It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention. For Judy Masucci, necessity was the mother of her business.
Masucci, 43, of Pine Township was the head of a marketing department when she gave birth to her son six years ago. When she returned to work, she found nursing her son a real challenge.
“I couldn’t find any attractive nursing tops, and I certainly couldn’t find nursing bras that fit,” she said. Masucci said she wore size extra or double-X large tops and a size 40G-cup bra, sizes that stores didn’t carry.
The new mother returned to work when her son, Javin Parker, was 4 months old. While she would pump her milk at work, she would also take Javin and his nanny with her when she had to travel for work.
Because she nursed Javin every hour, she often found herself nursing in public.
“I didn’t mind if they caught a flash of my breast, but I didn’t want them seeing my big stomach,” she laughed.
In her quest to find comfortable and attractive clothing that allowed for easy nursing, Masucci said she would stay up late at night, “scouring the Internet.”
While she found some clothes that fit the bill, she also often had to return items, adding to her frustration.
“I figured if I was going through this, other new mothers must be,” she said.
She quit her high-powered job in October 2006 when her son was 15 months old, took a few months off doing “mommy things” then created a business to bring nursing clothing and products to the Pittsburgh area.
“In January of 2007, I started formulating my business plan, and then in April I started ‘A Mother’s Boutique,’” she said.
Masucci first took clothes and nursing products to the new mothers’ homes.
“I knew that new mothers would have a hard time getting out,” she said. As her business and inventory grew, those trips became more difficult.
Soon she opened up the shop out of her Pine Township home. She expanded and opened an online store.
“I used my formal living room as my office and showroom. I kept my inventory in my basement and had a portable dressing room,” said Masucci.
For three-and-a-half years, that worked until Masucci’s business again outgrew her space.
"It would get to be embarrassing when I would have new shipments sitting in my hallway and living room and my clients would have to step around the boxes,” she said.
With her primary focus still Javin and her husband, Jacques Parker, she wanted to be close and have limited hours. In January 2010 she moved to a small storefront shop at nearby 145 Lake Drive in Wexford.
At first, she had very limited hours. Now that Javin is in first grade, she has expanded shop hours and offers one-on-one appointments. Masucci also has a thriving online store with her presence on Facebook, Twitterand her blog, mommynewsblog.com.
On her blog, Masucci gives new mothers advice about breast feeding and other topics.
“Someone called me the boob whisperer,” she shared.
Masucci’s business is A Mother’s Boutique, LLC and includes the shop, the online store and a wholesale store for other retailers. She also has obtained exclusive rights for a line of nursing clothing from a manufacturer in Singapore and hopes to obtain one for a company in Canada.
With a Ph.D. in genetics from Columbia University, Masucci worked as a scientist and was in product management and sales at biotech companies. She did marketing and management work before she moved into what she refers to as “this life.”
Despite the uncertain economy and challenges of owning her own business, Masucci has never regretted starting her own business.
“My business was built around my life. And, knock on wood, my business has grown 30 percent to 60 percent every year,” she said.
Masucci runs the business with a part-time employee who helps with the online business.
Although her businesses are very successful, Masucci believes the best part is helping other mothers.
“I know how hard it was for me to find a good bra that fits, and I didn’t want other women to go through that,” she said.
“I work as hard if not harder now, but it is for me, it is my business, "Masucci said.