By Cady Kuzmich
The Daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Talk about women in small business with a “business for women” One Northeast mompreneur has invented a device called extendher which can be used during pregnancies and after for holding your baby hands-free. It grows with your pregnancy, so no more buying a big winter coat you probably won’t wear again (at least until your next baby!)
Maria Messier, a registered nurse turned entrepreneur based in Clifton Park, said she has “created a solution to a “growing” problem.”
Though she has been a nurse for 15 years, Messier said she has always had “an entrepreneurial mind.”
After having four children and experiencing the discomforts of pregnancy during harsh northeastern winters, Messier decided to come up with her own solution to a problem pregnant women have been dealing with for ages — how to make your winter coat fit as you grow through your pregnancy, without buying a huge coat you won’t ever wear again.
She realizes maternity coats are nice, but noted not everyone can afford to buy a new coat for their pregnancy. “They are expensive and are used for such a short time,” she said.
She calls it the Extendher and it can be used during pregnancies and after for holding your baby hands-free. It is an extending panel which clips onto outerwear with a zipper. According to their website, the product has adjustable pull toggles to ensure a great fit throughout each stage of pregnancy.
Having experienced the frustrations of coats that refused to zip first-hand, Messier began to wonder why something like the Extendher did not already exist. She shared the idea with her aunt, Joanne Frank of Schenectady, at a family gathering. Frank, who worked as a fashion designer for 40 years, told her niece, “You are on to something,” and agreed to create the first prototype.
“After many tweaks and changes, our final extendher was born,” said Messier.
She said the best part is that you can still use the product after having a baby by using it as a baby carrier. The Extendher is not only for expectant mothers, but can also be worn by fathers, grandparents and babysitters. Messier said “Babywearing is huge right now, so customers really love this option.” The Extendher comes in a variety of colors. Heavyweight and lightweight options are available for different seasons.
The business, Extendher LLC, became official in 2015. Messier said their product has been featured on Elaine Houston’s “Today’s Women” on News Channel 13, WNYT.
“Most importantly,” said Messier, “we are 100 percent made in the USA, manufactured in upstate NY.” The Extendhers are being manufactured in Little Falls, New York.