Dear Ann Summers,
I had the pleasure of being invited to one of your parties last night and must say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Being almost 38 weeks pregnant, I particularly enjoyed perusing your maternity line which, by the way, you do not advertise heavily enough at all!!!! Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to promote a few of your more "mom friendly" items here on my blog.
1. The "Mia Babydoll, String set and Tickle Ties" was the first item which caught my eye! With it's open front design allowing room for your expanding belly, this charming number can be worn all through pregnancy and beyond! It's front tie ribbon closure is both charming and practical as it allows easy access for nursing and the ribbon tie underpants make for easy undressing in those later days of the third trimester when bending over can be so uncomfortable!
My one complaint (and this seems to be a common thread throughout your maternity wear by the way!) is that the woman modelling the outfit must only have been in the very early days of pregnancy as she was quite tiny which made it very tricky for me to identify this as "maternity wear" Perhaps in future you could use women a little further along then "the morning after?"
I must commend you though on including the "Tickle Ties," as not many outfits come with toys for the baby! These fluffly little fiends will provide hours of amusement for your small one although I wouldn't recommend leaving them to play with them unsupervised as both the feathers and ribbons offer a choking and strangulation hazard. Oh well! Points for trying:)
2."Pipa Crotchless Skirt" Now this item was a real charmer! I don't know why Mothercare hasn't brought out a line of these yet! Once again, I almost missed this little gem as a part of your maternity collection but upon closer inspection was able to distinguish it for what it was...
For those women who wish to retain a little bit of modesty and feminity while in labour, the "Pipa Crotchless Skirt" is definitely for you! With it's frilly black skirt keeping your front bits protected from prying eyes and it's attached crotchless panty allowing the doctor or Midwife easy access to your exposed vagina, you can forget about worrying over the state of your pubic area and concentrate instead on bringing your new little life into the world! What more could the discerning "Lady in Labour" wish for?
I would however suggest a small re-naming though in order to grab a larger portion of the "expecting" market. Perhaps the "Peek a Boo Modesty Maternity Skirt" would be slightly more appropriate.
3. In that same line, I also found what is perhaps one of my FAVOURITE items! The "Pipa Babydoll and string set." This nursing nightie is both stunning to behold with it's slinky black babydoll design with pink satin trim AND it's remarkably practical with it's cutaway "peek a boo" holes which completely reveal the nipple and full areola for easy infant suckling! Again, a rename may be in order, but with the proper marketing, this could easily become a best seller!
4. Regrettably, I would have to advise parents against shopping in your "Toy" section as many of your items, whilst made of child safe, medical grade rubbers and plastics, also contain small parts which could pose a choking hazard and your "edible" selections may provide hours of fun, but are entirely too high in sugar for my liking! Kudos though on the use of body parts not commonly seen in children's play items. Highly educational and extremely pioneering although again, some of the colours and sizes may not be anatomically correct representations and therefore confusing to small minds.
5. Your commitment to breastfeeding is to be applauded even if your methods are slightly misguided. The nipples will eventually toughen up by the continual suckling of your infant, additional assistance by use of nipple clamps is unecessary and may actually put the mother at a higher risk for blocked ducts and mastitis as well as causing unecessary pain and discomfort.
Your selection of nipple care products is quite extensive and while I understand that some of them may have "cross market appeal" you may want to rethink the labelling on some of your gels and lotions as their names can be quite misleading! As well, while many people may be under the impression that a baby may be enticed to drink more if mother's nipples tasted of strawberries, chocolate and pina colada, studies have shown that this is not the case. Also, the high levels of sugar in these products can have a detrimental effect on your baby's oral health.
6. I was quite charmed by the large range of products available for babies in the breech position. Studies have again shown that babies in the womb are sensitive to noises and sensations from the outside world and these vibrating wands, when placed against the tummy, will gently encourage your small one to turn into the proper birthing position, thus reducing the chances of a Cesarean Birth, the rates of which have soared in recent years! Your use of phallic design as a symbol of fertility also brings into play the male essence which was necessary in the creation of this little life and lets dad feel more a part of the process. Your "Rabbit" line is sure to give older children a giggle and let them become more involved in your pregnancy and welcoming their new little sibling to the world as well!
I'm afraid I must comment yet again though on the need for better labelling as there is a great need for such an innovative product as this and a lot of women are missing out on something which could potentially (and literally!) turn their pregnancy around.
Overall Ann, I have to commend you on your commitment to pregnant and nursing mothers and making them feel good about themselves during such an important part of their lives. However, I do feel that without proper labelling and marketing, sales in these areas are doomed to fall and threaten the viability of your entire maternity line (if it hasn't already!)
If you would like any help with this, I am more then happy to offer my skills and services and maybe together, we can "turn things around."