno has grown into a cult-favorite company with multiple feeding product offerings that continue to give back with each purchase. Plus, all their products are 100 percent CPSIA-compliant and the company was recently named a certified B Corportation.
Founder Melissa Clayton was in search of the perfect “mommy necklace” after she became a mom. When she didn’t find one, she created her own. Ultimately, Clayton left her job as CPA and launched Tiny Tags, a fine jewelry brand that creates unique and customizable jewelry for moms around the globe. What started out as hand-stamping jewelry on her kitchen counter has, seven years later, turned into a brand that’s garnered a cult following, including from celebrities like Meryl Streep, Selma Blair and Hoda Kotb.
Updated March 2021