Why I Created Mitera
I am passionate about Global Public Health. I first became interested in this field because of a personal loss. My father passed away a month after I graduated from college from a complication from Hepatitis C which he contracted from a tainted blood transfusion at a hospital. I was working at a NYC law firm at the time hoping to study human rights law someday but this life event sparked my interest in the importance of functioning public health policy and system. I went back to graduate school to study international public health and worked for organizations such as the World Bank and the Clinton Foundation's Health Access Initiative for 15 years until I left to start Mitera.
Though I left my job security behind to take the road less traveled as an entrepreneur, I see starting and developing Mitera as an extension of my public health passion and career.
Because Mitera's underlying core mission is to help improve mothers and babies lives. People often scuff at fashion as vain and superficial but in reality fashion and personal style have an important place in people’s lives; for women this is especially true not only as a means of self-expression but also as an important factor in instilling confidence and empowerment.
Women today face extreme pressure to make all the “right” choices as mothers, and the issues surrounding motherhood are complex and increasingly politicized. I have always believed that women, regardless of their personal choices as mothers, need to be supported, but actively experiencing the challenges of breastfeeding and working at the same time made that belief even stronger.
Photos: Of Liberia by Yoko Shimada
The pregnancy and postpartum periods of women’s lives are often the most special times, but they aren’t easy. While mothers are told “breast is best,” and encouraged to do their “best” by breastfeeding their babies, there is still little understanding, acceptance or support for public breastfeeding. When mothers return to work, pumping at workplaces introduces yet another challenge. The last thing a mother needs is to be further inhibited by her clothing, but when I was in this stage, that’s exactly how I felt. I could not find clothes that allowed me to lead a meeting at work and go off to pump, or go to a party or a wedding and breastfeed my baby. The paltry selection of utilitarian nursing clothes available at the time was not at all for me. Compromising not only on style but quality by buying something that I knew had a very short shelf life felt like a big waste. I desperately wanted something that were well-designed and high quality that I could wear beyond the nursing and pumping period of my life and through my motherhood journey.
The lack of appropriate and stylish wardrobe choices is one of the biggest barriers to breastfeeding, but despite all the recent focus on motherhood issues, there has been little innovation in this area. Women should feel their best and have the option to dress well while they grow life inside them and sustain those lives through breastfeeding. This clothing should also be something that women would want to and are able to wear through pregnancy and nursing and beyond as they add to their families.
So, I started Mitera, a fashion brand that champions hardworking, committed and loving moms who are style-savvy, passionate, fun-loving, active, well-traveled, cultured, intellectually curious, and socially conscious and engaged.
I believe that Happy Moms = Happy Babies. Through Mitera, I not only hope to return the spotlight to those gorgeous, intelligent, and successful women who also happen to be fantastic mothers but also leverage the collective power of motherhood to make a positive impact on the lives of moms and babies' who are less fortunate.